So here we are, a month and a half after our not-enormously-successful attempts to have a babysitter. And it would still be nice to go out, once in a while, and not traumatise LittleBear too badly. Fortunately, my dear friend Piglet has volunteered to step into the breach, being one of LittleBear's Trusted and Loved People*. Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, (nine years. Nine years?! How did that happen?) and we decided to take Piglet up on her offer.
We prepared LittleBear for this event, without making a Big Issue of it, just mentioning it and reminding him that this was Completely Normal. And he was fine, and unperturbed by the idea. At first.
Then came bath-time, which was fine.
And then we tucked him up in bed, and aside from a little clinging, it was fine.
And then, five minutes later, a gentle whimpering sound started emanating from the monitor. And yes, LittleBear was getting increasingly upset about the idea of us going out, and being left "alone". I jollied him along a little, and he stopped the greebling, albeit reluctantly.
Piglet arrived, and popped upstairs to let him know she was now in the house, and give him a kiss and a cuddle. And all was well.
So, finally, we went to give LittleBear a last kiss and cuddle before going out...
... and there was a pathetic little scrap, huddled up in his bed, tears streaming down his cheeks, begging me not to go.
I suppressed my rolling eyes, suppressed the wave of frustration, and also suppressed the gut-wrenching need to sweep him up in my arms and promise never to leave him. Because beneath those tears, I was fairly certain that actually he'd be fine. So, I reverted to my "jollying" tactics and talked about all the things he could think about and plan while falling asleep, and reminded him we were only a few hundred metres away really, and reminded him that Christmas had not been that long ago, when he'd had Piglet look after him for much longer, and it had all been fine.
We dried his tears, kissed him and left, hearts in mouths. Hearts in somewhat pursed and grumpy mouths.
Happy Anniversary BigBear.
We simply went to one of the local hostelries, and had a meal and a drink. There was a certain amount of tension and stress about proceedings as we both stoically tried not to think about our baby crying himself to sleep. But within half an hour there was a telltale burble from my phone to report that LittleBear had not let out so much as a whimper after we left, and was fast asleep.
We were almost having a nice evening until a random middle-aged man with his laptop came and asked if he could sit at one of the spare seats at our table, which rather put a damper on our ability to converse in peace and privacy, so after an enormous hour and half out, we trundled home again.
But at least we went out.
* This select band appears to currently consist of LittleBear's blood relations, and Piglet. When probed about why he didn't want anyone else to babysit, he started with "I can't explain..." before giving it some thought and informing me, "I don't feel safe when you're not here to cuddle me if there's something wrong. Piglet is good at cuddles." He has conceded that there is one other parent-of-a-friend that he would consider allowing to look after him. I guess that gives us something to work with.