Friday, June 06, 2008

The terrible threes(ome)

M is a sweet and pretty little girl at Xan's school who apparently is relatively shy and reserved, often plays by herself.

That is, unless my son is involved.

Xan had a hitting incident with me this morning (for which he was reprimanded with some stern words and a three-year-old lecture on the perils of hitting, particularly the perils of hitting me). When I brought him to school, another kid came up to hit him while I was there. I was proud that he didn't hit back right away and mentioned this morning's incident to one of his teachers. "Oh yeah," she said, "it's his new thing, the hitting. He's definitely in that rambunctious phase." We've known this for a while: don't let anyone tell you anything about the "terrible twos," which I now think is a completely myth -- it's the threes you have to worry about (and Ange's Mom said she was the worst at four so I guess it could get worse). His teachers mentioned, however, that this new bravado turned out to be a good thing in another way: apparently, his current wild-man phase has been pulling M out of her shell a bit, since she adores him and will happily follow him around, even doing some naughty things herself because he did them. This is actually a good thing for her, according to the teachers, since they would like her to mix things up a bit. So while they are not letting him get away with everything, secretly they are pleased about the residual effect on M.

Anyway, Xan went over to M's house yesterday for a play date after school and they had a great time. This evening was the school potluck and M's mother sat next to me while the kids were supposed to be doing this group exercise thing in the campus amphitheater; my kid, meanwhile, was running around the back part of the plant area. "Look," M's mother said, pointing to her daughter who was running after him with the biggest grin on her face. "She is so smitten with him. I think she has a crush."

I had seen this a little earlier, when the two of them went off together to play on the playground and then she followed him to the tricycles. He had pedaled away and she was standing there. "Would you like to ride as well?" I asked her. She shook her head and said simply, "I don't know how to ride the tricycle yet." (This is totally understandable: Xan has only just learned, and through much determined effort because of his neverending obsession with wheels.) I watched him ride away with me and her standing there, looking after him. And she had that look in her eyes that said, Wow, he is just so cool. I thought to myself, Oh my goodness, I think M totally has a crush on my kid. This is so freaking adorable. Except, male that he is, he isn't really noticing at all. Typical guy.

I mentioned some of this to M's mother, who laughed. I looked back at the kids and at M running after Xan, trying to get his attention. But at that point, I noticed he was doing the same thing -- only not with M. I turned to M's mother and said, "M may have a crush on Xan, but right now it looks like Xan has a crush on R" -- one of the twin boys in his class, who Xan was indeed chasing after and imitating, no matter than R was trying his best to ignore him. In an exact parallel of what was happening with M.

For a moment, I realized with some surprise that this was mimicking the plotline of Threesome, a movie with Lara Flynn Boyle, Stephen Baldwin and Josh Charles that isn't all that great but that I still have an affection for, maybe because in 1994 I identified with it a bit too much when I saw it (and that is all of that story any of you people need to know, thank you very much). Still, all we need is for R to have unrequited affection for M, and then they go to college and...

No, no. No.

Still, it's incredibly cute to see what seems to be the first crush. (Just don't tell Jolie. Seriously. M doesn't stand a chance.)

2 comments:

jenny said...

hee. only you would compare the antics of kids to that movie. which has a fantastic soundtrack, by the way (although the covers of dancing barefoot and make me smile are not my favorites). and that wonderful pre-religious-freak stephen baldwin discourse on sex and pizza.

i bet you empathized with the cold pizza analogy. am i right? am i?

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