There are a lot of times that I hear the things that my friends do, and wonder if they realize how much they take for granted how easy it is to find childcare solutions for their NT kids when spontaneous opportunities for experiences come up.
It’s not to say, of course, that my wife and I are starved for opportunities to do things without the kids. We do (finally) have a fantastic, regular babysitter who the kids adore. My in-laws are also very gracious in watching the Monster and R on a regular basis when they can, when something out of the ordinary comes up…
On the other hand, though, I also hear how frequently some of them can simply arrange a sleep-over for the kids when something else comes up last minute.
Now, the last minute thing isn’t frequent with us. Not just because we’re not usually that lucky, but because we also know that coming up with coverage situations for our children can be a little fraught with peril. Few of our friends, for instance, are necessarily game to have the Monster spend the night, and we ourselves fret even more than that about the possibility of his causing some kind of major disaster, if he’s spending an overnight in an unfamiliar place.
Because I will be honest – it’s bad enough when we’re in a hotel with him, ourselves, as you’ve all read in past entries of mine. A trip with the Monster, in a hotel, is usually a recipe for one of us not getting a full night of sleep. Now… however, you do slice this, it really is due to his sleep pattern. I recognize that at home, he gets up and goes back to sleep without really disturbing anyone when he’s in his own room, if only because sometimes I’m up late myself, and I hear him going through the wake-sleep cycle. I don’t generally feel comfortable subjecting anyone else to that, for fear of burning what few socialization bridges we ourselves have.
So I do understand when friends are hesitant or outright say no, when we ask if they could please please watch our kids for a night, when our babysitter isn’t available. (I am, despite all appearances and public protestations in real life, a reasonable person.)
But it also means that we have to find creative solutions to when novel situations come up.
Our couples’ vacations (rare as they are), for instance, get arranged around when we can get coverage. We’re going away early this summer on a trip that the wife won, once we’re sure that the babysitter is available.
On the other hand… we won tickets to the AFC Wild Card playoff game on Saturday night. It’d already be a stretch if it were a local game, but it’s in Pittsburgh. My in-laws are out of town, and our regular sitter is home visiting her family.
Now, this time, we lucked out – apparently her sister is willing to come up here to watch the kids, with her husband and son joining after the Maryland basketball game, so the kids’ll have a fun playdate with their aunt and uncle and cousin while we’re in Pittsburgh. (And we seriously owe them for this, like no one’s business.)
Perhaps some of the lesson here is that we need to rethink when we avail ourselves of these last minute opportunities (because honestly, this is more our fault than anyone else’s), as to how we’re going to manage all of the parts of the situation. It’s also, honestly, something parents not in our boat should appreciate, the additional flexibility they have. 🙂