Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's 9pm- Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Both of the kids napped yesterday at the same time for two and a half hours or so. Instead of cleaning the bathroom or picking up after the tornado that swept through our living room prior to the nap I decided that life is too short and kids grow up too quickly and I snuggled on the couch with my son and read a book. It was wonderful.

Fast-forward to seven in the evening. A parent wanting their child to be in bed before the wee hours of the morning knows that a napping child at 7pm is a bad omen. I knew that I shouldn’t have let him sleep this late because bedtime would be a fight, but a trip to the grocery store was in order and I hoped that running up and down the aisles would tire him out and that he would be in bed before midnight. My husband and I thought that since all four of us would be making the trip to Wegman’s it might be nice to stop across the street at Applebee’s on the way home (they serve half priced appetizers after 9pm) for a treat since it is so rare for us to be out and about together at this time of the night.

The reason that it is usual for us to be out after 9pm is because, traditionally speaking, that is the bedtime hour. That is the time when most responsible parents have their kiddos in bed on their way to sleepy-time land. Not only was it approaching half past nine when we finally made our way into the restaurant, but it was also drizzling outside. It’s the middle of the winter, just barely warm enough to rain instead of snow and there we were ushering our bundled up children into a restaurant full of people who either have no small children, or if they do have them the children are at home being put to bed by a baby-sitter.

It can be awkward being the only people in a place with children even though the kids behaved exceptionally well for being of the verge of tired. I couldn’t help but wonder why I felt so anxious about what everyone else was thinking about these two young people bringing their babies out so late on a cold rainy night; of course these strangers couldn’t possibly know that the kids had woken from their naps only a couple of short hours previous, or what our intentions were in taking them out to do the grocery shopping.

Oh well. I suppose everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. However uniformed it may be. It is always a good policy to keep these moments in mind for the time when the shoe is on the other foot and you find yourself wondering why in the world that person is walking through a windy parking lot with their baby’s head uncovered. Perhaps they are retracing their steps in the hope of finding the spot where the baby stealthily removed its hat and threw it on the ground.

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