Monday, January 15, 2007

I'm a "Big"

A few months ago, I applied to be a "Big Brother" with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. After a very long application process, I was approved and matched with a Little Brother.

In the program, the little brothers are called "Littles" and the big brothers are called "Bigs". Isn't that cute? (I like how Lorraine refers to her 12 year old daughter as "The Child" so I'm going to refer to my little as "The Little")

Well, The Little and I had our first outing together yesterday. He's 12 years old and lives with his mother. We met at our initial meeting with his mom and the social worker last week and had planned our first outing for yesterday.

I was a little nervous as the day approached. I was thinking, "What if the kid hates me? What if we don't have anything to talk about?" I'm sure he was a little apprehensive as well.

He's a pretty quiet kid but his mom said he always is at first and then becomes a real chatter box. I picked him up and had decided to take him to Navy Pier where there are all sorts of amusements. I had in mind to take him to one of those 3D simulator rides since I've always wanted to try one myself.

He was SO quiet the whole time. I tried to ask mostly open-ended questions; those that would require other than a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Mostly, I was met with an 'I dunno.'

He had been on the 3D ride before, so seemed to perk up and enjoy telling me what to expect next. (By the way, the thing is really lame and a total waste of a lot of money).

Even though we left after lunch, I assumed that a 12 year old boy would be hungry so I let him select a place to eat. He snarfed down a deep-dish barbecue chicken pizza and a big bottle of blue Gatorade ("They didn't even have blue Gatorade when I was your age," said I) while I noshed on a salad and a Diet Pepsi.

Even though he was very quiet, I did manage to make him smile a few times. After eating, we went to the botanical gardens there which have these really cool water spurty-things that arc way above your head. I pointed out the shape of the arc, noting that they were parabolic curves and he'd later be plotting them using quadratic equations in high school algebra and he can remember them from Navy Pier.

That was SO uncool.

Then we had ice cream at Ben & Jerry's. There was a little girl in line who was throwing a horrible temper tantrum because they didn't have blue ice cream. We had a good laugh at her.

On the subway, I showed him how to read the subway map, sort of. I also let him teach me how to play Tetris on my cell phone.

I can tell you this: I'm never having kids. It's just way too expensive!

We took the train from his place, took a taxi to-and-from the subway station to Navy Pier where we did the 10-minute ride, had lunch, ice cream and a taxi ride back.

Sixty bucks. Boom.

I got him home at the appointed time. I think we're off to a good start. The kid didn't fall under a moving train, he didn't run away or get caught shoplifting anything, so I'm calling it a success.

I think next time we'll just go ice skating.

Who knows? Maybe someday I'll be helping The Little with his algebra homework and when it comes to quadratic equations, I'll say, "See? Remember that day at Navy Pier? . . . "


At 10:32 PM , Blogger Iwanski said...

You are my idol.

At 2:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me too.

At 12:34 AM , Anonymous MHP :) said...

Dooder, I'm so proud of you--I don't know if I could hack it!! *grin*


Poodle :)

At 9:04 AM , Blogger Kyle said...

Haha, congratulations!

At 12:35 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

a) And I know you know this, but make sure you take it easy with him and yourself. I've no doubt that you will form a very important bond but it'll take time. He'll get there.

2) Kids aren't that expensive. I hardly ever take my kid on multi-stage extravaganzas. When they are your own you just hand 'em some Harry Potter videos and you're good until high school graduation. What's that, maybe $100 bucks, amortized out over 7-8 years? Totally affordable.

At 3:19 PM , Blogger Red7Eric said...

Good on ya, dude. Looking forward to further adventures with The Little.


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