This past week was encompassed with anticipation—excitement of spending a child-free evening with my wife, and a pinch of anxiety stirred in due to the growing restlessness of our teething daughter. You see, my wife and I finally decided to schedule our daughter’s first overnight with my mother, her Mémère. And although our daughter had been sleeping through the evenings, two new front-teeth had cropped up now causing her unrest. This manifested itself as inconsolable evenings during bedtime, followed by several waking fits through the night.
The first step was keeping my parents in the loop on her behavioral patterns. The second was ensuring their home was baby-proofed and that they had the necessary essentials (ex: pack-and-play, baby-monitor, clothes, diapers, and food). Once we reviewed with them our baby’s feeding schedule and nightly routines, the hardest part came next: leaving our baby. Luckily we were mentally prepared and simply kissed our distracted daughter as we said a happy good-bye and left. The alternative, of course, would be breaking-down with sappy dramatics that would have caused our daughter to feel insecure.
The planned events for our date-night began with a finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. I’d be lying if I didn’t attribute some of our excitement for the evening towards us seeing the culmination of this franchise to its critically acclaimed ending. We managed to catch some of the prequels replaying on ABC Family during the week leading up to its theatrical release. And then we re-watched the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1 the evenings before our date. With our daughter in safe hands, we were ready to enjoy the movie with each other’s company.
My favorite part of the film (and trust me, this isn’t a spoiler): 10-minutes of obnoxious and hostile dialogue from two self-absorbed women in attendance. One was a juvenile who spouted colorful metaphors and then moved to another seat. However unjustified, it was after being on the receiving end of hostile remarks for putting her feet upon a seat occupied by the parent of the other woman. This other woman, being outwardly mature in appearance, then relentlessly pursued the juvenile physically and verbally; refusing to back down until she could convince the intimidated youth to resolve the conflict outside with a fight in the parking lot. Luckily security intervened and escorted one group out (the juvenile and friend; voluntarily). In my mind, it should have been the other woman and her parent. I mean, seriously, who creates such a scene in a movie theatre over a ridiculous altercation like that. I think we know who the real juvenile was that night. And although I missed 10-minutes of dialogue, I was still unfazed in my enthusiasm; especially considering that I knew then it was going to be a free movie, as I would accept no less from the theatre’s management.
With the movie behind us, and twenty bucks back in our pocket, we continued our date to the next event—sushi. The twenty went towards supplementing our dinner with drinks and desert. We made it home late, enjoyed our quality alone time without children, and then crashed without the worry of awaking to a crying baby. Instead, we woke to relaxing silence at 7 am, which is a marked improvement to the 5 or 6 am feeding times our daughter sometimes commands. And although it was refreshing, it was also a little empty—missing our beautiful daughter’s wide grin and emphatic morning babbles. We had a much-needed night alone, our batteries were recharged, and now we were ready to be back together as a family. Our daughter’s overnight was a success!
Now this success isn’t measured purely on the ability for my wife and I to enjoy our time alone without children. Or due to our realization that we miss our child and look forward to her coming home. True success is measured in how well our daughter fared at my parents. And it isn’t achieved without careful planning. We checked-in a couple times between events, and were comfortable with our preparation and that of my parents. We were relaxed because we knew she was safe, and we knew her success would be on how safe and comfortable she felt. We were eager the next morning to hear how it went. And to our relief, she was a perfect angel and went to bed with ease. There was no late-night restlessness. She slept through the night and woke happy with cheerful lallations.