Well, it’s been over a month now since the Little Miss has begun her school journey and all I can say is this: She is in love. Like, really in love. With a boy.
The object of her affection is a cute little red-haired boy named Peter, and I’m pretty sure it was love at first sight. At least we started hearing about him from Day One.
“He has these orange eyebrows and they’re just so, so cute!” she’d say. Or, “Peter is just sooooo funny!” Or, “Guess what Peter did today!”
Whenever somebody asks her how school is going, she’ll tell them about Peter.
“I’m so, so totally in love with him,” she’ll say emphatically.
Every day when I pick her up, anticipating stories of what she learned or what she did, I’ll hear stories about Peter instead. How funny he is, what he said, what he did, how he chased the girls on the playground.
From the beginning, I really wasn’t getting a picture of what was going on day-to-day in the classroom. Other than what Peter was doing, of course. I knew that Peter used the blue scissors one day to cut out his triangles. (OK, so they’re cutting shapes.) I knew that he told a funny joke in Spanish class. (“Oh, you went to Spanish today?”)
I figured I’d have a better idea of her day after attending the school’s Curriculum Night, which is when the parents go to the classroom and listen to the teacher talk about classroom expectations and what lies ahead.
So there we were a few days later, squished in the kindergarten-size chairs, listening to the teacher talk about the daily schedule, how bright all the children are, how she can barely keep up with the speed at which they want to learn, etc. Then she started talking about how all the children have been bringing in so many interesting shapes from home, and I’m all, huh? The Little Stinker Miss never told us she was supposed to do that! She went on to say that one boy even brought in an article from Architectural Digest that showed the most interesting shapes!
OK, that’s it. I felt like the biggest slacker, and we are not slacker parents.
I nudged Hubby, and whispered, “She didn’t tell us she was supposed to do that! But we sure do know all about Peter!” Of course, I said this quietly, seeing as Peter’s mom was sitting across the tiny table from us.
I am and always have been a school-rule follower, an extra-credit doer even when I have an A+ in the class, and well, yes, I sort of expect my kids to be kind of the same. So if they were told to bring in shapes from home, well by golly, we’re going on a hunt for the coolest, most obscure shapes and they’ll be in the backpack before night’s end.
But no, she didn’t say a word about it.
Oh, we’re so going to have a talk when we get home.
Sitting in that classroom, I felt like we were in the middle of an Everybody Loves Raymond episode. I never really watched that show, but the few times I did, it always seemed to showcase them failing as parents. And there we were. Failing as parents.
All because of Peter.
In fact, I almost raised my hand and said, “Um, we didn’t know anything about this. Was there something sent home about this?”
Except I had already raised my hand about 26 times to ask questions, undoubtedly earning the title of That Annoying Mom. I wasn’t about to become That Clueless Annoying Mom, too.
As soon as we got home, I asked Little Miss if she was supposed to bring in some shapes from home.
“No,” she said. And then a few seconds later: “Did you tell Peter’s mom that he’s the cutest boy in the class?”
“No, of course not!” I said.
And she was disappointed! “Awwww, why not?” she said.
We went through this same thing with Twin B when she was this age, with yet another redhead, only his name was Reed. While doing a deep clean of her room recently, we unearthed a note that had the words, “I ♥ REEB” scrawled across it in her backwards kindergarten writing. Today’s seventh-grade version of her just slapped her forehead with embarrassment and crumpled it up. That should be reassurance to me that Little Miss, too, will get over this crush in time and focus more on her kindergarten studies.
And while I don’t want to encourage this infatuation, I also don’t want to tell her to “not like” someone. After all, she sees something in this boy and it’s kind of sweet. Curious if this crush was two-sided, I asked her one day, “Does Peter seem to like you as much as you like him?”
“Well, when I hug him, he says, ‘Stop that!’ and runs away,” she says with a laugh. “But then Clara tells me to keep doing it anyway so I do! He doesn’t like when I hug him at all!”
Mmm hmm. Ya think?
That prompted a little talk about respecting people’s personal space, and that if he doesn’t want her to touch him or hug him, she shouldn’t. (Wait, as a mother of three daughters, shouldn’t I be having this talk the other way around?)
“But his hair is just so cute, I can’t help touching it. Can’t I rub his head?” she asked.
She told me that during story time on the carpet, she likes to sit by him and then demonstrated how she scoots her head under his face so that she could look up at his “cute, cute eyes.”
Oh, my. I’m waiting any day for a phone call or email from the teacher saying that this has become a problem.
