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My Weekend As A Pseudo-Parent

March 24, 2016

Or as close as I’d like to be to being one any time soon.

Originally my girlfriend had agreed to watch her nephews as her sister and brother-in-law went on a mini-vacation for themselves and she asked if I wanted to help her. I, of course, agreed because I wouldn’t want her to do that alone, plus we wouldn’t have seen each other at all during the weekend, and it was a good chance to get to know a side of her family–even if it was primarily two children. They’re 7 and 4 so just in that sweet spot where they’re over major temper tantrums and you can somewhat talk to them on an intelligent level, but still children with all of the foibles of childhood. The first day I almost had a panic attack because I wondered, “Mein got, vhat have I agreed to?”

Now, this isn’t because they’re bad children or anything, but because I get homesick. Really bad. I remember an instance when I was 8 or 9 where the cub scout troop I belonged to stayed somewhere unfamiliar to me and I cried and became a little withdrawn because I missed home. I still sorta get misty-eyed like that. For whatever reason hotels are fine, though, and if I had to guess, it’s because hotel rooms don’t have a lived-in feel to them.

Staying at someone else’s house, you know it’s not your house, there’s an ecosystem there that you are always acutely aware of it not being your place. Things are different. You don’t feel like just taking food from the cabinets or moving around freely. It’s a bit of a shock to the system–especially if you’re not used to it or have never done it. For me, I’ve never done something like this as an adult. I used to babysit my cousins with my mother a few times when I was little, but that was the extent of my child raising experience.

Fortunately for me my girlfriend’s amazing and I told her how I was feeling a little anxious and she could probably see the beginning of this experience was getting to me so she cuddled up next to me and held my hand. After the initial shock wore off I settled in for the weekend. We all played the Wii U that day and did a lot of goofing around in Mario Maker, Super Mario Bros. U, Smash Brothers, Rayman, etc. We had some really awesome tacos for dinner that the girlfriend had made. And they watched some tv while I had a conversation with the missus (heh..heh…having trouble with talking about my girlfriend without getting repetitive) I had a great time. I also introduced the youngest one to Artrage on my iPad which I would regret later on Monday. They’re really cool kids and they’re mini-geeks so it was probably a lot easier to relate to them than say…if they were mini-bronies or anything of the sort.

After they were in bed things felt less hectic and we could just enjoy each other’s company. That was nice, because I like our quiet moments where sometimes nothing needs to be said at all. We didn’t sleep much that night and just talked while we were in bed and watched a bit of tv in-between talks. I just couldn’t get comfortable, I was too warm and I don’t sleep well when it’s hot and I’m in a bed that’s not my own, in a place that’s not my own, and veering close to falling off of the bed a lot more than I’m used to. Fun! But I did get a few winks in and so did she.

The next day was pretty good because we went to see a movie with them and surprisingly it was good and I usually don’t watch family entertainment. It was Zootopia, I had fun spotting the actors I knew of by just their voices. I went into this movie fairly fresh so I didn’t know quite what to expect. I was pretty anxious and ended up having to take a klonopin as a result. I’m still not used to just going and seeing movies and I hadn’t been to one since The Force Awakens. Plus the not much sleep made it easier for the anxiety to seep in. After that I was dropped off at my apartment because my girlfriend had a birthday party to go to with the oldest child. So I just passed out for about 5 hours, got freshened up, ate dinner, and then was going to be picked up again.

My anxiety returned a little bit before she got here and stayed till we got back to the house and I managed to regain myself a bit. It was a combination of knowing I’m going to be homesick again and frayed nerves. One aspect of raising children that I was cognizant of but didn’t really think of when I agreed to this at the time was that you have to always be on. There is no break for you to just relax when they’re awake. So, me, not being used to this at all, it got to me. Fortunately Sunday was kind of a short day for me, but not so short for my girlfriend, unfortunately, because by the end of the night I knew she was out of it a bit.

So we went to bed and talked and she was passing out mid-conversation which was cute. And then I tried to get to sleep myself which was easier Sunday night than it was on Saturday, but still choppy in the sleep department. Monday was pretty good as well. We got them ready for school in the morning and afternoon which netted us about 2 miles of walking. I’m really amazed at how much I’m able to do these days thanks to my girlfriend and her ability to push me forward into a better place health wise. I want to do more because of her and I’m enjoying the results. I wouldn’t have been caught dead walking that much a long time ago.

So! Monday was almost home, the parents were on their way back, and we were getting a yummy dinner. Aaaand the youngest gave me issues when my girlfriend went to get ze dinner. I handled it as best I could considering he wasn’t listening to me at all and I was helping the oldest with his homework. The most I could feel about that was betrayed because I thought me and the youngest boy had built up a pretty good rapport over the last couple of days, but nope. Big mistake on my part because as much as you think you can trust a kid not to turn on you a bit, you really can’t.

Overall I had a great time, though, and a good experience, but not one I’m eager to repeat any time soon. Mostly because it was exhausting, but I do have a newly found appreciation for my friends that are parents and what they go through. I only had a slice of it this weekend and it wreaked some havoc on me mentally and emotionally. Nothing I can’t recover from. Also it felt good to help my girlfriend out and she was glad I was along for the ride and was impressed with how well I handled being with children and dealing with them. She said I was a natural so yay! That’s a great compliment for me since for a while in my 20’s I wanted nothing to do with them. If someone had their child in my vicinity I would audibly groan. Yeah, it was that bad.

Peak child hate, for me, was reached when my Dutch friend reached psychopathic levels of child hate . She wanted nothing to do with them and actually wished some would just die. Me, seeing it for what it was was just thinking, “They’re only children.” And age has softened me. I am a lot more open to having kids in the future than I was in the past, but for right now I’d like to keep my adult world where it is. I actually missed being able to cuss freely, listen to music with the naughty lyrics, and my violent entertainment. Also being able to relax and take a breather.

My girlfriend thought it was funny that when I got home I stripped down to my boxers. I do not like wearing clothes all of the time or even some of the time. It’s uncomfortable for me because it generates too much heat and feels constrictive. So! Yes. That was my weekend as a pseudo-parent. Or as close as I want to be for awhile.  But yes, to my friends that do have children: lots of respect for what you all go through daily.

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