Health Week: Bonus Post: Waxy

My wife surprised me with a date night alone last night, for which we walked around the local farmers’ market and held hands. We held hands! Normally when we display even a hint of physical affection, one or more of our children will rush in to either get in on it or try to break it up. My middle daughter will literally clamber up my body and stick her head between our faces as I lean in for a kiss. Of course, she’s also held conversations like this when she sees us smooching goodbye in the morning.

Her: I hate it when you guys do that! It always takes longer!

Wife: But we love each other!

Her: Remember when you do it in the kitchen? Oh, I hate that!

As part of our date, my wife also surprised me with a small tin (you might recognize it as once having housed Trader Joe’s green tea mints) of moustache wax, in honor of my Movember moustache-growing efforts. The wax, I then learned, came from comb I harvested from some bees I helped relocate to a friend’s property about half a year ago, a process that netted me about 25 stings because I’d put the suit on wrong. Since they managed to get into my headpiece, most of the stings were on my neck and throat. I don’t recommend that. It’s like shaving, but with a blade that’s mad at you and wants to cut you over and over again, sometimes even by getting into your shoe and then down into your sock and waiting until you arrive at home to get you one more time.

My moustache won’t be waxable for some time yet—probably not till long after November—and she doesn’t really want me growing it out that far, so the tin was mostly symbolic, a sort of “keep it up!” made out of bee vomit and castor oil. Which, really, are two of the most motivating substances out there.

Thanks, Wife, for the wax! You may or may not find my chest hair sculpted into the Batman symbol when I take off my shirt tonight!

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Fright Week: Date Night

Fright Week: Date Night

(Shallow Note: This Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster are from a series of monsters I drew in 2002, back when I was still trying to draw hands. The sketch of the big guy initially didn’t have any hands. I left the cuffs blank, copied it several times, and drew a variety of attempts before I got them just right. Ish.)

Last night was our night to watch the kids. We had seven of them—from a year to 6 years old—running around our house for two and half hours.

My wife and I participate in a kid swap with two other couples, meaning that if everything works the way it should—people aren’t sick or out of town or whatever—we spend one night a month babysitting a baker’s half-dozen of children, but we get two nights a month when we don’t have any kids at all.

The system is pretty awesome, plus we’re gaming it a bit, since we have three kids and the other couples only have two each.

It’s awesome because on our date nights, the children are all at someone else’s house, meaning we can go out, stay home, or go out and then come home before picking them up. You can’t do that with a regular babysitter. Well, I guess you can, but I think the average college student would feel pretty awkward if we were to tell her to help herself to some dinner in the fridge, remind her about the girls’ bedtime, and then go upstairs.

While seven kids can be several handsful, they also do this weird thing where they start entertaining themselves. Groupthink is a powerful babysitting tool. Food and projects help, too.

Last night, my wife had them all make mummy pizzas on English breakfast muffins, then create glowing ghosts out of empty (and washed) milk cartons. There was very little bickering. I just opted to let them interact over blocks and coloring while my wife took the baby out of the mix for his bedtime, and they all did so well, I was able to get started on the dishes—only occasionally intervening with reminders to share or use our words.

On previous nights, we’ve arrived at our friends’ houses to pick up our kids to find they’ve been making ice cream or painting. It’s great.

We’re so grateful to the other couples in our group, and we highly recommend the strategy—especially if you don’t have immediate family nearby to, in theory, watch your kids on a regular basis.

Because if there are two of you and you’ve got kids, someone should be helping you get alone time. As a couple. Whether you use that time to take advantage of happy hour or you spend it not worrying whether some little hand is going to knock on your bedroom door, you need it. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the children. In the long run, it keeps you from turning into monsters. (Get it? Because Halloween?)