The first night out

I was a new mum with a great idea. When my son was just four weeks old I opened my lap top, pulled out my credit card and purchased two tickets to Stevie Nick’s 24 karat tour in Auckland’s Spark Arena.

For once I had found a perfect birthday present for my husband more than a day before his birthday in October. He is an avid Fleetwood Mac fan and I knew he would love seeing Stevie perform in person.

I had already thought ahead and talked to my mum about the possibility of having a night off. “Baby will be four months old by then; of course I can look after him. That’ll be easy!” she said.

Easy. Hmmmm… I can go with easy. So with an air of confidence about me, I bought those tickets.

In the months that followed, my quiet, sleepy new born became started to wake up. He got picky and restless if he wasn’t in his cot, he got very stubborn, and he got LOUD. I also realised no one else had really ever put him to bed except me.

So I started to panic – just a little. He might not sleep on the night of the concert, but at least he’d still drink, right?

From day one I was determined to have him drink from a bottle. At first he didn’t seem fussed at all with how he got his milk, so of course I smugly patted myself on the back and ticked “takes a bottle” off my list.

Then I got lazy and didn’t use a bottle for another three weeks and when we did try it again, the baby screamed.

Half an hour later we’d only managed to down only 20mls of the milk I had expressed. He just refused to drink.

So I started to panic big time.

The idea of going to a concert and leaving my baby for five hours seemed impossible. We had only four weeks to turn our baby back into an easy going, bottle-drinking, big-sleeping child. Otherwise I knew our first night out would be compromised. We’d cancel last minute, we’d have to leave early or I’d get a call from my mum saying “Please come home, he won’t stop crying!”

My husband and I were in desperate need of a date night. It had been months since we’d had a decent night out with each other; I was starting to forget what he looked like!

As the reality set in that we might have to cancel our once-in-a-blue-moon baby-free night, I stop trying to force the bottle. It was just too hard.

Then, with about a week left before the concert, I reluctantly tried again.

My husband heated up the bottle, sat with my four month old on his lap, and gently put the teat to his mouth, expecting the worst. I left the room.

When I came back ten minutes later, I was shocked. My baby drank every single drop, with absolutely no complaints or fussing, just one big burp half way through and a little cry once the bottle was finished (He obviously wanted more!).

The rest, they say, is history.

We got dressed up on Tuesday night and I wore a full face of makeup (a rare occurrence these days). I put little Ashton to sleep at about 6pm and left him in the very capable hands of my mother.

My husband and I frolicked into town where Stevie Nicks put on a fantastic show at 69 years of age. We had a couple of drinks, shared a box of jalapeno poppers and sung until our voices were hoarse.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely sent my mum a few texts to check everything was okay, and we did leave one song early because I was concerned about my baby. It was also WAY past my bedtime and I didn’t want to get stuck in the post-concert traffic (what a mum). But all in all, I think we did pretty alright for a night out in town.

As for my stubborn child, my mum said he had slept from 6pm till 10:30pm, had a quick bottle, and promptly fell back to sleep.

The more time I spend as a mother and the more I worry about my child, the more I realise how little difference that worry changes anything about my baby’s behaviour. He will do what he wants to do.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. No more worrying about what my child is or isn’t doing. No more panicking over plans I have set.

What will be will be, baby will do what baby wants to do.

End of story.

Rachel Chen