There really needs to be a word for someone who is assuming the duties of a parent, but doesn’t quite have the legal definition of one. My girlfriend has a pretty amazing little 5-year old, and it’s changed my life in ways that don’t offer themselves a clear and concise description. When someone asks me about the child (who I’ll call “SH”, for purposes of privacy), I want to be able to say I am a something in her life in an official capacity; when you say “I’m her mother’s boyfriend” I’m always worried that people will hear “Her mom is riding the babysitter’s gigglestick”.
Ah well; if that’s the worst of my problems, things must kick some serious ass. All joking about titles aside, it’s been a really interesting journey…one that I feel like I’m a lot better at then I should be.
Below are some of the silly stories that have occurred over the last four months.
So I get called on to play with Barbie dolls upon occasion. This doesn’t bother me too much, though it does give me a pretty dour outlook on American perceptions of gender roles, physical beauty, and the use of neon pink. Then I realize I’m playing dollies with a five year-old, and I try to take myself a smidge less seriously.
At one point SH points to Barbie’s ample chest, and says “She has something under her shirt.”
I start to panic. “Really?” I said, hoping that I wouldn’t have to explain fundamental biological functions to a five year old girl. “Yup!” she says. She pulls off the Barbie’s shirt….revealing a bikini top.
Apparently I need to take myself a lot less seriously.
So I wake up pretty damn early for work these days. Between 4:00a and 4:15a to be exact. This means most of my interaction with my girl and her girl is pretty much limited to hearing them snore. I was surprised to find SH was awake one morning…crying. I went into check in on her.
She was scared that there were racoons outside, that we’re going to attempt to break into our house via the window. I’m worried how the bills are going to be payed, and she’s up at the ass crack of dawn….concerned about the desires terrorist rodents.
So here I am, outside her window, at 4:12 am, in the freezing cold….diligently inspecting the premises for any evidence of racoons vigilantism. I ended up being late for work due to my vigil…but it gave me the chance to make the most amusing call to work to explain exactly why.
I brought my Wii over, and SH and me ended up playing New Super Mario Wii the other night. I had played the game before, and it’s not bad for the co-op feature. What WAS interesting, however, was that it quickly turned in to an escort mission in a really awesome way.
NSMW has an extremely light penalty for dying. Almost non-existant really. However, keeping SH safe and powered up ended up being a rather tricky goal that lent something to the equation. Playing a standard video game with a five-year old quickly reveals that keeping them entertained and having a good time is tricky; they still lack the hand to eye co-ordination to move effectively, they forget the buttons a lot, and they will diligently make some of the most inventive mistakes you could conceive of. So here is me as Mario, running around and grabbing my blue toadstool companion and hucking him at fireflowers and such in order to get from one point to another. It was really good stuff.
Also, I managed to look sensitive and awesome while playing a Mario game…..so…I got that going for me now.