You eat lunch. The tablecloth is not pulled. Water is not stirred with fingers. Water is not saturated with bits of unwanted food. Water is not dumped on the table. Time-outs are not administered. Ketchup is not spilled in a fit of post-time-out rage. You are not asked to leave the restaurant. In fact, you have a normal meal. You have a normal conversation. No-one interrupts.
You go to a movie. No one squirms. No one drops popcorn under the seat and then goes rummaging on the filthy floor, looking for that one piece. No one puts said germ-covered piece in her mouth. No one later ends up with swine flu.
You browse the toy department, marveling how you cannot, simply cannot, believe they are still selling That Toy from your childhood (hint: they are still selling That Toy because they know that suckers like you will buy That Toy out of nostalgia, even though your kid would much prefer a DVD). Your child doesn’t ask you to buy anything. In fact, your child doesn’t even ask to hold a toy, rock it lovingly, and/or bid it a tearful goodbye in a covert attempt to guilt you into purchasing it. Not an ounce of pressure.
What is the secret to such admirable parenting?
It is…wait for it, wait for it…a babysitter.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Maiden when she’s asleep no matter what. But there is nothing like the decadent luxury of a Day Away, a day during which you and your spouse can do everyday things like garden, browse bookstores, heck, even wander through Target, without an entourage, soundtrack, or shirt-tugging trained monkey.
Today is one of those rare days. The Man is off work; the Maiden is in school. We don’t have fancy plans. We’ll bum around the nursery and plant farm; mosey through Target; eat lunch without interruption. We’ll enjoy a day just to be two adults, going about our daily errands, carefree and childfree.
Well, almost. At the plant farm, we’ll get flowers for the Maiden’s clubhouse. At Target, we’ll gravitate towards the toy aisle, and start talking Christmas presents. At lunch, we’ll try to avoid topics like the Maiden’s school, the Maiden’s messy playroom, and our plans for her to become a veterinary doctor whatever she feels called to be…but they’ll keep popping up. And by the time four o’clock rolls around, we’ll feel so out of our parenting element that we’ll go pick up the Maiden a little early.
You can take the child out of the parent, but you can’t take the parent out of the parent, so to speak. And that’s ok. A little time away will help us appreciate the Maiden just a bit more. That is, at least, until the next tantrum!