It is our first date out since Kaya was born. Even longer before that unless you count our trip to the Keg when I was 8 months pregnant and focused soley on holding in an inordinate amount of gas. I was forced to order Iced Tea and fish (at the Keg!) while Bal ordered a pint of some scrumptious brewery beer and a thick medium rare steak.
So here we are, on a date. We are out. At a restaurant where the meals are over $9.99. There are no burgers on the menu. This is a classy joint.
I am only semi-uncomfortable in my pre-pregnancy ‘going out’ attire and assure Bal that nobody will even notice later on when I unbutton my pants. All class.
I look across the table at this man I have been with for the better part of twelve years. This man who I thought I knew entirely but have come to know and love even more now that I know him as a father. The father of my baby. Our baby.
There is a simple, elegant candle between us along with our half-eaten orders of crab cakes and warm pistachio crusted goat cheese. Except that it is no longer warm. And we are not alone amongst the candlelight.
Looking to my left, Kaya stares innocently up from her car seat. To my right sits her Gramma, my mother, looking exhausted and somewhat bewildered. I glance past the flickering of the candle, towards Bal gulping his wine and can do nothing but laugh.
Our date hadn’t started out this way. Originally we were alone. In a booth for two.
I had nursed Kaya, put her to bed and Gramma was thrilled to have driven 6 hours to babysit her for the first time. I was both tentative and thrilled to be going out for a couple of hours ‘sans baby’. “Okay Mom, hopefully she will just sleep but if not, well, you know what to do. But please, please, please phone me if she’s upset. Don’t feel like you shouldn’t phone me.”
I run and smooch my girl one last time, reiterate to my mom that she can call me for anything and am out the door. As we pull out of the garage, Bal laughs at this new persona of mine- that of an anxious mom.
Entering the restaurant, I immediately relax in the dark, romantic setting. Still, I pull out my phone set on vibrate and place it inconspicuously on the table. We order a half litre of wine, order our appies and have some delightful adult conversation. Until the phone buzzes along the tabletop.
“Hello?” I question upon seeing my mom’s cell number.
“You’d better get home.”
“Seriously?” I almost laugh.
“Can’t you hear her?”
And I can. She is screaming as loud as her little vocal cords will let her. She is relentless.
“I’m on my way!” I hang up, gather my coat and bag and tell Bal we have to go. Or at least I do.
Just as I’m standing up, the waitress arrives, appies in hand. “You’re not going anywhere!” she jokes.
Explaining our situation, we decide I will go, assess the situation, and hopefully make it back. Bal will watch over the wine and crab and cheese.
I race home, run in the door and am greeted by a plum coloured, puffy, tear streaked face. And that is just from my mother. Okay, not really, she doesn’t quite have tears. Kaya most certainly does.
While I scoop her up, my mom takes some deep breaths, sits down and tells me that the only thing that helped the screaming was for her to walk Kaya up and down the stairs-over and over and over again. She continued to bellow if walked down the hall or around her room. She would not take her soother. She would not sit. Only stairs. Only then a reprieve from screams. My mom is exhausted. She had not been prepared to be a StairMaster for her only grandchild.
But now I am home and Kaya relaxes. She is calm. She smiles. She looks at her Gramma as if to say “What? I just wanted my mommy. She’s home now so wanna play?!”
Instead we pack her up into the carseat and three generations head out on a date.
When I had abandoned Bal, two old ladies were seated across from us finishing their meal. Now they sit outside enjoying a smoke. They giggle seeing me march back in, carseat, baby and gramma in tow.
Feeling guilty about bringing a baby into everybody else’s date night, we ask if there is somewhere quieter we can sit where we will not bother others. We are thus banished to the lounge area. It lies off of the entryway, windows all around showcasing the dreary parking lot. A red, flashing ‘OPEN’ sign continuously blinks in the corner reminding me of a red-light district whorehouse. Two enormous flat panel TVs play the hockey game. The intimacy is gone. Which is okay considering our added guests.
I drink my now perfectly aerated wine and eat my share of cold goatcheese and crab cakes. Our dinner order is put through and we savour our steak. My mom orders crab cakes and wine of her own and she looks like she is relishing in the wine. Kaya stares wide eyed and content that she is part of the action and not stuck at home.
All in all, the night is not a total bust. In fact, the only thing busted is the burst button on my pants and not even Bal noticed my fly undone. Perhaps it was the flashing of my boob while nursing Kaya that distracted them.