It's been interesting for me to have a front row seat on the boy point of view. From the first time I was hit with the reality that yes, they are obsessed with their penis from the get go, astonished that they innately knew where it was and that IT MUST BE PROTECTED! as you change their diaper, it's been nothing but a learning experience.
I had a lot of guy friends growing up, and I have a lot of guy friends (but fewer) now as an adult. I thought I had a handle on things.
Until I realized that knowing boys is nothing like living with them.
Whether it's the aversion to bathing that seems to develop the moment you stop administering the baths yourself, or the mystery of the lost sock; the way that one of my boys didn't change his underwear for about a week and saw nothing wrong with that, or the debate over which is worse, silent-but-deadly or bomb-that-rattles-the-windows...I've discovered you just don't know as much as you think you do.
So I watch them. I kiss them, hug them, love them, even if proximity makes my eyes water.
I try to do what I can, for the future women in their lives, guiding, correcting...and hoping.
Hoping that they keep open hearts, and are able to love freely when the time comes, and not be as annoying as the last guy my best friend dated.
I have eagerly awaited the questions about love. Crushes. Girls. Something I know a little about.
I was surprised that my oldest started to confide in me about someone he really likes. (He's usually not so chatty about such affairs.) I let him talk to me, and sometimes I will offer a little advice.
Considering he has not spoken directly to her and has been admiring her from afar for months, I figure a little encouragement couldn't hurt.
"Mijo, why don't you just talk to her? Just be yourself, and say something."
"She's always in a pack. I can't talk to her when she's in a pack. Why are they always in a pack?"
Jokingly, I suggest a wingman. A diversion. A friend willing to take a little heat so he can have a few words.
We'd banter back and forth about this daily, until one day last week, when I mentioned it to Mr W. Since Nolan was around, we both were kinda giving him a hard time, but trying to help him out.
I backed off, so I could listen to Mr W's take on things. "Son, don't worry about it. If a girl wants to talk to you alone, she will come to you. She'll find you. Don't worry about the pack."
Right after the 'is he kidding?' thought flashed across my mind, other thoughts, other snippets and flashes from my past reared their heads. And then I felt myself blanch, right before I started to blush. I felt a little sick.
Surely, it is not that simple.
Oh, but yes, it is.
My husband is a genius. An evil bastard genius. It's always the quiet ones, you know.
It's one thing, afterall, to know you always have your heart on your sleeve; it's quite another to know that all those times when you thought you were being subtle, you were pretty much waving the "I like you LIKE YOU that way" sign above your head. The one with the "nail me" fine print. Nice. Humbling. (I should be relieved, I guess that no one bothers to read fine print. I have to stick with relieved, because 'horrified no one took me up on it' is just too...ugh, the shame...)
At any rate, the boy felt better.
But as of today, he still hasn't talked to her. Wonder what Mack-Daddy has to say about that.
I managed to catch something at dinner about a bet. As in, "bet you a buck...you don't talk to her." I found this amusing, but not as amusing as the story Ryan told me.
Ryan has mentioned a little girl in his class having a crush on him for quite some time now. I've kinda discouraged him thinking that, as they are only second graders, and I figure maybe she just wants to hang out with him; and the other kids are teasing them about it.
Tonight, he was earnest as he said: "Mommy, Shannon has a crush on me. Seriously."
"What makes you think that?"
"She likes me. She follows me around sometimes."
"Really, Mom. And when I ignore her, she's worse and comes around all the time to talk to me. But when I'm nice to her, and talk to her or try to play with her, she doesn't want anything to do with me."
Oh, boy. Well. He's eight. He's got that whole thing figured out. I'm thirty-eight. Apparently, as my memory gears me up for some more embarrassment, I still don't have a clue.
Ignore her = she tries harder
Talk to her = she's gone
As I take note of this, I am stunned by the simplicity. (Are boys/men really like that? Oy. I'm feeling a little sick again.)
"Do you have a crush on her?"
His "NOooo" is so instant, so emphatic, that I had to giggle, exchanging a look with Mr W as he laughed too.
Later, we were out walking, and I asked him about her again. "So, does Shannon have a crush on anyone else?"
"Nope," he says with conviction. "Just me."
"I know she likes me because one time, we were waiting in line, and I came up to her and she saw me coming and she did this to her hair (he flipped imaginary hair back over his shoulders) and looked for something to smash and she found a pine cone and she did this (he wiggles his foot back and forth, wiggling all the way up to his hip, crushing the imaginary pine cone) and that's how I know."
I am struck by how very Olivia Newton-John in "Grease" this move is, except we have a pine cone in place of her cigarette, and I am sure Shannon is not wearing black hot pants.
"Do you think she was smashing things to impress you?"
I believe him. Afterall, she did do the hair flip, that time-honored flirty move used by girls everywhere.
I left him at his friend's house, and went home.
I found Mr W in our room. (he was alone)
Relating the story to him, I flipped my hair about ten times. (flirty girl)
"24 is on in 30 minutes," he reminded me. (I was about to take the dogs out for a walk.)
Subtlety is a waste of time. Hair flipping? Only works on eight year olds. What was I thinking? I should adopt a more direct approach.
Like emblazoning "nail me" on a t-shirt.
No fine print.