The Jeong-Espinosa Family: Everyone Grows Up Except Mike

When we last left them, Mike was being an asshole, Charlie was being weird about this one kid, and Claudia was drowning herself in juice. She’s also pregnant.

Other than queasiness and morning sickness, pregnant Sims have very few restrictions. Claudia runs around with the lil’ bean nestled securely in the impenetrable barrier formed by her abs, abs that have no risk of splitting as she gives birth. She also won’t have to deal with postpartum depression, postnatal bleeding, incontinence, mommy blogs telling her to eat her placenta, horrific pain, or the risk of dying in childbirth. (Asshole.) Instead, she creates Tumblr-style moods like “pregnant bodybuilder eating doughnuts.”

Cut past a few days of Claudia trying to give the nooboo fetal juice syndrome, and Kendra Jeong-Espinosa is born.

Now, we’ve established that Claudia has a drinking problem, but only vaguely alluded to the reasons why that might be the case. Let’s visit Exhibit A: Claudia, former Miss Universe, interrupting her workout twice, once to feed the baby, and once to change her diaper. Where’s Mike? Taking a siesta right next to the screaming baby.

Clockwise from right bicep: Blizzard, Claudia, Viper, Kendra

Claudia used to spend her day gardening, cooking, and then head off to the gym to work as a personal trainer. She went to the gym so often, all the actual personal trainers are her exes. She went to the gym so often, all the young adults in my game look like this:

They’re also all super-good dancers. For those of you who don’t play The Sims 4, when a lot is loaded, it’s also seeded with 10-20 NPCs. These guys were called to fill the lot every time Claudia went to the gym, which was every day. Newcrest is now mostly grotesquely muscular people.

But now, her top priority is her family. The old Claudia is dead. So what’s a girl to do?

The same thing anyone else would.

Meanwhile, Charlie is out alone in the wilderness somewhere.

He’ll be fine.

Charlie was never a rambunctious kid. He’s been a great helper to his dad, providing moral support for rocket building and occasionally beating him at chess. Fishing gives Charlie something to mentally focus on when his dad’s outside the house—it doesn’t hurt that he loves seafood, either. The only problem is that no one will join him.

He’ll get the chance to work on the rocket soon. It’s his birthday!

The problem with planning a child’s birthday party is that the only person who knows the child’s friends is the child themself, who is not allowed to plan the party; leaving the party planning to the parents, who don’t know any of the child’s friends. Charlie can’t invite Elsa or Max or even Cruz to his birthday party. But he’s in luck! Their close family friends have a kid, and as long as everyone can ignore the extremely messy divorce that happened less than a week ago, everything will be fine!

Aileen clearly wrote the book/Buzzfeed article on Shirts to Wear to a Child’s Birthday Party to Remind Your Ex-Husband What He’s Missing:

Looking real sharp!
From top down: SEVERE emotional discomfort, gloating, total obliviousness. Hi dad! Come to think of it, why do Sims hired as entertainers always pick the object they have the lowest skill in? Xiyuan was a professional musician and there’s both a piano and violin in the goddamn room. Shu would probably be less entertained if he were actually listening to the jokes.

Finally, Charlie blows out the candles on his special cake, rainbow glowies surround him while he floats, and he immediately gets upstaged again!

Classic younger sibling move, they always want to do what you’re doing at the exact same time.
Just ignore conservation of mass and shoot up to your parents’ height instantaneously

Welcome to puberty, please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle and try not to get a boner in class!

Charlie, perhaps unsurprisingly, grew into the Nerd Brain aspiration, giving him the quarternary trait Quick Learner. He also earned a love for the outdoors. In short, he’s going to be one of those 60-year-old scientists who tears his ACL and is off in two weeks riding his bike twenty miles to a conference.

Here he is post-makeover.

This is the outfit every teenage nerd wears. I have that shirt in white, so this is really more of a self-roast than anything else.

Charlie gets a new room to match his nature-loving personality, with a microscope, work bench, bookshelf, and fish tank. He also gets the upstairs to himself and a private bathroom.

Spot the tissues next to the bed.

Now Kendra!

Yikes. I was planning on making her weird anyway. Thanks for agreeing with me, GAME.
Take two—poofball with the curse of the big hair!

