Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Becoming a familiar

"Help me Connor!" the little girl called to me. At that point, I knew I had officially been adopted. Connor. It has a nice ring to it. Rolls off the tongue better than Curtis, especially if you're 2 and a half years old.

The girl, Scout, is the daughter of a woman who may or may not be my girlfriend. We're at that awkward stage in new relationships where things either blow up or settle down, and the goodbyes stop being a mishmash of half hugs, quick pats on the back, and accidental headbutts and start being kisses and worried reflection... was that too much? Not enough? Scout was the girl who was shy around me last post, and yesterday evening started out looking like more of the same.

We planned to go out to Magic Mountain, a great place for tots to jump and climb, and bang buttons on various video games. When everyone arrived at my house and we were loading Scout up to the car for the trip, she still eyeballed me suspiciously and looked worried, but settled down during the ride, no doubt noticing mom and I getting along and chatting cheerfully. When we got to Magic Mountain, Scout is taking mom's hand while walking in, and subtly throws her other hand up for me to hold. Naturally, I take it. And smile ear to ear.

The play area has a giant truck with climbing tubes for the smaller kids to play in, which is less daunting than the two and a half storey nest of tubes and tunnels that the elementary school kids play in. Scout eagerly climbed in and explored, and eventually got lost and upset, and called to mommy for help. Mom peeks in one of the windows reassuringly, and gives Scout a hint of which way to go, and she figured out how everything was laid out, and was fine. With her new knowledge of the truck's topography, and wielding the adult summoning spell in her collection of scrolls, she decided to get "lost" again, and to summon me for help instead of mommy.

"Help me Connor!" I am 6'4" and not very flexible for purposes like fitting into toddlers' climbing toys, but I somehow managed to snake my way through a few twists and turns to find little Scout, who smiled at me as I helped lower her down one platform, whereupon she quickly made her escape from the bigtoy deathtrap. A few minutes later, as I finally wrenched and scooted myself back out the way I came in -- why is that always the hard part? -- we decided to go on to bigger and better things, like Ski-ball and dinner at Arby's. Somewhere during all that, Scout decided it was OK for me to pick her up and carry her, and she gave me the biggest complement a toddler can, by resting her head against my shoulder contentedly as I carried her back in the house.

So I'm adopted now, one of her familiars. Life is good. Thanks, little princess.

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