I have eaten tuna tartare with my kid, and I have eaten tuna tartare alone with my husband, and as nice as it is to have the whole family together, in the long run, I’d rather go out without her. My suspicion is that the real reason so many new parents cart their children along is because they’re afraid to be alone with each other. There’s less sex, more financial pressure, and a hundred new sources of anxiety. There are fewer shared experiences and friends, and conversations can feel stilted. So they bring along the baby as a buffer, because when you’re child wrangling, there’s no time to converse. But intimacy is a lot like sleep: The more you have, the more you want.
A few months ago, my parents came over to babysit, and Jake and I went to a casual Japanese place on Flatbush for dinner. We drank sake, and the food was good and cheap. On the way home, we passed Brownstone Billiards, and I had a sudden yearning to shoot pool. Inside, there was loud hip-hop blaring and the lights were way too bright, but it was only ten bucks for the table, and I beat him three games of eight ball in a row. I mocked him for losing, but I felt the closest to him since the baby was born. For one night, we weren’t breeders. We were just a young couple enjoying a night out. When we got home, my parents said she’d been quiet. They left, and we got into bed. It had been a good night.