Both Jeong-Espinosa children are starting to acclimate into their new roles. It’s often interesting to see what the AI decides to pick up on—for example, here we have Charlie, not in the mood to write jokes at all, thinking about doing something that fits his personality more. Yet, he decides on his own to write jokes, just like his father did several years ago.

Very interesting. Hey! Your dad decided to pay attention to your mom for once!

Kendra is a constant delight. I’m not generally a fan of toddlers, but she’s like a prodigy for being weird.

Claudia’s been taking on the bulk of the toddler care again. Oh, she truly loves her children, of course, but sometimes she just needs to leave it all behind. She can’t go out anymore. She can’t drop everything to party all night like she used to. So what does she do to relax? Mix drinks. And now Kendra’s checking out the area.

Don’t do it. Don’t end up like Mommy.

We still have two Sims in this family with a rock-solid relationship. MJ and Claudia definitely don’t fight, they get along great, and they haven’t run into anybody else in their world better suited to themselves. And yet, while we’ve collected some evidence that Claudia might be deeply unhappy with the way her life turned out, let’s talk about Mike.

Mike has always been a fun guy. That’s what attracted Claudia to him in the first place. He’s Gregarious due to his popularity aspiration, and Self-Assured, which makes him a great conversationalist. But is Self-Assured really a positive trait to have?

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and, given the way he acts, Mike barreled over it without anyone realizing.

boop tiny guitar

Mike has maxed out more skills and completed more aspirations than anybody else—but how? By only doing the fun parts of parenting and leaving Claudia do most of the work. Here he is, reinventing himself again. (Going out to do BUSINESS every weekday is far more hours than any other top-level career.)

No wonder Claudia drinks; the closest person to her in the world is too focused on himself to talk about her problems, let alone notice them, and making the natural decision to marry him is what put her into the situation in the first place. How was she supposed to know? In the context of normal Sims gameplay, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Mike. In a real relationship, he would be a nightmare. But! He’s still a Sim, and Sims are idiots.

Welcome to the Millennial Club, please try to remember pants next time.

Charlie is feeling heteronormative social pressures to go out and find a partner and stuff. Unfortunately, I am also an idiot, and tried to force him to talk to Yuki for a full two hours before realizing she was behind a locked club door. Charlie somehow knew the door was locked without even looking, or trying, and from several yards away.

Coffee, the lifeblood of all academic pursuits

Hopefully he won’t strike out too many times. Ah well, go play chess with your dad, that’s cute.

Does nobody in this universe ever let their child win at chess?

Meanwhile, Claudia is going bonkers with the amount of work required to get a toddler to level 5 in all skills before the end of the week. Her two best friends also got a divorce! She’s worried sick, and the only cure is details. Stat!

“How was I supposed to know I wasn’t MALE or DEAD enough for him?!”
“That’s horrible! Tell me more.”
“I’m trying, but there are no good men in this town!”
“Don’t get me started, love.”

Yet, as everyone knows, there are two sides to every story, so the only way to win is to play BOTH SIDES. Hence Sporty/Posh Spice spa day.

“I feel awful, but it was the right thing to do to avoid more pain for both of us.”
“Uh, maybe don’t say that to Aileen.”

What’s Mike doing while his best friends need emotional support? Well…

Recall that my Sims never perform mean or mischievous interactions under my watch, so this Gustavo thing came out of nowhere. He does seem hella cheesed about whatever happened.

We’re reaching the end of hellish toddler boot camp. Here’s Kendra getting her last darned skill point. I had to Groundhog-Day her last 12 hours as a toddler, using harvestables, to get it.

thank fuck it’s over

Thankfully, it’s time for Kendra’s birthday! Charlie knows some kids, so he threw the party, but secretly sabotaged it by inviting the whole now-defunct Liu family again.

Bottom-left Charlie is happy his sister’s birthday party was ruined by being as awkward as his was.

Kendra is a dream come true. If there’s one thing I enjoy more than giving my Sims expansive out-of-game identities, it’s when they themselves unexpectedly develop a strong personality. What’s magical here is the AI perfectly matching my idea of who Kendra is—her first two actions as a child are to play with her monster doll, and to side-eye the absolute stuffing out of Shu. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried.

Kendra gets a look stronger than most adults are comfortable pulling off, and to finally go to sleep.

That’s what the androgynous trend needs—green and orange knee socks.

Watching these two grow up is going to be interesting, that’s for sure.

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