Two Peas in a Pod

Yesterday, my son got more positive behavior points from his teacher than any other kid in class. I wasn’t planning on taking him out to dinner, but I felt he needed something a little special for good behavior. I offered to reheat his favorite pizza, which I have at home in the freezer, but he said he wanted to go to B-spot, so off we went. This is about the last place for someone who is trying to lose weight to go, but I managed to only eat a few onion rings – and for that, I have a zit today. This is what you get when you eat healthy for weeks at a time – you break protocol, you’re instantly punished.

I was thinking last night how we’ve finally reached an age where things are much less panicky for me in going to a restaurant with him. While he’s still an antsy little kid, like his mother, isn’t always able to 100% of the time keep his voice down to a reasonable level, it’s a lot better than it was when he was a constantly-screaming baby or a really angry and fussy toddler, where meals in restaurants were like a game of Beat the Clock, trying to get food in and the visit wrapped up before a bomb exploded. B-spot is also fairly loud and bustling, so it’s a good place for us to go.

He’s unconventional, my kid. His favorite thing to do at B-spot is make up funny names from the letters in the word search. He doesn’t want to actually DO the word search, he wants to string together letters and then we call each other by names like ZTHLAM or WLIXR and crack up. In the midst of all of this, a Mom with 3 kids – 2 girls and a boy – sat down at the table next to us.

It was like Cupid’s arrow hit my son. He kept STARING and STARING at the younger of the two girls, a cute little blonde child maybe a year older. He likes blondes, for sure. It’s hard to know what the right thing is to do here. I’m acutely aware I am raising a boy who needs to understand how to respect and admire women, but he’s also a really little kid, so what to do. I finally said something to the mother, apologizing for my son staring. She knew what was going on and we both laughed about it. He started clowning and acting up, trying to get her attention, and I pointed out that wasn’t the way to get her attention, by misbehaving. He wouldn’t quit staring, so I asked which one of the girls he was looking at. He pointed (rude!) and I asked him what he liked about her. “I like her shirt, and she’s pretty,” he said. Jesus.

A moment later, the three children next door went to visit the pickle bar. I told D that now was a good chance to approach her and, instead of staring, go up and introduce himself, ask her name and maybe ask if she would get him one of the pickles he likes. He grinned and looked embarrassed and shook his head. God almighty, he is so young! Oy, I thought. Ok then, I said, if you aren’t going to approach her, you need to quit staring, as it might bother her and could be considered rude. Then he took to making sideways glances, acting like he wasn’t really looking at her, when it was so, so obvious. The boy’s game is new. I will try to help him as best I can, I just didn’t expect to be doing it in kindergarten.

On the way home, he started a nonsense sing-along. I kind of think a lot of other parents don’t do this. And, if someone rode along with us, they’d probably think this and other things we do are all my ideas, because so many of these things we do when we spend time together are like theater, movement and improv exercises. But I swear, I have not taught him this stuff. So, we started having a gibberish conversation, and then he started a sort of singsong rhythm, and told me to sing a different song. No real words, a lot like vocal and facial warm-ups that actors do. We did this the entire drive home. I keep thinking if someone put this on youtube we would be a sensation, but he immediately becomes Michigan J. Frog whenever anyone else is around and clams up and acts shy. I’m all like, “Look! He sings! He dances! He does improv!” and he just sits there. He cracks me up so much. I laughed more last night than I have all week.

This kid. I love him.

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