Last night as I was giving her a bath, we had an interesting little conversation.
“Tomorrow for school, will you do my hair in a bun, but not all the way up, like Belle’s?” she asked me as I washed her hair.
“OK,” I said, thinking the hairstyle idea must’ve been inspired by the tea party we’d just had with all her Disney Princess dolls.
“Because then I think Peter might say I look cute!” she said, with that adorable chubby-cheeked smile and giggle she gets when she, well, talks about Peter.
Oh man, is she setting herself up for a day of disappointment, is what I’m thinking.
“I will do your hair like that, but don’t be surprised if Peter doesn’t say anything because boys don’t really notice those things,” I said.
“They just don’t,” I said.
Keep in mind, this is about 8:30 p.m., the time when moms are just sooooo tired and just trying to get through the nightly duties.
“But why?” she persisted.
“Because boys are just different. They don’t notice those things, and if they do, they don’t always say so, now come on let’s get out and get dried off and put your pajamas on and brush your teeth and pick your story so you can go to bed.”
There. No room for questions.
“When we have a wedding, we’re gonna hug and kiss, right?”
Now it was my turn for the questions.
“When who has a wedding?” I said, blowing right past the hugging and kissing part.
“Me and Peter,” she said.
“Peter and I,” I corrected. “Wait, now you’re going to marry him? We’re talking about a wedding?”
“Yeah,” she says, with the Peter smile. “But I don’t think he’s gonna be too happy about that.”
“Why not?” I ask, wondering if maybe, just maybe she picked up on his nonverbal communication cues that I picked up on when I visited her at lunch one day. As in, he shirked away from her as she attempted to reach for him. And then the shirking turned to running. Away. Fast.
“Because he doesn’t like hugging,” she said. “And I don’t think he’ll like kissing at all. I think he’ll run away as fast as he can,” she said with a laugh.
The girl is 5, and yet she could be writing articles about committment-fearing men for Cosmo.
Last Friday, I went through her school folder and found a blank white envelope. It was an invitation to Peter’s birthday party, obviously handed out to the whole class.
“Oh, you got a birthday party invitation to Peter’s party,” I said.
“Whaat??” she shriek-inhaled, then ran squealing through the house as if I just told her Justin Bieber was at our front door. (Yes, unfortunately, she has a little crush on him, too. Who is this child?)
Immediately, she began working on a card for him. The party was weeks away and no one even said she was going but that boy was getting a card from her.
She gave it to him on Monday, after which he said, “Is that for me?” and then turned to his friend and said matter-of-factly, “She’s in love with me! I really think she is!”
She thought that was hilarious and repeated the story several times that evening.
Recently in the middle of the night, I heard her calling out to me that she had to go to the bathroom. Blearily, I stumbled to her room to assist her. As she stood there washing her hands, she chatted on loudly, as if it were 1:30 in the afternoon instead of the morning, like it was.
“When I get home from school tomorrow, I’m going to make Peter a picture with Legos and crayons!” she said cheerily.
“OK,” I said, trying to mentally process Legos and crayons, Legos and crayons? Huh? Is she making him something with Legos? Or with crayons? Is she making Legos out of crayons? Or crayons out of Legos? Oh, forget it, it’s too late for this.
But sure enough, on the way home, she said, “As soon as I get home, I’m going to change out of my uniform because my rump always feels hot in it, then I’m going to wash my hands, get a drink, and make Peter a picture of Legos with crayons.”
Oh, so I wasn’t dreaming. Here’s what she drew:
That’s Little Miss, lounging atop the Legos, and that’s Peter on the right in his red uniform shirt, and then there’s a mouse.
While she was drawing it, more details of her day began to emerge, which is what usually happens.
“Hannah and I got into an argument at lunch today,” she said.
“Why did you argue?” I asked.
“Because she said that she was going to marry Peter and I said that I was going to marry him!”
Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. Now we’re fighting with our girlfriends over this boy? Sheesh, when they say kids are growing up too fast, they’re not kidding!
“You and Hannah are going to change your minds about a thousand times on that in your lifetime so don’t even worry about,” I said. “Besides, Peter might not even want to marry either one of you!”
Without skipping a beat, Little Miss said, “Yeah, he might want to just marry his self! He might want to just hug his self and kiss his self!”
Wow, this girl’s got it all figured out already. Forget phonics and shape cutting! She’s got an article to write for Cosmo right now. Better yet, I hear Oprah is leaving…