Baby’s Night Out

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner

The two years before Alison got pregnant, from 2009-2010, Alison and I saw 65 shows at various theatres across the country, performed or participated in five community theatre productions collectively, and attended probably about 30-40 baseball games at Dodger Stadium. That’s without getting into the details of the late nights out at Friday’s after the performances, the fun trips to New York where we saw 20% of the shows, or the long amount of time we were at the ballpark during a game (usually from batting practice until the players left the field).

I’m not saying Alison and I had a completely crazy social life — it’s not like we went out on the town clubbing or barhopping every Friday and Saturday night — but we did like to have a good time with friends and enjoy some of our favorite activities together — particularly theatre, baseball, and vacationing.

Well, when Alison got pregnant, I knew the cliche “our lives will change forever” would be in full effect. And of course, our lives have absolutely changed forever; no question about it. But when Alison got pregnant, I also hoped our lives didn’t have to change too drastically. I mean, I knew things wouldn’t ever be the same because, of course, they could never be — we have a child now. Our attendance with Dodger games and theatre tickets definitely dropped off quickly, even just with Alison getting pregnant.

But Alison and I have still more or less managed to find a way to continue enjoying many of the things we loved about our life together before Madelyn joined it. While part of our ability to do this is due to the incredible appreciativeness we have for our parents living close and being willing to babysit often, we have also found that we really like bringing Madelyn with us everywhere we go, if we can. I mean, the best part is sharing all of these things with Madelyn, which of course is a bit difficult with a near 10-month old, but before long, she’ll be able to appreciate things with us too.

We obviously can’t keep up the same kinds of numbers we did before Madelyn, but we aren’t eliminating all of our formerly well-attended activities completely. Since 2011, we’ve still gone to the theatre 20+ times (admittedly, 80% of those times were during Alison’s pregnancy, but we have seen about four shows since she was born, with at least three more on our list for this year). We went on a couple of trips while Alison was pregnant, and we’ve been on three or four vacations with Madelyn already (she’s been to three states!). While we’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from our local community theatre, I’m sure we’ll return as soon as Madelyn is old enough to say “oh my goodness, oh my goodness!”

And finally, after nearly a year drought, we attended Dodger Stadium last night, with Madelyn in tow. Thanks to Madelyn’s Great (and great) Uncle Barry and Aunt Pattie, her first Dodger experience was in the Dugout Club. Which means she’s spoiled forever — the Loge will never work for her.

As you may know, taking Madelyn to a Dodger Game has long been a dream of mine. I even wrote about it before she was born. And of course, reading that old post now makes me laugh at the level of naivety it displays. I guess I thought my first game with Madelyn would be when she was two years old or something, and even then I now realize it will be something very different from how I had imagined it. Even so, though, it was thrilling to be at a game with her — for a couple of innings at least. I know she had basically no idea what was going on, but just being with her and seeing her eyes light up at all the new stuff she got to see, it totally made my daddy-instincts perk up and my parental heart melt.

I’m hoping somewhere deep down in her consciousness, she understood what I was saying to her about Vin Scully’s play-by-play, James Loney catching a fly ball, and A.J. Ellis’s incredible patience at the plate. I’m sure I didn’t understand that stuff when my dad and grandpa first explained it to me either, but hey, look at me know. There’s still hope for her.

Unfortunately, our rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” quickly became “take me home from the ballgame because I’m seriously tired and I just want my crib already.” Of course, I wanted to stay because I always try to stay until the end of the game. But, I’ve already conceded that things can’t stay exactly the same as they always have been, and as it was, we extended Madelyn for eight innings sans nap at a particularly long baseball game (almost four hours by the end).

So we left after the 8th inning, game tied 3-3. And alas, instead of seeing it, we got to hear A.J. Ellis’s walk-off three run home run from the 5 freeway as called by Charley Steiner on the radio, with Madelyn already sleeping in her carseat by then. Just part of that whole parenthood thing I guess.

I’m sure we’ll take Madelyn to many more Dodger games before she’s old enough to appreciate them, but I can’t wait to see that look in her eye when she finally does, even if it’s just a little bit. And if we’re ever at the ballpark with her and the game is tied in the 8th inning, I can’t wait to see if she’ll beg to stay, just for one more inning, to see if the Dodgers win…

…hey, a dad can dream.

  1. Aunti Pattie
    5/29/2012 8:28 AM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! So glad I’m a tiny part of Madelyn’s very first game!!! AND, I hope and pray that she appreciates the game like the two of you and NOT her Auntie!!!! hee hee