Tabbatha is going to be out of town next weekend, so since her usual babysitter will be caring for her son for three full days, she figures it's best to not push it this weekend. In other words, she told me, of I want to go out with her this weekend, Paul will be coming along.
This is significant because it forces me to deal with it: If I want to date Tabbatha, if I want her to be part of my life, I have to let Paul be part of my life, too. And while I don't think I'm terrible with kids, I admit I tend to feel a little awkward around them. And this particular kid, of course, could become a very important part of my life.
Our date--if that's the right word--last night was basically this: They showed up at my apartment, Paul started playing games on the computer, Tabbatha and I watched this week's House which I had taped for her, then we went out to eat.
On the way, Paul started singing how much he loves Mommy, how much he loves Daddy. "You love Daddy?" Tabbatha asked, somewhay incredulously. "I love New Daddy!" "New Daddy?"
"Edward! Bcause Edward's going to marry Mommy!"
"Oh," I cut in, "you'll have to ask Mommy about that." Tabbatha laughed.
We got to the restaurant--Bennigan's, the sort of place I'd normally make fun of, but I must admit, they make a good Monte Cristo--and Paul insisted on sitting beside me in the booth. (Which was good, later on, because it meant it was easier for me to steal bites of his ice cream.)
At one point, Tabbatha asked Paul, out of nowhere, to name his favorite baseball team. "The Yankees!" he said proudly.
"You told him to say that!" she yelled at me in mock indignation.
"What? No! When?" (Honestly, I hadn't told him to say that, but when he did, I almost broke into a victory dance.)
"Okay, let's try this again," she said. "Who's your favorite baseball team?"
I was crushed. "You just said the Yankees."
"I like them both."
"Oh no, that's not possible."
I then proceeded to lecture a seven year old on New York baseball arcana. Later, when I thought about it, I realized that sharing sports trivia is one of the stereotypical ways for fathers to bond with sons. Technically, my trivia was more about New York than about sports, but still...
Dinner continued, we went back to my place. Tabbatha insisted on checking her MySpace site before Paul could continue playing games--Kids today with their crazy blogs and web pages!--so he and I hung out with cats and looked through old photos so he could see what I looked like before I started shaving my head. While plowing through all the pictures, which included lots of photos of cats, he was struck by a picture of my much-missed, much-beloved kitty Pinback. "That looks like Delmar!" he said.
"Yeah, she kind of acted like Delmar, too."
"You mean kind of mean and kind of dorky?"
I laughed. "Exactly like that."
Then he got back on the computer--the Disney Channel site--and Tabbatha and I sprawled on the bed, talking, snuggling, relaxed, interrupted only occasionally by Paul asking a question. ("How do you spell 'stinky'?") After an hour or two, we pried him off the computer and they went home.
But as she laid on the bed, Tabbatha was so tired she almost fell asleep, and if she had, I wonder if Paul would have eventually curled up with her, with the cats and me laying beside them, almost like...well, almost like a family.