Date Night


Zoleka lives with us. She has a lovely little room, just off the garage, which has built in cupboards, a shower and a toilet. She has room for her kettle, her radio and all her other belongings and she is content. I think. When we get home from work, after a brief chat and catch up, Zoleka retires to her room and we don’t see her until the morning. On occasion she watches the kids, if we have an evening engagement or if we need to work late, but I’ve always felt bad to leave her with both of them at night time because they require quite a bit of individual attention (they don’t require it, but I like to give it to them) and we’ve always followed a set bedtime routine, and my MG (mother’s guilt) won’t allow me to loosen the reins on our habitual practice. Fast forward to last night.
 
The hubby sent me a message at about 2pm yesterday afternoon, inviting me on a date for that evening (yes, text messaging is still our top form of communication, even when we’re under the same roof but in different rooms – crazy hey?). I got on the line with the first number in my speed dial directory – Zoleka. I told her that we would still bath and feed them and all she needed to do was put them down and hang around in the house, until we got home. I think I sounded slightly hysterical and kept apologising and all she kept saying was “fine mam, fine mam.” On the way home, I kept explaining to Liam that Mommy and Daddy were going “out” and that Zoleka would be looking after them, and that he needed to be a good boy especially when Zoleka was putting Hannah down to sleep, and I told him that he could watch TV in Mommy’s bed until Zoleka was done with Hannah and that if Zoleka reported that he was REALLY good, I’d get him a treat. My husband was rolling his eyes and sighing deeply as I went through this whole theatrical performance with Liam. He thinks I get hysterical every time I need to leave the kids anywhere and I think Liam agrees with him because he was utterly bored as I explained what the night would hold. When I was done, he started his 20 questions: where were we going, what were we going to do there, what time would we be back, what was Zoleka going to give him for supper, what TV programme could he watch, could he get under the covers on our bed, who was going to brush his teeth and on it went. When he was satisfied he said “ok” and smiled at me and went back to sucking his thumb. We got home, bathed and fed them, and left them propped on the couch as I once again began to explain that we were leaving. My husband was flapping his arms and telling me to just get into the car. I was expecting tears, but nothing. I was at least expecting them to follow me to the door, nothing. They waved me off like an irritating fly, as they sat glued to Mickey Mouse yelling “oh Tooooodles.” 
 
It’s not the first time we’ve left the kids, but usually I will at least put Hannah down before we leave, so that Zoleka can focus solely on one child and keep as much to the routine as possible – for the sake of the child, not her. After three years, you’d think my panic would have eased off, but I find that the older Liam gets, the more I need to explain things to him, and I guess it’s more HIS questions – which he really asks more out of curiosity, than out of his concern for his and Hannah’s safety, that get me into a tizz. When he asks things like “who will kiss me good night” or “who will close my window” or “will you be back when it’s dark-dark-dark outside” I just want to cancel all my plans and tell him that Mama is here and she will do alllll those things for him. Bless!
 
Anyway, we went off and had a grand time! It’s amazing how out of touch you become, we caught up on each other’s lives, we synced our calendars for the upcoming month (I know, I know, its crazy!) and we just enjoyed each other’s company without having to smack little fingers for soaking the linen serviette in their glass of juice, or chasing a kid around the restaurant or removing all the cutlery from the table lest Hannah stabs Liam or herself. Really, it was great.
 
So back to my opening paragraph. When we got home, everyone was sound asleep. Zoleka gave me a lengthy speech about how the boss and I (yes, that’s what she calls the husband) need to go out more often in the week, and that she doesn’t mind putting the kids down because it’s so easy, and they are so good and she doesn’t do anything really in a her room at night, so she doesn’t mind sitting in the house. PLUS she doesn’t have a TV in her room (I felt a strong hint at this point) and at least she gets to watch the news and her programmes once the kids are in bed. After that speech, I thanked her and we parted ways; she to her room, and me to check on my babies who were sleeping peacefully.
 
This morning I asked Liam if he had had a good time with Zoleka and Hannah last night. He was nonplussed, and I took this to mean that it went ok. Believe me, Liam would have sung like a bird if he had had any issues. On the way to work, I announced to my husband that I think the kids are growing and possibly do not need me as much as they used to. I acknowledged that the routine, although a great way to interact and spend time with the kids, was no longer Law, and we could deviate from it now and again, without much upset from the kids. And having received Zoleka’s consent to go out and let our hair down more often, I declared that date night should become a more regular occurrence, in fact, date night should become part of the routine. After he had recovered from the shock of my statement and steered the car to safety, he looked at me with a look that could have said “wow, you are growing up” but I can’t be sure if that’s what he meant.
 
So that’s another apron string that I slowly unwind. With every milestone reached, I do get that bittersweet tug that reminds me that my babies are growing and that soon they won’t fit into my lap. But I must admit that with each milestone comes some relief that MY life is starting to be more normal, and less crazy. Look at me, getting my groove back! … And it feels so good!

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9 thoughts on “Date Night”

  1. What a lovely post. A reminder to us all to just let our hair down sometimes because it will be OK! The kids will be OK!

    I have to say that I also firmly believe in telling my sons what is going to happen – especially if it can be negative. I always tell them where we are going and what we are going to do there. They may not always understand (at 6months and 2yrs) but I believe it goes a long way to making them feel comfortable.

    I told my son about how they were going to put a needle in his arm and how they were going to put the bottles on and fill it with his blood – he didn’t flinch!

    Kudos to you for telling your son – let your husband flap his arms – for your son, he may seem bored – but it’s important!

    1. Yes! Especially when its something they are being exposed to for the first time, it’s important to prep them, little ones take much longer to get used to new things so giving them ample warning and assuring them that it’s ok, definitely helps them cope with new things!

  2. Hahaha! Have a strong urge to say “I told you so”… I told you so!!! Glad you’re getting your groove back on mama!!! Lots of love xxxx

  3. Way to go on cutting that apron string…. I think that’s the thing I’m most afraid of with baby no. 2 is that we have taken great strides in getting our lives “back” now that A is past 2 and we’re going to take 10 steps back when baby no. 2 comes along but I don’t doubt it will be SO worth it!

  4. WOW! So that’s the kind of stuff I can look forward to… funny to think that we have to schedule some QT with our partners, lol.

    Well done Sunshine

  5. I wish we had space for Josephine to live in! I would so love to be able to go on date night once in a while without having to plan months in advance!

    1. I do know what that feels like Laura! It’s so handy to have Zoleka live in, even if we’re working late or traffic is bad – we don’t have to stress about getting home in time to let her go. She is my rock and really does run our household!

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