So, finally my wife and I have left our two daughters home alone on occasion.
At first, it was only after they had gone to bed. We wanted to resume our date nights, which disappeared since we moved out of my in-laws’ place and into an apartment for just the four of us.
This meant my mother-in-law was no longer around at night to keep watch over the girls on date nights.
Babysitters? We can’t think of anyone we trust if we had to pay them and we didn’t want to bother those we did trust, who would not accept payment anyway.
Smartphone-linked Wi-Fi cameras? I’ve been reading too many reviews to find the best one in the shops and making too few decisions about it. Hence no more date nights.
Until we thought: It’s not really a big deal, right, if we were just down the street, around the corner, at our usual restaurant-cum-drinking hole, which is a five-minute walk from our place?
Besides, our girls, who are 10 and seven, know how to call us on the mobile phone if they need us.
And so we did it, but only after giving F and S thorough instructions on what they could and could not do should they wake when we are not at home.
That first date night with the girls home alone, I must have spent as much time looking at the black mirror of my mobile phone as I did at my wife, hoping it wouldn’t light up with a call from them.
It didn’t and all was right with the world when we returned home two hours later. What a big surprise.
Since then, we have had date nights again in this way and also at Marina Bay Sands, where we had a short staycation last month – how could any married or dating couple not want to hang out at night at the Skypark, which can be romantic despite the hordes?
Well, the first night my wife and I had a Skypark date, it was almost romantic.
She was in the outdoor jacuzzi with a glorious bird’s-eye view of Gardens by the Bay. I was standing next to her, outside the jacuzzi, refusing to leave my phone and not wanting the phone to get wet, in case F and S called.
The second night was better: I pulled a deck chair close to the jacuzzi so I had a place to rest my phone, face up and ringer volume at maximum. When I was in the jacuzzi, I think I even managed to look at my wife’s face a few times.
Last week, we took another leap – we left F and S alone at home during the day.
It was for only a couple of hours, but while they were awake, they could quarrel bitterly, which they do as often as they play amicably; wander into the kitchen, where untold dangers lurk; make a huge mess, which would be innocuous if I weren’t so obsessive-compulsive; and so on.
After making sure the window grilles were secured and watching the girls practise unlocking the main gate themselves (in case of an emergency), my wife and I went out on our own, taking an extremely calculated risk.
Again, our phones didn’t ring with a call from them and we returned to a home much like the one we had left – no burst water pipes or anguished wailing, no fires or fights, no messes or general misery (theirs or mine).
It was so normal, so placid, it was surreal.
Next page: But parenthood is a lifelong journey