From early on, Lady P obliged by being pretty good at sleeping from bedtime at around 6pm, till 11pm or midnight or so. (We won't talk about her behaviour between midnight and 6am. It's just too painful to comtemplate). So we managed to retain our habit of cooking fairly elaborate dinners and enjoying them at a nice, expansive, relaxed pace - at least a few nights each week.
And Lady P's good behaviour meant we felt confident to ask, say, my sister, to babysit so we could eat out. But booking family is kind of cheating. It's also not a long term solution, for what happens when family aren't around? Plus I wanted to be able to leave her in the daytime, just once a week, so I could have a couple of baby-free hours.
It sounds odd, but essentially we were determined to palm Lady P off to a stranger as soon as we could stand it.
|Please look after me! I'm no trouble, honest.|
We had a very soft landing in the form of my sister's childminder. She's looked after my nephews since they were small, and lives just two streets away. Lady P and I bump into her all the time when we run our errands in Saltburn - or if I go to pick my nephews up once in a while. So she and Lady P were already on speaking terms. And she's a lovely woman, who loves babies and I think has taken a shine to our Lady P. Easy. Leaving Lady P with her for two hours hurt for about the first five minutes - but I haven't looked back since. Lady P has a fun two hours and I use my babyfree time to have a good workout, and a long shower during which I don't need to keep turning off the water to listen for her crying. Marvelous.
The babysitter was a tougher role to fill. But a friend of my sister's has a sitter she's used since her boys were small babies. She's young, but sensible. We booked her to look after Lady P on a Monday night while TLOML goes swimming and I go for a run and a yoga session. Thinking it would make sense for her to get to know Lady P just in case she needs to tend to her at night, I also booked her for an hour on a Friday - I go out for about 40 minutes for a run. Finally, we ask her to sit for us every couple of weeks so we can go out for dinner. The first time she did we were too scared to drive far, but now we're a bit bolder we actually go on some nice culinary adventures.
So yes, Lady P has bashed up the edges of our social life. And bored a hole right through the middle of it too. But still, a semblance of our former life remains. Strange though: fully 60% of the freedom we have bought is used for exercise. Either our priorities have changed, or we've really grown to prefer home cooking above anything else.