Kid Tested

Put children first in the dating equation.

By Paget Pizitz

First, I want to preemptively apologize now for the brevity of this column, as I already know it is going to be short and sweet but, as always, rarely to the point. Perhaps some of you will breathe a sigh of relief knowing my words for April will be kept to a minimum. Between slinging grilled cheese for MELT food truck and attempting to sew a Hannibal Lecter–style straight jacket for Louis the cat, what can I say; it’s been a busy month. Because I am rarely home these days, Louis has some extra free time on his paws and has adopted a few new yet quite impressive bad habits. Most recently, he figured out how to turn the sinks on by himself. Having no opposable thumbs, I am actually quite impressed with his manual dexterity. At this point, I’ve decided to let this demon feline do whatever he damn well pleases and just hope that I stay out of his way. You never know when he might decide to experiment with ritualistic killing and offer me up as a human sacrifice. He looks like a sweet little Siamese, but inside, there lurks a monster.  So for now, I sleep with the bedroom door bolted and one eye open.

As a single woman in my 20s, my concerns about dating were vastly different than they are as a single woman in my 30s. For instance, when I was 22, I just wanted a guy who didn’t sleep with his mattress directly on the floor, didn’t have any sort of vermin infestation and cohabited with less than six roommates. As time has passed and life has changed, so have my requirements for potential suitors. I am too tired this month to even try to pull one over on you and play this off as something that happened to my friend’s second cousin twice removed, from her father’s side. This one folks is all mine. As we get older and more variables are involved, so do the elements of dating.

For example, if you are dating and have young children, the game changes completely. Personally, I have never dated someone with very young children. I tend to only date those who are on anti-psychotics and have been advised by medical professionals against having any off spring. However, after recently dating someone with young children, I have a totally new perspective on the situation. Let your children get to know the person you are dating in small doses until they begin to ask questions about him or her on their own. At the risk of sounding like a fortune cookie, patience now can be a great asset later.

Without painting a specific scenario, let me just caution you against showing signs of immediate physical affection toward your date in front of your child. I had assumed this was common sense, but yet again, I continue to be amazed with how unaware some people can be. Here are some ground rules for introducing your partner to your children. First, go into it with no expectations and remember that you can’t force anything. Telling your children you have to like someone almost ensures your child may try to spike your date’s drink with Drano. Have the initial encounters take place in a group setting. Use your common sense on this one folks; don’t invite your date over for movies and popping corn right out of the gate. A group setting gives your children the chance to get to know your partner in a fun and relaxed, non–pressured atmosphere.  Third, slow down speed racer. Remember, you might think you are head over heels in love but your children need time to adjust to this situation. Fourth, reassure your children that they have just one mom and one dad and no one is going to replace either of them. It may not be the best idea to refer to your lady friend as “mommy two” on the second date. This is the mother ship of all red flags and if this happens; strap on your Dr. Scholl’s and head directly for the hills.  Last, remember that your number one priority is the happiness and comfort of your children. Let me riddle you this last bit of fleeting wisdom, exercise your common sense (assuming you have a shred of it) and do what is in the best interest for your children.

As we part for this month, I want to wish you all a happy April. If you have received a medium sized UPS box that growls, April Fool’s, it’s Louis the cat. I took the liberty of duct–taping his paws for you. I suggest you keep him that way and I hope you have the fire department on speed dial. •

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