Unfortunately, my work situation dictates that Scarlett does not have any local grandparents; one set’s in NYC and the other’s in Tampa. Scarlett’s current age necessitates being taken care of by someone who’s raised children, so Danielle and I don’t get to go out to the types of places you’re not supposed to take kids like uber-fancy restaurants. When we went to Tampa recently my mom wanted to give us the gift of some time away from the baby so she gave us tickets to go to Universal Studios. So we jumped in to the middle of the pond and learned how to speak rather than dipping our toes, so to speak. Scarlett was left with my parents,adopted brothers, and dog all day long. A day or two after that my parents took us to a nice restaurant to help us celebrate our anniversary and left the baby with a close family friend for a few hours. A week or two after that, we found ourselves in New York City on the same night that my sister/brother-in-laws were getting together with their best friends and cousins for their monthly dinner. My sister-in-law invited us so we left the Scarlett with my mother-in-law. Finally, as I write this, a couple weeks before it appears on the blog, we left Scarlett at our house with my visiting mother-in-law so we could have a nice dinner out.
It’s an interesting experience for a parent the first few times you do it. We inherently trust our parents – after all they raised us. At the same time, you’re wondering if it’s going OK. Is Scarlett eating? Is she going to go to bed without a fuss? Will she throw a tantrum? And, because she’s too young to understand what’s going on, is she missing us? And while it’s a healthy thing for her to learn – is it causing her distress if she is missing us? For large parts of our time at Universal I was too focused on the thrill of the rides to think about Scarlett. It was during the moments where Danielle and I got to eat in peace or hold hands and walk at our own pace that I remembered – oh yeah, we haven’t done this since the baby was born (or can’t do it when she’s around) In NYC when we went out to dinner – I had a blast. My siblings-in-law are so fun to be around as are their friends. I had an awesome conversation with Jamil about energy and power distribution and hurricanes that took me back to some of the exciting things I was doing in my senior year at Cornell. But there was I found myself thinking of Scarlett more. She’s always had a bit of a harder time at my in-laws – perhaps because there are more people going in and out? About half of Danielle’s NY relatives live on the same block so there are constantly “strangers” (as far as Scarlett is concerned) going in and out of the house. My mother-in-law told us that Scarlett kept looking for us and calling for us. It’s possible that also happened in Florida and no one knew. At that time she was only calling me by the Vietnamese name for father. Now she says it in both Vietnamese and English. And last night she also kept looking for us – I’m not sure at this point whether it’s compounded by the fact that it’s our house and she expects us there or if that makes things better whenever she can be distracted.
None of my usual readers have kids yet, but I’m curious if any other readers would like to share their first times leaving their kids so they could have a night out.