A play centre in Melbourne has booked out their latest date night for parents, where children are supervised while the adults dine in the centre’s pop-up A la carte restaurant.
Basecamp Kids owner, Lelen Kemke, runs the night as an opportunity for parents to enjoy fine dining. The lights are turned low and apparently you can’t hear the children from the dining area.
“My husband and I, we’ve got kids of our own and we just found that sometimes parents didn’t feel comfortable leaving their kids with the babysitters, or they couldn’t find a babysitter,” she said.
“So with the children, we actually bring them into our workshop areas and we give them dinner and ice cream and drinks and movies, and we basically look after the children for the evening – which lasts about two and a half hours.”
Parents pre-order their meal. Image supplied.
There isn't a total ban on babies in the adult dinning section. Kemke says a few couples bring their babies to dinner.
"We haven’t really had any problems with babies making too much noise," she said.
Since becoming a parent, I have accepted that my days of fine dining are pretty much done. I have rarely left the house after 7pm in the last 18 months and I feel strange now when I am outside and it's dark.
On holidays, we ate out as a family in the "family friendly" resort's buffet restaurant where most tables had a good proportion of their food on the floor. The young couples there did not do their research.
My daytime visits to restaurants with a toddler are fraught with danger. The babychinos are not in plastic cups and even when I've ordered simple take-away finger food, I've somehow found myself in a sushi meltdown with avocado and tuna on my shoes.
I don't know when the mood of my toddler will change but he can go from happily eating and charming the staff to throwing food or toys at people without any warning. I then feel as if I have to tip more than I've spent on lunch. I have been homebound for meal times lately, waiting until I manage this messy stage.
My son make a mess at meal times. Image supplied.
A colleague said she "couldn't think of anything worse" than dining at a child's play centre and I know my pre-baby self would have thought the idea was cheesy. A PG date night is better than no date night. A change of location is arguably better than Netfix. An evening out is worth a lot.
I also imagine there is a sense of comradery in being in a low-lit sound proof room with other parents as desperate as you for some down-time.
In the US, a new baby-wearing dance craze is offering parents an opportunity to take their babies for a night out dancing - I'd be all for that too.
It's mostly to encourage father's to get involved in dance, but any bring your offspring event - especially at night - sounds like fun to me.
Dad's dance in the class while mother's mingle. Video via Facebook.