New Year’s Eve 2008 with Baby.

This will be our first New Year’s Eve as parents. I’m kind of feeling the urge to celebrate, but our babysitter laughed at us when I asked her if she could work that night and even if we could find someone else, I’m not too keen on leaving our baby with a stranger (she’s only four and a half months old). How do people with kids handle New Year’s? Are we all doomed to watching Dick Clark? Is Dick Clark even still on TV? Any suggestions for how I can get a little fun time in would be appreciated. – party deprived parent

Dear party deprived,

We wish we could give you the secret phone number for the baby-friendly New Year’s Eve party society – or better still, the babysitter with no life. They do exist. We moan whenever we hear parents boast about their perfect New Year’s Eve arrangement – whether it involves a well-staffed night nursery for the kids in a lavish brownstone, or the adoring and available grandparent who won’t look twice when you show up sloshed at three a.m. just in time for one last pump and dump.

But as far as we can tell, most parents, especially new ones, are in exactly your shoes. Or slippers, as is often the case, as they settle for a baby-rockin’ New Year’s Eve on the couch. You’ll be happy to know that Dick Clark is still alive and still ringing it in. This year, he’ll be joined by Ryan Seacrest and Hannah Montana. Pass the prosecco!

But it is possible for parents to have fun on New Year’s, as long as you’re willing to look beyond the traditional glittering, swerving path. Here are some options.

Take your baby to the party. This plan really depends on the kind of party you want to attend. And the kind of partying you plan to do. Some scenes will accommodate a car seat in the corner more than others. No point in going to a crowded dance party if you’re sporting a Bjorn the whole time. But this is a good option for the portable baby at a relatively sedate dinner party/soiree. Bring a battery-operated baby monitor.

One simple way to party (though possibly the messiest, costliest, and least realistic for many) is to bring the party to you. It might be hard to rally your friends if they are in the same boat – no sitter, young kids, limited energy, lowered tolerance to alcohol. But you could always try the pre-party option – an early evening affair with sufficient glam to disguise the bottle-drying rack and baby wipe tubs. The childless among you can rev up, then take their more serious revelry elsewhere. And your friends with kids might be able to get them home before (a slightly delayed) bedtime. Keeping things local is a smart idea: getting around on New Year’s is a drag even without schlepping a carseat, stroller and small child.

And finally, if someone’s got the space, there’s also the sleepover option. One of us has an annual tradition of out-of-town New Year’s with close family friends. It’s been more than occasionally postponed due to various contagious illnesses and the odd birth. The clock has only once struck midnight with all of the adults awake. We rarely finish more than a couple of glasses of champagne. But we always have fun.

Have a question? Email parentaladvisory@babble.com

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