Five Signs You Need a Night Out

Esther and I before becoming parents. Notice the smiles on our faces.
Esther and I before becoming parents. Notice the smiles on our faces.

We all love our kids but being locked up with your little booger monster takes a toll over the long haul  A blizzard, ear infection, and daily bombardment of the Donald-Marco-Ted three-way is enough to make the strongest among us scream for a night out.

If you aren’t sure if you a night away from the baby I created this guide.  Helpful hint nicknaming your pride and joy Godzilla thins out the baby sitting pool quickly.

Playdates Dominate Your Social Calendar– Playdates and Children’s Fitness Centers like Gymboree and MyGym are great for socializing your child.  They also let new parents compare notes on sleep patterns, developmental milestones, and the strangest place you’ve found poop and puke. As helpful as they are an evening spent with a different circle of friends will make a huge difference. Suggestion – Double date with another couple.  Bonus points if their child is old enough to babysit.

Hamming it up at his MyGym Class
Hamming it up at his MyGym Class

You’re Watching Too Many Kiddie Shows –When PBS Kids and Nick Jr are your go-to channels it’s only a matter of time until you get caught up in Elmo’s latest adventures.  Waking up humming the Pepa Pig theme is a sign you need a night out.  Suggestion – Beer and Wings with the guys at a Sports Bar.

The Last Movie We Saw Was Um…– Having young kids in the house means they determine what’s on TV.  It makes you long for the nights when you and the wife battled it out for the remote.  If the last movie you saw was the first Hunger Games you’re overdue for a movie night.  Suggestion –Dinner and a Movie.

Playdate in the park
Playdate in the park

Funerals Become Date Nights – It’s gotten pretty bad when attending a wake or sitting shiva is the highlight of your social calendar. Although wearing something other than the stained sweatshirt and pajama pants will score points with your better half, sharing a meal of brisket and rugelach with your fellow mourners is not a date night. Exceptions may be granted for an Irish Wake.  Suggestion – Make Reservations for two at a steak house because nothing says love like porterhouse.

Some Private Time Please Keeping up with a toddler requires the patience of a monk and the energy of an extreme athlete—sometimes that’s not enough. Working all day and trying to outlast a wired baby late into the night is exhausting—usually resulting in one parent falling asleep before the baby.  You know it’s gotten pretty bad when you start comparing who’s better looking Wilma Flintstone or Betty Rubble.  Suggestion – Call in a huge favor and have someone to watch the baby while you book a romantic weekend, a three-day weekend if possible in case one of you passes out the first night.

Disclaimer- No Cartoon Characters were hurt during that last joke.

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One and Done

Esther and I pose for a picture during the Tour de Cure, a fund-raising event benefitting the American Diabetes Association
Esther and I pose for a picture during the Tour de Cure, a fund-raising event benefitting the American Diabetes Association.

A few weeks ago Esther, Cristian, and I participated in a charity walk—we do a lot of them.   For years Esther and I have been running, riding and walking for many causes.   Finishing the walk we ran into a cousin we haven’t seen in quite some time.

We caught up on how she’s been and what’s new with various aunts and cousins as she played with the baby.  We answered the usual baby-related questions.  How’s he sleeping?  Is he walking?  Then came the curveball, are you planning another child?

When Cristian was born I knew he was one and done—although the hospital staff had other ideas.  Waiting for Esther and the baby to be released they planned our next child as I was online researching vasectomies.

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In my mind’s eye, I always pictured two kids.  I’m the younger of two, most of my friends have two—except for my Aunt, Titi Carmen, who has seven—she kept trying for the girl.  If I suggest seven children to my better half she’d handle the vasectomy herself.

Old schoolers insist one child is easy, providing no challenge—real parenting starts with (at least) two.  I come from a big family, Mom is the oldest of eight—of course in those days children doubled as indentured servants.  I can only imagine what Titi Carmen would say if I asked her opinion.

Esther and I are both experienced multi-taskers.   Professionally we’ve mentored and trained employees, and managed the expectations of the most difficult clients.  Outside of work we’ve run over 250 races including 24 marathons and two ultras.  We’ve never lacked energy, but toddlers are the great equalizer.

mini me

Over the past months, our fragile newborn developed into a full-blown toddler— funny how that happens.  Crawling and walking were replaced by climbing and exploring.  Temper tantrums are now part of his personality and bedtime is a nightly challenge of who can outlast who.  So far we have the upper hand.

Becoming a Dad at 50 meant Cristian is probably one and done—this concerned me and still does a little.  Raising an only child is different than raising several children.  With no siblings to play with we enrolled him in classes at My Gym, twice a week he goes to story time at the local library, and we are always inviting cousins over for playdates.

Parenting at any age and family size is a challenge, most things worth having are.  Taking care of my son as I work from home affords me a luxury many parents don’t have—I experience many of his firsts with him, instead of hearing about them—although some days it doesn’t seem that way.

Raising a child is a lot like running a marathon, energy is required, but pacing is important as well.  I’m still at the beginning knowing there are hills to climb and challenges to meet, but the end result is worth it.

pigeons

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