One of the hardest things for us as a couple about life over here has been the lack of a regular babysitter. Living so far from our church, we are without the awesome single girls who love kids or the couples with whom we could trade babysitting. Before we got married, we wanted to have a regular date night, knowing how beneficial it is. And while it can be done at home, we've found there's just something about getting out and away from the normal environment. Plus, waiting until Hadassah is in bed usually means we're both tired and not up for much... with early alarms, supper really is the ideal time, we've found.
We've been blessed to connect with some great guys here at the university across the street for a study-abroad program. They've shared taxis with us to get to church, come for dinner, and even connected us with local students interested in studying the Word. And when we mentioned our lack of a babysitter, one had a recommendation to give: a fellow study-abroad participant who loved kids!
So last Thursday was the first time we got to go OUT alone in three months! Hadassah doesn't usually do well if mommy's not around, probably because there is hardly a place we're not together. So, I wasn't sure how she'd do, but wanted to prepare her as much as I could. Throughout the day I told her that a special babysitter friend was coming that night to play with her, and that they would have so much fun and she would feed her supper. As time got closer, I let her in on a special secret: the babysitter friend would feed her noodles, broccoli, and watermelon, some of her favorite things! I did mention that Mommy and Daddy would be away for a little bit, to spend some time together, but would be home in time for bed time. But, I didn't dwell too much on that point, just that there was someone special coming to play with Hadassah!
I took her with me to meet the babysitter at the university gate, and was immediately drawn to the friendly young lady who quickly engaged Hadassah as well. When we got back to our apartment, instead of clinging to me like she often does around strangers, Hadassah sat in the living room and started showing toys to her new babysitter friend. She hardly looked up as I gave instructions and then left. I was SO glad I'd talked to her during the day, and was amazed at how much she understood at just 18 months. But she knew this person was here to play with her and feed her noodles, and she accepted her!
Bayberry juice (we'd never heard of it, but it was delicious!) and wonderful conversation. We'd forgotten how much of a treat just looking into each other's eyes during dinner was, and the undistracted environment with no toddler to feed allowed us to actually focus and think. Our pastor had even given husbands some good questions to ask wives during his sermon that Sunday, which Ryan remembered- and I turned them around for him to answer too. An hour passed quickly before we knew it...
Hadassah was just starting to get a little concerned about her parents being gone as bedtime approached, so us coming back when we did was perfect timing. We found her fun babysitting in the middle of playing with her in a silly, fun way, which made us like her even more. Even now, when we do certain things, Hadassah will say "K-kay" (her rendition of the babysitter's name), remembering what they did together.
Unfortunately, the babysitter will be going back to America in just another week or two, as the semester is ending. But, we already have her reserved for this Thursday, to squeeze another date in. Whenever they can happen, they are precious.