After aikido, Ryan gets a little sticker for participating. He always gets one. Then he comes out of class, and hands it to me or puts it right on my shirt, every time.
I have to keep it on, until I change for the night, or else he gets a little offended. It's just one of those little gestures that became a habit and is now a ritual.
As I sat there waiting for them the other night, I was talking to Remo over Audrey's head, amidst her interjections, trying to hang onto my chain of thought. I swear, Remo gets a medal for being able to have conversations with me that get to the middle, shift to another topic altogether; then get interrupted as he stops to answer whatever question whichever random child of mine has posed to him, then pick up the original half-finished thought I started with without going "huh?" (Or at the very least, he is gracious enough to pretend to know what I'm talking about.) It's like I exhibit a form of adult ADD, trying to talk with the kids swirling around.
All of a sudden, here comes Ryan, down the hallway, hand out in front of him, finger extended. He headed straight for me, and thrust his little hand out under my nose.
Naturally, instantly, instinctively, I recoiled.
He looked at me, all offended. "Mooom-- I'm trying to give you your sticker."
I looked down at his finger, and sure enough, there was a sticky-side up tiny star on his finger.
I felt bad. But I started laughing, and clasped him carefully by the shoulders, so he wouldn't drop it.
I realized, just then, you know you are the mother of boys when you can say this:
"Son, I'm sorry. I thought it was a booger."