eating out with friends

Mr independent – a first outing without parents

Saturday was a sad occasion for me.  It was N’s first trip out with a friend without me…I would say without parents, but really, it’s just me because his dad works all the time, so it’s rare that he goes off the farm with his dad.

So at the age of four, N is already starting to get used to going out for the day with friends.  Ok, so it wasn’t quite the whole day, but near enough.

N was invited to go to the cinema and for lunch with his friend’s family for the little boy’s birthday treat.  It was a lovely invite and after checking with N whether he’d like to go on his own with them, accepted straight away. 

I know lots of people wouldn’t let their 4 year old go off for the day with a non-family member (in fact I don’t think N’s been out for the day without me before, apart from someone baby-sitting him), but the parents are friends of mine, and the mum is his key worker at nursery school as well.  We’ve also been out with them before so I know he’s always been fine with them so wasn’t worried at all.

I was a little sad because it was going to be N’s first trip to the cinema.  Because N’s pretty rubbish at watching a film all the way through, I’d never taken him before.  Especially with the price of cinema tickets – it’s a big monetary risk if he didn’t last or hated it, and the cheaper kids cinema showings are never at a time that works for us (why our cinema does kids cinema showings at 11.15 just in the run up to lunch, I’ll never know!?).  So it was sad that I wouldn’t get to take him.  I did debate rushing him to the cinema to see something else, but we didn’t have the time.

The bonus of course, was that someone else had to sit through Peppa Pig and I didn’t!  It took me back to my mum taking me to see the Care Bears movie in the 80s and falling asleep.

There were a few hairy moments with timings and planning.  I was expecting swimming to be on in the morning, so they’d planned lunch then cinema after.  But we arrived at swimming to find it all locked up for half term (I’d been told they carried on through half terms), so that was a bit annoying. 

Then there was the whole trying to book tickets.  Our local cinema is an ancient 2 screen Odeon that’s not changed since I was a child.  There’s a few multi-screens around, but the main ones are an hour away.  So finding a showing that worked around lunch and wasn’t fully booked, was a nightmare.  In the end they had to drive to Milton Keynes, and saw a later showing.

eating out with friends
first cinema visit

Of course the later showing meant later home coming, and it was a really long day without N.

My plan had been to spend the day blogging, maybe get out for a walk somewhere to do some photography, sit in a coffee shop.  All nice things I couldn’t do with a child in tow.  Of course it didn’t happen like that…tidying up my mum’s house, chores, charity shop runs.  The day really dragged, and by 3 I was ready and waiting for him to get back.

I did nip into town to chill out and read in the coffee shop until I got the call that they weren’t far away.

They’d had a lovely day.  The boys were really good, and N seemed to be very excited about the cinema and watching Peppa Pig.  Although he was a bit confused because he kept telling me ‘at Peppa Pig World we watched…there were…we got sweets’.  I had to tell him that he’d gone to watch the film at the cinema, not gone to Peppa Pig World.

He’d enjoyed his lunch, although amusingly both of the boys had chosen ice lollies for pudding.  Over a chocolate pudding or ice cream sundae?!  Strange children, although possibly containing the mess more.

He didn’t seem worried that he’d been out without me.  However we did have a conversation on the way home about Daddy having to take him to the cinema one day.  Highly unlikely I think, because I’ve only known the OH to go to the cinema once in the 13+ years we’d been together, and that was under duress during some spare time we had while on holiday in New Zealand when the weather had turned.

So a successful first day out alone, and it seems that I’ll need to keep an eye on the cinema listings in the near future.

How old were your children before they went out without you or a family member?

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  1. Wow what a brave boy. Monkey used to stay over night with one of his godparents when he was small but other than going round to his Auntie’s or my ex-MIL he’s never left with anyone. I had to go on his tea date with a school friend the other week!

    1. N’s always been pretty relaxed about being with other people, but he knows the mum because she’s his key worker at nursery school, and we’ve known them since we started swimming way back. Definitely makes life easy. I think rowdy parties, I’d not be allowed to leave him

  2. Loved your story. My grandson is four and I’m not sure he has been anywhere without his parents or grandparents. I certainly can’t remember what age my two were when they first went out with friends probably around 4 or 5. It’s great that he enjoyed his trip and you will get used to having your own time again and be able to enjoy it.

    1. It’s strange because you never imagine it would happen so early on. We’re lucky that it’s with parents that I’m friends with anyway. Thanks for commenting Janice.

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