They’re not kidding when they say that spending significant amount of time around children is the best form of birth control.
My roommates, who for the sake of their privacy I’ll refer to as Mike and Lisa, have a spunky ginger two-year-old. I could leave the rest to your imagination, but that’s hardly the point of a blog.
The munchkin, Timmy, very easily accepted me into his world when I moved in five months ago. His language is developing, but I think that he will refer to me as his “Ka” long after he graduates high school. (Eliska is a hard name for adults to say and remember, too.)
This last week has been a special kind of ridiculousness. Mike and Lisa decided to try potty-training their son. I smiled and quickly made plans to escape the state… unfortunately the process took longer than the three days I was in Kansas. Little Timmy wanders around without pants, occasionally having accidents on dad’s socks, mom’s skirt, or the blankets and towels laid all around the living room specifically for that purpose. He’s getting better, but it’s still a work in progress.
I genuinely never thought I’d live with a family after I moved away from my own, but Mike and Lisa have been a pure gift: friends from the moment I moved alone halfway across the country.
Did you know? Anytime I come home after dark, they turn on the stoop light for me, and leave the stair light on as well so I can get down to my room without tripping over anything. For folks only a few years older than me, in some ways they really are like my parents. I find it absolutely adorable and am touched every time I pull in.
Mike and Lisa are also, well, pseudo-hippies. Shortly after I moved in, they started composting with worms in the laundry room right across from my bedroom. Lisa apologized profusely about once a week for the smell. Once she finally got the ratios figured out, the smell disappeared. Within the month, though, they approached me sheepishly. “So, we want to do aquaponics so we can grow our own fish and vegetables. How would you feel about having fish for roommates?”
I didn’t have a problem with it, so as Mike wrapped up his final certification from grad school, this slowly took over the laundry room:
Lisa and I have the same spirit. Some days I come home and word-vomit everything that happened that day, the good and bad. Some days she’ll be having a rough time, and ten minutes into her tale she’ll take a deep breath, “I didn’t mean to tell you all that, but it actually feels really good. Thanks for asking.” Occasionally we even make similar senseless comments, such as the standing joke, “It’s free! Like the cheap kind!” Add into that her side business is running painting parties, and she is always happy to have my second cup of weekend coffee, and we hit it off great at our first Skype conversation.
Mike is an engineer and Rubik’s Cube wizard. The aquaponics has mostly been his project, and watching all the math and building that has gone into it has been slightly mind boggling. His work has a 3D printer as well, so I’ve seen a few toys from there, and I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll design a CAD door handle to replace the broken one from the refrigerator. How cool would that be?
I love watching these two interact with their son, as well. This is the first time that I’ve been close with first-time parents, and as they raise Timmy to the best of their ability it’s bringing an awareness of the struggles of that. The day after I moved to Denver, both Lisa and Mike’s parents came to the house, and after the party had ended, I talked to Lisa. It had never dawned on me just how difficult it must be to try to discipline and react to your child with your own parents there to watch every move. Since that time, we’ve talked about other struggles – what is the right way to respond to different situations, how do you react to unwanted advice, when there’s conflicting opinions how do you move forward? Unsurprisingly, these conversations are far beyond parenting and moved into living life, budgeting, making friends, moving, questioning the status quo, working. (Yeah, I like these guys 🙂 )
And the long and short of it? I’ll happily be “Auntie Ka”, but the idea of being “mama” is getting further and further and further from my priority list. You handle potty training, I’ll go find a different sort of tornado!