Sunday, September 20, 2009

Painting the town powder blue

There comes a point, a few months after having a baby, when you start to wonder if Netflix can really replace the friends you used to hang out with. The answer of course is no, unless you have some really good HBO shows in your DVD queue, like Deadwood, or maybe True Blood. What I’m trying to say is that there’s no substitute for true friendship, at least not on network TV.

While we’re still basking in the glow (and wandering through the fog) of new parenthood, my wife Kara and I have missed interacting with people who don’t make a habit of peeing on us. It has been especially tough for Kara, because while I still have one mature adult in our house to spend time with, she doesn’t have any. For the first few months after you make that last adrenaline-fueled drive to the hospital to deliver your baby, as far as your friends are concerned, it probably seems as though you flew off over the horizon and disappeared with Amelia Earhart or Ricky Martin.

So when we were able to finagle our way to our friends’ engagement party last Saturday night, courtesy of some clutch baby-sitting from the in-laws, Kara and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves. Usually, when neither one of us is holding the baby, our son Evan passes the time by trying to punch a hole in the ceiling using nothing but his vocal cords. But this time, as we got dressed upstairs with Evan downstairs cooing for his grandparents, the only screaming in the room came as I held up a hand mirror to check the status of my bald spot.

Evan’s cooing continued as his grandparents tickled his tummy and played peek-a-boo while Kara and I headed for the front door, which raised an interesting question: Does it count as baby-sitting if the babysitters don’t notice that you left?

At the party, we reunited with friends and did our best not to be the first to bring up breast pumps and dirty diapers. As new parents, it can be difficult to remember that graphic descriptions of the seamier sides of parenting, of which there are many, can easily transform polite conversation into something else altogether. Besides, we want more of our friends to have babies, so we have to be careful not to scare any of the amateur creators from going pro.

All in all, our first social engagement outside of the house since becoming parents was a success, and we felt fortunate to have had the chance to celebrate Julie and Sergey’s engagement properly. Still, even if you manage to escape the house and leave your newborn in capable hands for just a little while, it’s impossible not to be reminded that your life is not at all the same.

At just before 10pm, Kara turned to me and said quietly, “I’m full. We need to go home.”

“What?” I replied. “We don’t need to be home quite yet. Just don’t eat anything else if you’re full.”

“No, I mean they’re full,” she said, pointing to her chest. “I need to go pump.”

I’ve had to leave parties for many reasons in my life, usually due to the lack of an invitation, but this was a first.

I remember back in my late twenties, when I started getting concerned about the continuing and stubborn advancement of my age, I decided that you weren’t truly old until the parties you attended got smaller after 10pm. It seemed like a solid hypothesis at the time, but now I’m not so sure. At any rate, it’s impossible to test it out on myself, since I have no idea what happens to parties after 10pm. Who can stay out that late?

You can drink the rest of Mike Todd’s beer at


  1. Next time bring the pumps ; ) It truly was amazing to see you out! Hope it happens again!

  2. Nice wordplay with "we have to be careful not to scare any of the amateur creators from going pro".