So the boy has a friend.
Well, he has many friends.
But he has one friend, in particular, who happens to be of the girl variety.
He met G in kindergarten, and they became good friends, although the boy would never admit that, because, as far as he was concerned back then (and still is today) boys and girls can never be friends. (Has he been watching When Harry Met Sally?) Girls play with pink toys, and boys play with light sabers and Legos, and, unless a girl is willing to cross to the dark side and join him in constructing Darth Vader’s space ship out of little bits of plastic, he usually gives them the cold shoulder.
And in kindergarten, G apparently rocked baby dolls in the house center, which forced her name completely off of the “Kids I’ll Pick As Friends” list for a while.
And he’d already given his kindergarten heart away to another little girl, who wore her hair as short as a boy’s, could spit between her front teeth, and could kick a soccer ball a great distance. The boy came home from school one afternoon and announced, “I’m going to marry Atalia, and I don’t want to talk about it.”
We didn’t talk about it.
Then, after Christmas vacation was over and done with, and the massive haul of gifts had been played with, the boy went back to kindergarten, and came home and said, “Mom, when you’re in kindergarten, can you change your mind about who you marry?”
No. I don’t think so. Once you pick someone at the age of 6, you’re stuck for the rest of your life.
Although I was tempted to hand out those words to him, I simply said, “Yes. I’m rather certain when you’re in kindergarten you can change your ideas about marriage. Because you do know that you won’t be getting married until Mama is comfortably settled in a nursing home, right?”
So the boy, at this point, said, “I’m going to marry G instead. And I don’t want to talk about it.”
And G, bless her heart, has remained on his list of potential wives since then. It’s been nearly three years now, and she is even willing to build things with him out of Legos occasionally, and, just this summer, she introduced him to the world of an Easy Bake Oven. The boy had never seen one of these little contraptions before, because his mama simply doesn’t bake, regardless of the oven size. And really, let’s not kid ourselves. If you’re going to go through the trouble of mixing ingredients together and baking them, then they’d better be bigger than a half dollar! At first, the boy wasn’t on board with G’s choice of activities. Her Easy Bake was pink and purple, and the boy will walk twenty-four miles out of his way to go around things that are pink and purple.
But she won him over with her sugar cookie covered in pink sprinkles. The boy considered it delicious, but entirely too small, so he begged G to bake him another one.
This summer, we watched G once a week, since her own mama had to work. This went very well, as long as G was willing to play with Legos and be Princess Leia when the boy needed her to be.
On one of these summer days, while the kids were at day camp, scouting out bugs that they would insist on bringing home, I was at home, scrubbing. The deep kind of scouring that is usually reserved for such times as Spring Cleaning. And, by the time I picked the kids up from camp, I had one bathroom left to tackle, but the exhaustion had set in. So I bribed the children by saying, “I’ll give you each $5 if you clean the bathroom for me.”
G was on board immediately. G can clean like nobody’s business. G knows the difference between soap scum remover and mildew remover. The boy isn’t even aware that such cleaning products exist. But the lure of a five dollar bill moved him to give it a shot, and they did clean.
Or rather, G cleaned, and the boy poured rinse water out of a giant pitcher stolen from my kitchen whenever she told him to. At one point, they were standing in the bathroom tub, with their pant legs rolled up and scrubbing away. Earlier, G had taken the rugs outside to shake them (the boy had no idea that this was a common thing to do when you cleaned a bathroom), and she’d left them hanging on the deck railing. When she was ready to get out of the tub, she called out, “Tammy! Can you get the rugs off your deck? I left them there, and I need to get out of the tub, and my feet are all wet!” As I was headed to retrieve the rugs for her, I heard her gasp.
It wasn’t a good gasp. It was the gasp when something is horrifyingly wrong, like when you see your house catch fire, or when you open the laundry room door to discover that your Whirlpool has flooded the floor.
I looked in the bathroom to see my son, stepping out of the tub with his oh-so-very wet feet.
We’ve all been there, girls — when you’ve cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, and someone is about to ruin it all.
And then, without missing a beat, G put her hand on her hip, shook her head back and forth a little, and cried out, “Young Jedi! (Except she used his full name here, middle name and all.) I did not just spend an hour scrubbing this bathroom to have you mess it all up with your wet feet on that clean floor!”
I felt her pain.
The boy froze, with one foot in the tub, and one foot out of the tub, and looked exactly like a deer caught in the headlights of a Suburban. He had no idea whether he should retreat or continue on his forward path.
Later, as I was retelling the story to Hubs, he looked at me with shock in his eyes and said, “Where do you girls learn that? