Rachel and I seldom have a date night where we are able to leave the house. This is because we have a child and the world is a much darker place than it once was. Our nearest friends are nearly a half hour drive from our home which means that, if we were to ask them to babysit her, we would find ourselves spending the majority of our dates in their town rather than downtown Salt Lake City. Rachel’s family lives just under an hour away under the best traffic conditions. That means we’re left choosing babysitters from our neighbors.
Now I don’t want to assume the worst in people but I believe the safety of my daughter, Oriana, comes as priority #1 in my life and I trust absolutely no one I’ve met within a 10-mile radius of my home. I’m sure they’re all wonderful people, but when it comes to entrusting them with my daughter’s life, I don’t think so…
My primary reason for this belief is I have seen how most parents “parent” their children. Their children are rotten little creatures that wander aimlessly around the world, searching for the next soul they can destroy. Basically, they’re vikings without the murder (sometimes without the murder, that is). My daughter, on the other hand, and I’m bragging a bit here is very mature and well-behaved for her age, hell, for any age before puberty. She knows when to be quiet, can sit still for a relatively long period of time, listens to almost every parental command given, and even the tantrum she throws in public is reduced to passive-aggressive pouting (she makes an adorable mad face and walks with her arms crossed, refusing to talk to me which I greatly prefer to the kicking screamfest “But I want it” being repeated again and again.
Now I’m not going to be one of those jerks that brags about my epic life-changing parenting technique. Honestly, I don’t believe in that crap. I believe my daughter’s good behavior is based on several factors:
1 - Luck of the genetic draw. My daughter has never really had a difficult time learning anything whether that be her ABCs, counting, how to get dressed or the important life lessons like how to act and how to treat other people. She’s just, let’s call it, socially smart. She knows what life is about and she lives it the way it’s meant to be lived.
2 - I treat her like an adult. Since she was 2, I have stopped with the annoying baby talk. A lot of people treat their children like puppies, cooing and pawning over them as if they weren’t actually human beings in an earlier stage than we are. I have spoken to her as I would an adult since she was able to speak. This has helped her pronounce words correctly and it has also helped her to understand the world around her. For example, when she is given a punishment for doing something wrong, rather than shouting and spanking (though I have shouted and spanked, I’m not perfect) I sit her down by me and ask her what she’s done wrong and she gives me the right answer 90% of the time without me having to tell her.
3 - I only have the one. I believe in spending as much time as humanly possible with my child. I believe that at this critical stage in her life, splitting that attention between her and a baby, where the baby will always win because of its immediate and urgent needs, is unfair to her. I am not procreating simply to procreate. If I don’t have the time needed to raise a child, then I shouldn’t be raising a child. I believe it’s important for my daughter to learn about the world and I only have two jobs as a parent - one, to keep her alive and more or less healthy; two, to teach her how to be a better human being. That’s it. Adding another child would limit my ability to do both of those things. I plan to one day add another child into my family but will only do so upon my emotional and mental preparedness to devote my time to them completely as I have done with my first daughter.
It all comes back to babysitting and how Rachel and I seldom have time to ourselves, right? Wow, what a tangent. The truth is, dedicating your time to a child is important but having time to spend with your spouse and a bit of time away from your child to recharge your patience batteries works wonders on the soul. Why do I bring this up? Because yesterday, my wife and I went on a date.
It was simple yet elegant. Our daughter got to spend two nights at Rachel’s parent’s house where she no doubt got spoiled rotten playing with her cousins and being doted on by “Nana” and “Papa”. In fact, we had some fun time (yes, I sneaked down while Rachel was working) at the Natural Museum of Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. That’s right, a full two days away from my daughter and I couldn’t hack it. I just “had” to spend a couple hours with her and her cousins.
Afterward, though, Oriana and I went our separate ways - she to Nana and Papa’s again, me back home to pick Rachel up from work and begin a long-awaited date night. It’s been so long that we stuck with the basics - dinner and a movie. But, honestly, with how busy we both are lately it’s better not to rack our brains for new things to do right now but rather to focus on the simple act of spending time together.
We parked downtown and walked to the mall, talking about this and that. We watched The Giver which I’ll be posting a movie review for when it comes out on blu-ray. I think it’s unfair to review a movie after only seeing it once and I’m too poor to spend $9 to see the same movie twice in theaters. I will say that I enjoyed it.
After the movie, we went to dinner. Now, the majority of our eating-out dinners are either picked up through the drive-thru of Carl’s Jr or Wendy’s…or…spent in the annoyingly loud and echoing halls of the McDonald’s play places. Tonight, however, we got to go inside a restaurant (Applebee’s) without our child and sit down to a meal where we had at least 4-5 different conversations uninterrupted. I was in heaven.
(Editor’s Note: Also responsible for taking me to heaven was Applebee’s Triple Bacon Burger. The TBB is a hamburger patty with bacon cooked into it placed on a bun. Then add bacon on top of it, a slice of cheddar cheese and pour a specially made bacon ranch sauce on top of it all. I felt like I was eating a heart attack and I loved every second of it!)
We went home, more than satisfied with the date, and returned to our regular lives (except sans child for the night). We curled up on the couch and watched TV - Once Upon a Time if you must know.
That’s all for now.