When Emily was about a two months old our neighborhood held a movie-in-the-park night for families. I invited a bunch of other moms and their children to come out and see it with me. I suggested we meet at 6:30pm on a Friday night so we could see the movie that started at 7:00pm.
It didn't go over well. I was scolded for even suggesting something that started so late. Apparently bedtime was 6:00pm for all of these children and I was a horrible mother for suggesting the outing and an even more terrible parent for taking my child out to something so late in the day.
I can understand that other children may need an extremely early bedtime. Some of them need to go to school early, some need extra sleep because they no longer nap, so just are on the early bedtime schedule and it works for them. At the time Emily was two months old and it didn't matter where I took her she was going to do one of two things: nurse or sleep. I figured I might as well watch a movie while she did. Later, after the scolding, these mothers told me that I wouldn't be able to do anything after 6:00pm once Emily turned 3 months old. I would HAVE to set the sleep routine early. I would not be able to go out at 10:00am when it was time for her nap. I would not be able to go out in the afternoon when it was time for another nap. I would not be able to leave the house - ever.
At 11 months with a little mommy-confidence under my belt I can now say a big fat whatever.
On Friday night Historic Hawaii Theater showed the Oahu Premiere of Get A Job. The show was filmed in Maui and starred a lot of people who I did theater with there. I was not going to miss the premiere. Unfortunately, my husband had an event of his own that he could not miss. So Emily was my date for the night.
The show started at 7:30pm. We were treated to a quick concert by the Barefoot Natives who were also the stars of the show. Emily danced to each song and even sang along with Wille K. (Thankfully we were in the back so no one heard her harmonizing.) After the music and intermission they screened the full-length movie. Emily loved it. So did I. It was funny and sweet and it was fun to watch.
Later, we sat for the question and answer segment. Then we got our poster signed by some of the movie stars. Eric Gilliom even signed a CD for Emily. What baby gets to go to a movie premiere at 11 months and hob-nob with the stars? My baby that's who. And all because I refuse to stay home.
Emily was fine the whole way through. We sat in the back in case I needed to leave the theater (I am aware other people are trying to enjoy their night too) but we didn't have to. Emily was enamored with the live music and the quirky comedy. Half-way through she got tired and so she curled up on my lap and drifted off. She woke up for the signing and we got home a little after midnight. I had a wonderful time, Emily had a great time, and we didn't have any tantrums or problems.
I just refuse, refuse, to miss these special events. I love my daughter. I want her to be happy, comfortable, and healthy. I am more than willing to do whatever it takes to get there. That being said I also want to be a health, comfortable, happy mama. I can't imagine sequestering myself just because I have a baby. I also can't imagine Emily missing out on all the wonderful parts of life just because she is a baby. She'll let me know when she's tired, hungry, needs a break, or wants to go home. When she does we'll do something about it. Till then she can come live life with me.