Spit-up, dirty diapers and colic are the exact opposite of romantic -- not to mention the six-week postpregnancy sex hiatus. That's why you guys need some couple time. Rekindle those flames, people!
This one's for all our friends who live in apartment buildings. (Of course, if you have a real yard, you can have an outdoor picnic -- just bring the baby monitor with you outside!) Even if you can't get a sitter, you can make a meal feel special by rolling out a blanket on the living room floor after baby goes to bed. Cook (or order) your favorite meal, turn on some mood music, light some candles and pour some wine. Even though you're hanging out at home instead of hitting the town, an indoor picnic can feel really special and intimate.
We know, we know -- you're not ready to leave baby overnight yet. But definitely take the grandparents up on an overnight before you think you're ready. Sure, you may have to tote along a breast pump and leave a thousand detailed instructions, but Grandma and Grandpa can handle it, and you could really use the break. Head to a nearby hotel or bed-and-breakfast and get a room. You can make dinner reservations, book a couples massage or even just lounge in fluffy hotel bathrobes and order room service -- and most importantly, sleep all night uninterrupted!
Flash back to the '70s and enjoy a little melted cheese (who doesn't love that?). Head to a swanky fondue restaurant to get your dip on, or save money (and don't worry about getting a sitter!) by making your own fondue, preparing some dippers (like crudites and a baguette) and having a romantic night in while baby sleeps.
If your town still has a roller rink, this is a must-do. Seriously, when was the last time you went rollerskating? This one might take you back to dates in junior high and bring you two back to when you fell in love (even if it was probably long after junior high). Head to your local roller rink, strap on some skates and hold hands with your guy. Then share a slushie or pretzel at the concession stand -- aww, how cute!
If you're a competitive couple, game night can be fun and, um, a little intense. Order in some pizza and break out the board games or the Wii. Will it be a Monopoly marathon? Or maybe a frisky game of Twister or risque-word Scrabble? There's no baby sitter required for this one -- unless you have a habit of screaming your head off when you buy Park Place and Boardwalk.
If you're known to friends as the adventurous couple, but haven't really been out much since baby was born, try out a day hike. This is a great daytime date -- you can leave baby with a sitter (or the in-laws) for a few hours and explore the great outdoors together. An added bonus: You'll get some exercise in (goodbye, baby weight!). Pack a picnic to enjoy when you get to a nice spot with great views.
You probably haven't had time to make anything more elaborate than mac and cheese for dinner lately. But if you take a fun cooking class, you'll have some baby-free time to concentrate on your culinary expertise (or lack thereof). Look into what's offered near you. You'll probably have your pick of different cuisines, from sushi and Italian to French. The best part? You'll be able to eat your efforts at the end of the session -- and sometimes, get extras to take home.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
It's time to get out and feel like a grown-up again -- and we don't mean barhopping. Check out your local museums and galleries -- some have nights with extended hours, live performances or special exhibits. We know baby's finger paintings are pretty awesome, but you'll feel much chicer sipping a cocktail and looking at art exhibits for a few hours.
• For pregnancy and parenting advice, tools, photos, and more, visit TheBump.com