My husband and I went out the other night. Together. For the first time in 18 months. Since our son was born, I've stayed home to care for him full time, and can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times (and hours) he's been left with other people to look after him. This was the first time we'd left him with anyone other than his grandparents, and for longer than an hour, so it was kind of a big deal for us all.
In the past year and a half, I'd only been able to see my friends less than a half-dozen times, and usually with baby-in-tow or at our flat, so Little A could run around comfortably while I entertained while looking after him. This time we left him in the care of our daily girl and her new companion, the au pair. Both have had experience looking after young children before, and Little A had a few days to get used to the au pair feeding and accompanying him on his walks so we figured it was then or never.
The evening out was a couple of hours spent at a pub in the company of old friends from university, with the exception of one who'd moved to Edinburgh and another, my sister, who was home looking after her two kids that were down with a tummy bug. It was wonderful to see them all and catch up on who was seeing whom and working where. It was equally nice to run into some other friends and realize that in my 18 months of absence from Manila's social scene, not much had changed.
The Home Front
On the way to the pub, I realized we should have left some emergency cash in case Little A suddenly needed to be rushed to hospital or something. This is something we'll definitely be doing in the future. I'd left my mobile with my husband's number on speed dial, so that they could ring us if necessary.
An hour after we left, my husband phoned home to check on them, and reported that all was well. Little A was watching his dvds, drinking his milk and otherwise happy.
When we got home at 11pm, our son was still awake, but losing the battle against waves of sleepiness that threatened to overwhelm him. Upon seeing me, he took my hand, led me to the bed, then raised his arms to be picked up and leaned over towards his pillow. He was asleep in minutes.
A Sign of Things to Come
According to the day girl and the au pair, Little A only cried briefly once during our absence, when he ran into the kitchen looking for us after discovering we weren't in any of the other rooms. But he was quickly distracted by the television. He also consumed a large quantity of milk, to my delight. Still, he woke up more often than usual that night, and each time made sure I was right there next to him.
It's a start, and the second time will come in another couple of days, when we join my husband's friends for dinner at a new restaurant close by. Now that our little boy is older, hopefully he will soon start falling asleep on his own, sleeping through the night, and with a little bit of luck, weaning fully from the breast before his second birthday. I'll keep my toes and fingers crossed.