Monday, 20 April 2009


It is almost impossible to remember what life for my husband and I was like BC, before children. I know we drank, sometimes too much, but we definitely ate better. There were no oven chips in this house, our staple now as we scrape ourselves off the sofa in search of tea at 9 pm. I'm not sure what we did eat on those 'very tired' nights, but I imagine we probably replaced food calories with gin. Or wine. It's galling to realise we were both much thinner then, even discounting my current state.

We both worked long hours, and I believe I might even have enjoyed my job for a while. We went for European weekends away and, yes, drank more. I fondly remember the night of 1000 mojitos in Barcelona, after which I had trouble standing up for the walk home.

It was with some tredpidation then that I planned a day out in London WC (without children, well, except for the mini bump who came with) this weekend. Would we still have things to talk about? Would we be one of those couples, sitting opposite each other at the dinner table, staring into their plates and wishing away the minutes until dessert, the bill and finally getting back to their home comforts? Used to the demands of a toddler with the attention span of a gnat, bouncing from one colourful activity to the next, would we be satisfied with the days plans of 'wandering about' followed by the theatre, dinner and home?

I realise this probably makes me sound rather pathetic. I'm not sure how many other couples out there have not had a day out together (WC) in almost 20 months. Our parental peers always seem to be going off somewhere, concerts, festivals, even (shhhhhh) nights away, the joys of local childcare. But for me, this was a Really Big Deal.

We left T with Grandma and Grandpa and drove to the outskirts of Zone 2 to get the tube into London. A beautifully sunny day, we meandered at a snails pace through Borough Market (sausage sandwich, good, stinky cheese stall which stirred the vestiges of my morning sickness, bad) and along the South Bank. We might not have talked much, but like giddy teenagers we held hands.

We went to the Tate Modern, and shuffled around, smiling in sympathy at the mother who was holding her toddler tightly around the middle, his legs windmilling frantically as he tried to dive over the foot high wire to get into the shimmering, glittering world of Thirty Pieces of Silver. At least I hope she knew it was sympathy, and not judgement.

We went to the theatre and had ice cream at the interval, we didn't have to share.

We went for dinner, and in an attempt to recreate that Barcelona feeling, I had a small mojito. Well, Mexican style, which apparently means it comes with a shot of tequila instead of rum. Either way, although I remained resolutely sober of course, I slurped the cool minty sweetness with delight, causing the toddler on the next table to cackle. By this stage we'd descended back into our 'Mummy' and 'Daddy' identities, admiring the provision of high chairs, the lack of chicken nuggets on the menu and selecting a mythical choice for T, should we ever go back with the children.

T was in bed when we arrived home. Tired out by Grandma and Grandpa, and his new favourite hobby, 'painting' the patio and the outside of the house with a paintbrush dipped into a old tin full of water. I'd enjoyed our day so much that I barely baulked at the fact he'd been fed cheese and onion crisps and a chocolate lolly, and hadn't really wanted his tea afterwards.

With an obsessively working husband, weekends are precious. Much as I enjoyed our taste of life BC, I wouldn't swap Saturdays at the park, or Sundays at the farm with T for a full day of grown-up time. I do admit to getting a little excited when we saw a poster on the tube for another play we'd like to see though. Perhaps our next day out will be less than 20 months away.


b said...

I am glad you had a lovely time, we have always been really lucky and have had family help so we always had time to do things together, but nothing beats spending time with the kids, even as they grow up and become mouthy!

Beth said...

You just remeinded me that I was wanting to plan that overnight trip with my husband once he finishes this semester at the University. Now, if I could just get up the nerve to leave my child for a whole night with someone else....