Dear Jo: Date Night. Part Deux.

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July 19, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

Let’s go out for dinner, he said. It will be fun, he said. We need a little get away.

You couldn’t dispute any of those statements, but it was the follow-up that concerned you.

Dear Jo: Date Night. Part Deux.

“I already called Mom and got it all worked out. She’ll be here at 5:30.”

“You called your mom?”

“Yeah. We need a babysitter.”

“Yeah. I realize that, but YOUR mom?”

“Listen, she wants to help. You’ll only have to talk to her for a few minutes before we take off.”

You wondered if you could hide out in the bathroom or wait in the car, while Paul gave her all the instructions.

Of course she arrived a half-an-hour early. Before you had gotten dressed. Or done your hair. Or showered.

“Oh. My. I thought you were going out tonight,” she said as you opened the door.

“Come in, Carol Ann. I was just nursing Lyla before getting in the shower.”

“Where’s Paul?”

“On his way home from work.”

“Grandma!” Emerson charged into the room. You handed off both kids and made your escape.

Since becoming a mom, you have perfected the 5-minute shower (including dress, hair and makeup time). But today you indulged and quadrupled the typical time. You turned off the water only after hearing Paul knock on the door. Then you took your time getting dressed and ready, hoping that he would use that time to tell his mom about feeding the kids and sleep schedules.

“Actually I brought McDonald’s with me,” you heard Carol Ann say as you walked into the living room.

“Oh, Emerson and I had already made a turkey sandwich and carrot sticks for his dinner. It’s in the fridge.”

“But can’t I have McDonalds? It comes with a toy!”

You looked at Paul. “That’s fine,” he said. Just for tonight.”

“But if you don’t want to eat the nuggets and fries, you know where your sandwich is,” you said. “Remember how we cut it to look like a train?”

But he was off. Who needed a train-shaped organic, farm-raised turkey sandwich when he could have molded chicken products that would probably give him a stomach ache? But at least it came with a toy that would be tossed in a few weeks.

“I just fed Lyla, so she should be good for a few hours. I left a bottle in the fridge, but I doubt she’ll take it. We’re only going out for dinner, so I’ll just feed her when I get back.”

“She’s still not taking a bottle?”


“Well, she will if she gets hungry enough.”

“We’ve tried….”

“I guess that’s what happens when you’re always around to feed her when she wants.” You looked at Paul as Carol Ann continued, “And no solid food yet? The girl is seven months. Don’t you think it’s time? After all, my kids had cereal in their bottles at one month and were on to solid food by four months.”

“We’ve talked to our doctor, Mom. She’s doing fine on just breastmilk. We don’t need to rush anything. She’ll start eating solids soon enough.”

“Well, I should hope so. And I suppose Emerson needs to clean up toys before bed time? I mean look at this place….”

The living room looked no different than any other day. Or night. Or afternoon. Or evening. This had been the state of your house for the last three years.

“We’ll take care of it tomorrow. Don’t worry about it,” Paul said, as he grabbed your hand to prevent you from lunging at her. “We’d better get going. Any other questions?”

“Just one. What do I do if, well, you know, if Emerson does one of his, what do you call them, you know, if he has a seizure thing?”

“There’s nothing to do,” Paul said. “Just give him a few seconds and he’ll be fine.”

“But do I need to make a note or give him medicine or call the doctor.”

“Nope. As I said, just give him a minute. He’ll be fine.”

You kissed the kids goodbye and headed to the car. You exhaled as you sat down.

“I’m sorry,” Paul said before starting the car. “Let’s forget all that and have a good dinner, okay?” He leaned over and kissed you on the forehead. You drove in silence as her questions echoed in your mind. How that man came from that woman, you’ll never understand.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


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