I took SN's advice about coming up with a specific proposal for watching Bee -- one month of me taking off one weekday a month -- and brought it up to Gia on the lazy Saturday afternoon that we spent together this past weekend. Her response was that they think they can get Liza (their MILF friend that Eric has been hooking up with) to take on Bee's daycare needs, which will be really helpful to her since she could use extra cash. She said that I could help by filling in if there's an emergency, even though I cautioned her that it's hard for me to take off work without notice.
I finally asked Gia if she's interested at all in Liza, which has remained a faint, back-of-the-mind insecurity. She said that 1) no, she's not interested, and 2) Liza is completely straight anyway. Ha! I can't believe I didn't just ask earlier.
We talked online today and we finally set up a once-a-month recurring babysitting evening for me and Bee, so that she and Eric can go out. She now has two people committed to doing this, as our friend Bill has also volunteered, and she has two more friends she plans to ask, which would give them one night free per week and would actually lead to she and I having real, regular date nights again!!
During the course of the convo, I long-windedly reiterated that I won't be able to do the last minute fill-in thing often and she got a little exasperated, asking why I kept going over that point while simultaneously saying she should feel free to ask me... what was I trying to say?
I took a deep metaphorical breath and laid it all out on the table, saying that what was driving my words was something I hadn't felt comfortable expressing quite straightforwardly... that I really wanted to spend more time with Bee and that, as irrational as it is since I can't handle of all his daycare needs, I've been jealous of the women who've gotten the opportunity to do so. And I've been scared to ask for more time with him when it wasn't for a serious need of theirs or at their request, because I've felt unsure of my place in his life. I basically want to co-parent but haven't brought it up in those terms because 1) it's not really feasible now anyway, and 2) it might seem like too much to be offering, like it would be somehow intimidating or inappropriate for me to want that.
Gia explained again that they need someone who can reliably and consistently cover the two days of daycare he needs per week (which I knew), but said that she'd be happy to have me more involved and that one way I could do that would be to come over during the week on one of the days that she or Eric is home with him and just hang out, allowing them to be with their child but also to get work done around the house and keep things in better order. I said that sounded like a really good idea. We may also set up a second monthly recurring babysitting night for me, after they've had a chance to adjust to this new schedule and see how it's going. One concern for them is that they actually don't want to spend too much time away from their child, even if they do have the offers to babysit, because the time is just so precious.
She also said, in regards to co-parenting, that she didn't think it was something Eric would ever be down for. This is what I would have guessed... he can be so private and insular, I just can't imagine him thinking of an outside person as a third parent to his child without some radical changes to his thinking or a LOT more time and involvement. Opening up to one person, Gia, took so long for him, and he seems to be happy to leave it at that when it comes to his internal, emotional life. Add to that the fact that he's so fiercely and fully bonded to her and to Bee, and clearly puts that family unit miles above any other person or concern, and it becomes hard to see that mindset softening into something less rigid. Those are my musings on the matter, anyway.
Any time I begin to drift into triadic daydreams about Gia and Eric, like the idea of living with them at some point, I can just stop and remind myself exactly who Eric is and I come back to earth. Maybe he could open up, some day, but it's not worth expecting or pining for. I'm proud of how much more realistic I've become about this fact.
All that said, Gia told me that she thinks of the whole co-parenting concept much more fluidly than that. She pointed out that regular care-taking IS basically co-parenting, just without the making of life decisions.
Phew. It was an intense conversation, to be sure. I was glad to have it all out in the open, and grateful to her for taking the time to work through it with me. I *almost* brought up the whole "I think of us as family" discussion in the midst of it all, but I thought better of it. One heavy topic at a time. And I still don't feel like it's the right time for that... I have a need to talk about most issues, but some things ought to be given their own time to mature and just be what they are, and I think this is one of them. Note also all the stuff I said above about Eric and the way he is. If some sort of formal, verbal declaration of relation is something I don't think he can give me any more than he could tell me he loves me, then why force him into the position of rejecting me? Especially when I feel treated with great consideration and fairness in my position In their lives?
There's just one more thing to be resolved at the moment on this front. It actually occurred to me while I was writing this. I want very much for Gia and Eric to have "adult alone time" together in their house on a regular basis... in other words, I want them to be able to get it on, which I know is waaay hard for them when Bee is around. In theory, I could facilitate that by watching Bee. But in reality, I think I wouldn't be able to handle it if, say, I were down the street at the diner watching Bee while they were intimate, like Eric did for me, or god forbid if I were in the living room while they were in the bedroom. Not while Gia and I still don't have that. I would just freak out. :/
So, I need to set a boundary about that. No sex while I'm babysitting *unless* I'm taking Bee to my house, which I think somehow would make it ok for me. Hard to explain, but I'm pretty sure that would be alright. Wow, a for-real boundary! I feel like such a poly grown-up... and I am SO fucking frustrated that things are still at this point.
I understand why it's this way, and I know that I'm doing the right thing for both Gia and myself by continuing to invest in this relationship and being patient, but I'm worried I won't be able to do this indefinitely. Hopefully, it won't be too much longer.
I honestly somehow thought this would be a fairly short post. Hah! Fat chance. More later on my conversation with Davis.