Actually, we hadn't done too badly in some ways. Since she was born we've managed to cook and eat a decent meal every night, and sat together to enjoy it (albeit with the odd interruption) - which is important to us both. Still, dinners out, and leisurely pub lunches, have been in short supply. I've been nervous to go out and meet friends for coffee in case Lady P wakes and demands food and the world sees my rookie-mum ineptitude.
But you can't stay home forever. So we ventured out.
On Friday morning I met a girlfriend for coffee nearby, at a Starbucks that's always full of buggies. Lady P slept throughout. Phew.
On Friday night we bamboozled Lady P into coming out for dinner. We just did our usual bathtime and bedtime routine but tucked her up in the buggy instead. She was none the wiser, and slept throughout dinner. We considered this a major triumph: it was a proper date night, just the two of us, and we actually talked about something other than Lady P for more than 5 minutes at a time.
|Chilling in Curry Paradise|
|Enjoying a beer in the Freemasons|
By Saturday we had become really bullish. We took Lady P for lunch with TLOML's best man at the Freemasons in Hampstead. She awoke. She liked what she saw - the light from the window, presumably. She socialised, pooed in her nappy and fed in a completely uninhibited way. Good for her. Afterwards I walked down to Kentish Town for a coffee at Doppio with my friend the gambler. Lady P was, by now, getting into the North London social scene - again, she gurgled, glugged, and gurned without a care in the world. And on Sunday we met a few friends for a drink in the afternoon, with Lady P in a sweet little dress, full of milk so she would sleep for the most part. Again, it was fairly successful, unless you count the last 5 minutes when she screamed bloody murder till we removed her from the scene. It might have spoiled the atmosphere for other drinkers, but it didn't bother us any.
So we've broken our duck, and are no longer housebound. We are lucky in that where we live, like so many parts of London, is very baby-friendly. Fox Corner is right in the middle of a swathe of nappy valley that cuts across North West London. It used to annoy me a bit, all those buggies cluttering up the nice places to eat and drink. But I'm very grateful now.
It struck me that if we were in New York it would be very different experience. You don't see so many buggies in the bars and restaurants of Manhattan. At brunch, somewhere lowkey and grown up (like Cookshop) you might see one or two under 5s. I suspect it's because they have cheaper childcare so the babies can be left at home. I imagine you'd feel a bit of an idiot breastfeeding in any of our old haunts in Chelsea. By contrast, in North London, you actually feel like a bit of a weirdo for not having a babe in arms. I counted four babies at the Freemasons, and several toddlers. We were not the only buggy in Doppio, either.
At some point Lady P will be less portable, and a lot less willing to sleep in her Bugaboo while dinner is served around her. So for now we will make the most of it, and make the most of our baby-friendly locals.