Time for us: Tired parents attempt a date night

The Daniel Packard Inne's fried plantains are super.
The Daniel Packard Inne's fried plantains are super.

Friday morning:

Our big night has arrived! Although to be honest, I'd rather it was tomorrow night since we stayed up past midnight to finish watching some show that has me totally hooked.

So here we are; it's Friday, and the official date night has arrived whether I'm tired or not. But let's face it, being moms, are we ever not tired?

My daughter is just over one year old and tonight will be the first night we let her sleep at Gramma and Grampa's house so my husband Jared and I can paint the town. We have gone out before but tonight we won't be coming home to a babysitter, a sleeping child, and an early riser in the morning. We will be alone. Alone! First time alone since BC (before child). I will have the time to actually make myself look presentable, we will go out to an adults-only dinner … where we will talk non-stop about our daughter (yes, it's inevitable.), maybe have a few drinks, and be home and sleeping by 10 p.m. (also inevitable because no matter how much sleep you get, it's never enough and again, are we ever not tired?).

So I sleep in this morning – as in 7 a.m. – because I am exhausted. Me and the little nugget get some breakfast and then go straight to the nail salon - the one I own, run, and operate in my bathroom. I paint our toe nails while failing miserably at keeping our toes, hands, and white bathroom mats from being covered in pink.

Friday afternoon:

Guilt has set in. I feed my darling lunch and the whole time I decide to talk to her and give her the plans for the evening, because

A. She can totally understand me, I'm convinced! And,

B. It feels better to talk out loud to a person even if just a baby so I'm not totally talking to myself which I tend to do often:

"Okay, love, eat up your lunch because you're going to have a busy night tonight! First we're going to meet Auntie Jojo and she's going to bring you to see Gramma and Grampa. Then you're going to go to the fair with them and see Great-Gramma or "GG" as we like to call her. You get to have a sleepover, yay! It's going to be so fun but mommy and daddy are going to miss you like crazy! What are we going to do without you! Aww, my little lovey girl, I'm so going to miss you!"

Guilt hits like a brick wall.

My daughter is looking at my anxiously, flapping her arms – her sign for "milk please". I snap out of it and realized I'm going out darnit! I love my child with all my heart, I'm with her 24/7 basically as a work at home mom (WAHM), and going one night without me will not be detrimental to her development. Crisis averted, I don't cancel, and things are looking up. Time to stop giving my child cookies as bribery for leaving her this evening…

Friday night:

Drop off child with only a few tears, check. Cute outfit, check. Makeup, check. Heels, check. (Wait, am I sure about the heels?)

I make a reservation at the Captain Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic last minute for our date. I pick this restaurant for a number of reasons:

1. It is guaranteed to be a place with no children. It's one thing to go out on a date night without your kid and an entirely different scenario to go out on a date with everyone else's kids. I wanted it to be quiet and adults only.

2. We had been here before for lunch (BC) and I remember it being tasty and very quaint. I have wanted to go back for dinner.

Jared gets home cranky – joy. He takes his sweet time getting ready: mowing the lawn, puttering around in the garage, etc. Finally after enough sweet nags (my version of nagging but with a sweet tint to it), he gets in the shower to get ready. We arrive at the restaurant dead on 7 p.m. for our reservation. Jared is yawning as we walked through the door; in other words a sign that it is going to be an early night.

We are warmly greeted and brought into a small room with four tables – two of which were already occupied. The Captain Daniel Packard Inn is an old house (about 250 years old) and very cute with creaky wood floors and old-fashioned sailboat place mats. I love the look and feel of it.

I order a glass of Malbec while Jared opts for a Tangeray and tonic. We peruse the menu and it is very difficult to decide what to have. I decide to treat myself to a cup of the New England clam chowder.

Jared orders us the coconut shrimp to start. The shrimp dish = delish! You give me plantains served any way and I'm in heaven. My clam chowder is just okay. This one came out looking ever so creamy and it was; but it was too creamy, and the potatoes were undercooked. The entrées come next. I am wowed by the presentation of both my yellow fin tuna with wasabi, noodles and vegetables and Jared's pork loin with gorgonzola cheese and fig chutney.

When we are done with our meals we started playing our guessing game about how much the meal will cost us. We decline dessert or any more drinks and start adding in our head. We are foodies and we enjoy treating ourselves to a good meal and dissecting each dish, but we are a little surprised to find the total is $15 more than we both guess.

After dinner, Jared is tired and not up for much more – he still blames me for the previous late night of TV but whatever. I am desperate to do anything. I beg him to walk downtown to the drawbridge or maybe go to the casino. Anything but go home. We get to the parking lot and Jared gets in the car. I stop in the middle of the parking lot and start stomping my feet and shouting:

"We are alone! We don't have a child for an entire night! You just want to go home to sleep! We need to do something! We are such losers! I got dressed up just for this! It's only 8 p.m.! We've been out for one hour! How much more lame can we get?!"

I am laughing hysterically at this point and Jared is cracking up so we decide to go have an aperitif. We stop at The Mystic Boathouse (across from Mystic Village and the Aquarium). This place is semi-new as they redid the entire building inside. It looks really nice; especially the bar which is beautifully done. Jared orders his signature Sambucca and I opt for a Bailey's on the rocks. After having a look at the dessert menu, we decide to share a slice of fruity pie. When all is said and done, we are tired and ready to go home. But not after paying roughly $30 for two drinks, one slice of pie, and tip. We just look at each other and started laughing some more. We can't decide which is true:

A. Prices have gone up due to this awful economy.

B. We are just getting old and these prices are normal.

We learned some lessons during our date: Dating is expensive. And we shouldn't watch TV so late the night before a big date.

Around 9:45, Jared and I were sound asleep.

But it was a great night to be just the two of us.

Jessie Ford lives in East Lyme.


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