Friday, December 13

Dating With a Baby

First off, it's possible. Not always easy or as perfect as you might have hoped, but possible.

Getting a babysitter is always an option and a perfectly good one. But not everyone can afford one or has a community of babysitters at their fingertips (like you kind of do while living at Wymount). And, if you're like me, you might have a hard time leaving your child with someone who isn't family or at least close to you.

So that leads you to find other options.

Dalin and I were blessed with a super easy baby. None of the babies I ever watched as a youth were as easy as my own baby, though it's safe to assume they behaved better for their moms. But anyway, so far we've been really fortunate. Whenever I tell people that Tenley's easy, we always feel the need to mention that it probably means we have some hard teenage years in store for us, or that our next child (or one down the line) is going to be a bigger challenge. Hopefully not. But it seems like whenever we make plans to go out, Tenley has a "bad" day. Either she's more fussy or needy than normal, or maybe she just wants us to keep our attention focused solely on her. Whatever the case, it's frustrating, but somehow we still manage to make time for us!

It all comes down to strategic planning. With Dalin's work and class schedule, we usually know when we have spare time. Usually it means during the daytime during the week or Friday nights. We also know that the weekends are the busiest times at public places, particularly in a college town. So for us, the best thing is to plan activities on our free weekdays.

We go out to eat for dinner on days that Dalin works in the morning, and see movies in the daytime when Dalin has the day off, or his schedule permits it.

I was almost reluctant to share this secret because I'm scared that suddenly everyone will head to the movies now, but we have found that matinee showings of a movie, right around 1pm, usually are dead. Maybe it depends on the theater or time of year, but this has worked for us.

A few weeks after Thor came out, we decided to go see it at the Riverwoods Theater on a Tuesday around 1pm. We planned out everything, feeding Tenley just beforehand and bringing her carseat in with us in case she stayed asleep. We did not want to bother other viewers and had agreed that I would take Tenley out right away if she began to fuss. We were only about five minutes early and when we entered the theater we were completely alone. Just the three of us. We sat in the front section on the walkway in case Tenley needed to be taken out. We started to get excited, thinking we were going to be all alone in the theater. We would have been, if two couples hadn't come in halfway during the previews. But they sat away from us and it worked out perfectly. Because it was dark and no one was around, I was able to nurse Tenley right when she started to fuss without more than a jacket for cover. When she wasn't nursing, she was watching the movie or bouncing on my lap. Toward the end of the film, I went out to change her but, because the theater was basically dead, I just crouched outside the doors where I had light and changed her on a little mat on the floor so I could hurry back to the movie. (I feel like I'm always changing her in weird places, but it always works out and I've never gotten caught ;)

We were so amazed at how well she behaved and were happy when we recognized that we could still have some freedom and fun as a couple and include our baby girl!

Maybe we just got lucky, but if so, we were even more fortunate the second time we tried this. Catching Fire came out in the U.S. on November 22nd and we were both anxious to see it. Knowing that it was sure to be popular, we waited a few weeks before giving it a try. This past Wednesday, December 11th, (less than 20 days after it came out) we decided to give it a shot at the 1:30pm showing at the Riverwoods theater. This time again, it was amazingly dead. And this time, we were even more fortunate to be the only ones in the theater for the whole movie! No one else came in, so we decided to sit where we wanted and did not have to worry if she began to fuss (which she did a few times). Plus, I could nurse her without worry and, if I really had wanted to, I could have walked her up and down the hall.

So it is possible! And you have a nice dark theater in which you can discreetly feed your baby! I imagine having a bottle-fed baby would be even easier if you made one up right before going in for the movie.

Anyhow, I just wanted to show you that you CAN still have a life with a baby. Sometimes it's harder and you have to make sacrifices or do a little extra planning, but you can do it! And if all else fails, find a babysitter!

Do you go out with your spouse AND children?
What have you found works?
Would you ever try going to the movies with your baby like we have? If no, why not?

P.S. I'll add photos later. Gotta go grocery shopping!

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