Allie has not seen the thing for 3 years which means, the last time she saw him, she was 2 years old. Obviously she doesn't remember (she does remember seeing snow for the first time that year, but I guess the thing didn't make the same big impression on her). I almost never talk about him, but when I do and she's near, I refer to him as 'the thing' (in fact, I always refer to him as 'the thing, whether she's there or not), so she wouldn't even recognise his name.
When I took her to kindergarten the first day, I was nervous about the questions which would arise when all the other kids talk about their daddies. I decided to tell her about him when she asks, but I wasn't sure yet what to say. I spoke to her teacher about it so that she wouldn't ask her questions such as "What does your Daddy do?" and other things relating to her 'daddy'. She was just two at the time. She's been in the same kindergarten ever since, and every year she gets a new teacher. All the teachers knows about our situation, so I never had to tell each teacher our story. Still today she hasn't asked about her Dad.
I have to say that I think the fact that we stay with my parents never made her feel that she is missing a family member. When she started kindergarten, she started copying me and called my father 'Daddy' a few times. I guess when the other kids talked about their daddies, she figured that she also has one at home. She also goes to the mall and park with me and my boyfriend who she loves (and he absolutely adores her too, I might add). So, it's always the three of us, just like when she sees her friends with their parents. She and Jake gets along really well. He is very athletic (and I'm very NOT), so he teaches her all the ball skills and other sport stuff. She calls him Jakey. So I guess that between my Dad and Jake, she has enough father figures anyway.
This year, her new teacher probably forgot about our situation and asked the kids to draw a picture about 'Mommy and Daddy". When Allie told me, I was worried that it upset her because she wouldn't have known what to draw. I asked her what she drew and she gave me this look which I read as 'Duh, what type of question is that?' and she said to me, "Helooo! I drew you and Jakey!"
We never told her what a 'Daddy' is or what he is supposed to do. We also didn't tell her that Jake would one day be her daddy when we get married. I think she just figured on her own what a Daddy is supposed to do, and decided that Jake is just that. I must say, except that Jake doesn't live with us, he definitely acts as a daddy (and a real good one, I might add). I never asked him to do that, just like I didn't ask Allie to accept him as one. I guess they just 'clicked'.