One of the best parts of living in an apartment building with a toddler is having neighbors who also have kids. In both of the buildings my husband and I have lived in since we got married, we have been lucky to find wonderful neighbors who became dear friends. In fact they have become more like extended members of our family, watching one another’s dogs, kids, borrowing baking supplies late at night or milk for coffee early in the morning. We babysit swap, watching one another’s kids on a Saturday night and vice versa, so that we can enjoy a night out without spending $15-20 per hour on a babysitter.
During the winter, when it’s harder to motivate to get outside with the kids, it’s been a joy to mosey on over to our neighbor’s apartment for a “change of scenery.” The kids run back and forth between apartments, choosing activities based on who has the best toys (probably them) or the best snacks (probably us). No jackets, boots, or stroller necessary, making parents lives just a tiny bit more convenient. There have been many Saturdays we haven’t even left the building, but our kids were none the wiser, totally consumed with their day-long, dual apartment playdates.
And whereas Saturday nights used to be spent checking out the latest restaurant downtown or a new neighborhood bar, we are more likely to be found ordering takeout with our neighbors than venturing outside. And so I want to advocate for the cocktail playdate to liven up the evenings of my fellow parents.
The cocktail playdate is best executed with friends who have kids relative to the age of your own kids. Let the kids entertain themselves in the playroom (if you are lucky enough to have one) or with some pizza and a movie while you break out your cocktail shaker for the adults. I would be remiss if I didn’t issue a warning about safety: The cocktail playdate must be used in moderation. If the kids start running around naked, breaking into the ice cream stash, or painting on one another, you may have had one too many playdate cocktails.
A few wintery drinks to try:
And here’s one of my favorite recipes:
Blood Orange Martinis, makes 4 martinis
1 cup fresh blood orange juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
Juice from half fresh lime
3 shots good quality vodka
1 shot triple sec or orange flavored liquor
Slices of lime (optional)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add juices, vodka and triple sec (or other orange flavored liquor). Shake up and down vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
2. Pour into four glasses with ice if desired. Garnish with slices of fresh lime.