Chris has two kids that are somewhat close in age to mine. His daughter is 8 and his son is nearly 6 (and is also a kindergartener-going-on-first-grader like Catie). Since he has the kids half the time, we decided a while back that if we wanted to try to spend any substantial amount of time together, eventually our kids were going to have to meet.
The thing is, neither of us wanted it to be some formal introduction of, “….and this is Mommy’s boyfriend,” or anything like that. We figured the best way to handle it was to keep it as low key as possible.
So, a few weeks ago, we met up at a McDonald’s PlayPlace. We sat at tables next to each other, and just chatted casually while the kids played. The idea was that if they wanted to play together, great, but there were also other kids there for them to play with and nobody would feel pressured. And it actually worked out REALLY well, everyone seemed to hit it off.
Since then, we’ve gone on a few other outings together with the kids. We’ve met up at playgrounds and gone to a local street carnival, that kind of thing. Chris and I have (so far) made a point of not having any physical contact with each other when the kids are around (no hugging, kissing, holding hands, etc.). For a while there, I wasn’t sure that the kids had any idea that we were dating, or if they thought we were just friends.
That has changed, recently: I accidentally referred to him as my boyfriend while talking to someone else when Catie was within earshot, but I don’t know if that word really means anything to her yet. On Chris’s end, his 8 year-old daughter has been asking questions about me that indicate she knows that I’m his girlfriend. But fortunately, all of the kids seem to be ok with it.
Last weekend, we decided at the last minute to meet up at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, but unfortunately we got there at 4:30 p.m., not realizing that the museum closes at 5 p.m. (Oops?) So instead we went for some Goodberry’s frozen custard.
While we were having ice cream, the kids whined that they wanted to go play somewhere else. Chris noticed a Chick-Fil-A next door, and while I have tried for the past year or so to boycott them due to their anti-LGBT views… well. It was over 80 degrees outside and they had an indoor, climate-controlled play area. So, yeah, we went to Chick-Fil-A. (Apparently my morals are for sale when the price is air-conditioning.) They played for about two hours and had a blast.
Lucy is a little too young to join in with the older kids when they play, so she decided that the best game was to keep going in and out of the play area. Since we were at the table right next to the door, it meant that Chris had to keep jumping up to open the door for her. Lucy would come up to the door of the play area and lean on it until Chris opened it for her, then she’d run over to me, give me a kiss, then run back to the door and look over her shoulder at Chris until he opened the door for her to go back into the play area. I told him he could stop, he didn’t have to play along with her little game, but he was a good sport about it.
One of the times she came out, instead of running over to give me a kiss, she ran up to him and raised her arms up in the air, the universal toddler sign language for “pick me up!” He picked her up, and she hugged him and buried her face in his neck for a couple of minutes. Then she wriggled back down to the floor and got back to her game of running in and out of the play area. But it was such a sweet little moment, I wish I’d taken a picture.
I did get a picture of this a couple of weeks ago, though.
All four kids on a tire swing, and all four of them were yelling for Chris to push them higher and faster. That was a pretty great moment right there, too.
I made Chris promise a long time ago that he’ll never ask me to marry him, so it’s not like we’re going to have any kind of Brady Bunch thing happening here. But I have to admit, I do love that our kids seem to enjoy each other and all get along really well. It’s a pretty fun dynamic to watch as it evolves.