February 18, 2011

It's a date!

One of the hardest things about being a parent so far from our family and friends is the difficulty of finding babysitters. We have one incredible babysitter who lives in the far north of the city, but it's tricky to get to her house in winter driving conditions. Lately, the only nights out we've managed are for Saturday night dinner parties planned well in advance.

What I'd really like is a teenage babysitter who lives down the street and can just pop over to our house for a few hours on a school night so that Kevin and I can go out to dinner or see a movie. Before we became parents, we used to go to the movies once or twice a week. This year, the only Oscar-nominated movie Kevin and I have seen is Toy Story 3, and we've seen it about 100 times now.

But finding such a babysitter has been next to impossible. Kids these days are so over-committed with school and sports obligations. And after our last experience with one, in which Colin apparently cried for three hours straight, I don't think we'll be able to get her back. In the meantime, though, I think I've found a stop-gap solution: the lunch date.

From 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday, we have excellent full-time childcare for Colin, and it doesn't require any special planning or extra money on our part to use some of that time for ourselves. So recently I made Kevin come downtown in the middle of the day and take me on a date to the local art museum. After all, we work only about 10 minutes away from each other by subway, and we had never visited the new Art Gallery of Alberta, which has been open for about a year and is only two blocks from my office.

The Matisse I missed.

I must confess something, though: this art major hardly paid attention to the art. I was much too giddy with the thrill of just being out--spontaneously--in the middle of the day with my husband to look carefully at the Matisse prints we had gone to see. It almost felt like we were having an affair, I guess because we were sneaking around behind someone's back--Colin's.

Nonetheless, it's certainly a thrill I plan to repeat, just as often as I can get my husband to take a little more time away from work. There are so many great restaurants downtown I've never tried--restaurants that don't allow children! And just next door to my office, there's a movie theatre, and right now, it's showing an "Oscar Marathon." I think it's a date!

Me (with a sculpture of a whale skeleton by Brian Jungen), feeling very much like a whale and not at all skeletal.

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