Three little letters typed innocently on the Saturday, March 23rd block of the daycare center’s monthly calendar. A calendar I normally don’t pay much attention to. Will is only a baby, after all. I figure most of the stuff on the calendar pertains to the bigger kids and toddlers.
P.S.O. Hmmm. P…S…O…Peanut….Peanut Sauce…Potent Source…Pa-…Parent…PARENT! PARENT SATURDAY OUT!
I make quick work of deciphering the acronym, and immediately become giddy at the prospect of such a concept. We have no family in Fort Wayne, and I’m not comfortable asking friends to watch our child on a weekend night when friends have their own plans, so P.S.O mother-%&$*#@s, I’m goin’ on a DATE! Yippee!!!
The next day when I drop Will off, I casually ask what this P.S.O. business is all about.
“You can sign up on the Monday of that week. It’s $35 and you can bring him here from four to ten and we’ll keep him so you guys can go out and, you know, do a movie or dinner or whatever.”
I play it cool, as usual, while I try to keep my quivering legs from hurdling the desk to tackle Ms. Joy and Ms. Brandi to the ground with hugs and kisses. $35??? Are you kidding me? For six. freaking. hours???? Not just a quick coffee date. Not just a dinner date while Grandma and Grandpa watch Will – we are talking a full-on movie, dinner (probably even dessert) and maybe even a bonus activity! Is it just me, or is that like, oh-ma-gawd, the deal of the century??? Bonus: Will is already accustomed to his daycare gals, so no trying to give Cliff’s notes in five minutes about his mood, what he likes and doesn’t like, etc. They already know him and most of his little eccentricities.
I realize I’ve used an overabundance of exclamations and question marks in the previous paragraphs, but no amount of punctuation can convey my excitement. By the time the sign-up sheet is out, both our hands are full of pens, fully-clicked and ready to sign anywhere to be a part of the P.S.O. action.
It’s the big day. I have to work, but only until 2:00 pm. Plenty of time to actually do my hair and makeup for some purpose again. As we’re both getting ready, I sense a slight nervousness in the air. It’s been ooooohhh, I dunno, almost eight months since Will was born. Our last real date was before that. I dress up in new jeans, new sweater, new shoes, and wonder whether Nick would have liked my hair better straight? Nah, curled. Why do I look so tired? Not much I can do about it, so I shrug and put on another layer of concealer under my eyes to cover the bruise-like dark circles.
I know we’re nervous because, for once, we’re ready ahead of schedule. We watch the clock while we wait for the buzzer. Aaaaand we’re off.
Nick takes Will in. I feel too guilty and don’t want to spoil the night by feeling glum from having to say goodbye to him on a Saturday. Then we head to the movie first. We decide to see Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. We (well…I) shove popcorn greedily in my face while popping the occasional Cadbury mini-egg between sips of glorious Pibb and Diet. I feel like Cinderella arriving to the ball. It doesn’t matter that the movie isn’t really that great (I know, right? I thought anything with Tina Fey was amazing.). It matters that we get to rip it into shreds together afterwards as we make our way back home for dinner.
When we walk in the door, Chloe is there to greet us. For a moment a nostalgia washes over me and I’m back to the old me again. The girl from over a year ago who wasn’t pregnant. Who thought Chloe was the cutest thing ever. I see a bottle in the sink and the pack ‘n play in the other room and I’m brought back to reality for a moment, remembering that there is something cuter than Chloe.
We decided that dinner at home is best to save some cash. Nick makes steak, and I make roast asparagus and…get ready…we have a glass of decent red wine. Am I still dreaming here?
The food is yummy, and so is the conversation. I hope you all don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s so easy to keep Will out of the discussion. When his name does come up, it’s like a perfectly planted little seed in the evening that makes us smile before moving on to other topics.
We cap off the night with a trip to Barnes and Noble where I bask in the current issue of Cottage Style while forking chunks of chocolate cupcake into my mouth. I peruse the pages at a divinely leisurely pace without having to worry about someone being hungry, or fussy, or sleepy, or having to jingle any number of linkey-do’s, teethers, or rattles. Bliss!
As the last pages of my shabby-chic living room fantasy come to a close, I start to miss my little bear, and we agree it’s time to go pick the little booger up. It’s about 9:00 when we do – an hour early, I know, but we’d already experienced so much! Movie, food, wine, books, and dessert, all with my Prince. Sigh.
I really don’t want to get out in the cold, but Nick insists that I be the one to go in and get Will so the daycare doesn’t think he’s stoned (in an effort to go all out for our date, Nick forewent his glasses for his contacts – something that only happens on rare occasions. Unfortunately, his left eye burst several blood vessels in protest, but hey – even Prince Charming has a bloody eyeball for a date every now and then).
I go in and witness the most adorable thing. Well, that’s after I walk around the building looking for my boy. The lights are off in every room but the main lobby, so I go where I hear sound. I find a t.v. glowing in a room with “big kids” and Ms. Brandi pops up to tell me where Will is. I head down the hall and open the door to a room that’s completely dark. There are three or four sleeping toddlers sacked out on tiny beds on the floor. Two of them raise their heads to look at me, eyes bleary, as I interrupt the quiet. Ms. Angie comes to the door and gets our bottles packed and seems genuinely concerned that we had a good time out together. Little Will is swaddled up like a snuggle-bear-burrito in the little swing thingy on the floor. Fast asleep. All those sweet little babies – out like lights. Oblivious to their moms and dads out there living it up with asparagus and chocolate cupcakes.
We head home, our Prius Carriage slowly turning back into a pumpkin. But I don’t care. Nick and I had such a great time just being together. For a few hours it was just like old times – selfish, indulgent, and in love. Of course we’re always in love, but it’s easy to forget when you’re rushing out the door with baby snot on your cardigan. Still – neither of us would trade that little trail of snot for all the wine and cupcakes in town.