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Dating Their Dad

He was my schmoop before he was ever their dad, and I was a hot mamma before I even contemplated having children. The problem is, we've never really dated, at least not like they do in the movies. There wasn't a lot of calling to ask me to dinner, putting on cocktail dresses, and keeping track of how many times we'd been out. It's actually kind of a blur.

We hung out, ate a fair amount of ice cream, and then decided to get married so we wouldn't have to drive as far to hang out. For the first year of our marriage, we continued to spend quality time alone together.

But now we're parents and our time together is not alone and it has a different "quality" to it, a Welcome-home-Here-are-the-kids-See-you-in-3-hours-They-need-food-or-they'll-die-Love-you-Bye sort of quality.

Finally, I understand why everyone says that parents need to continue courting each other, or in our case start courting each other. Dan plans on speakin' to my pa real soon and askin' if he can walk me home from church some Sundee. I think my pa had better oblige, considering we already have two children together.

If we don't bring the kids, who's gonna work the camera?

So we try to find time for each other, even if it's just playing a card game or reading a book aloud once the kids are down for the night. Sometimes it takes a miracle, like an e-mail from our superstar babysitter saying that it's spring break and she can work nights this week, to spark us to actually leave the house for a night on the town.

That miracle came Tuesday night. With half our life savings transferred from the hollow space in my mattress to my little red wallet, I headed out to meet Dan for a Real Date. Since I was coming from a doctor's appointment and he was just finishing up work, we met at a theatre halfway in between. Dan arrived first and I spotted his car in the garage and parked next to it because I am so romantical.

Now that I'm a mom, I have a bag big enough to sneak a three-course meal, full-size beverages, and a mariachi band into a movie. So Dan brought the grub and the hombres and I stuffed them into my diaper bag stylish oversized purse and we headed into the theatre.

We watched The Astronaut Farmer starring Billy Mack Joe Bob Thornton and we noticed things like the fact that they'd chosen "S" names for all their kids, that their kitchen cabinets needed to be refinished too, and wasn't it nice how that teenage boy was so respectful to his father?

We held hands on the way out and stole a kiss or two for good measure before piling into our minivan and commuter car and caravaning to a restaurant for some rich chocolate insanity.

Everything's more fun when you're paying $8 an hour to do it.

With the amazingly high price of babysitting, we savor every moment of our nights out as the premium first-class bank-breaking affairs that they are. You know your husband's seriously into you when he will gaze into your eyes and play footsies after dinner to the tune of 15 cents a minute.

Spending $100 for some alone time is not something we can afford every week or probably even every month... Do you have any great ideas for reconnecting with your spouse that don't require a second mortgage?


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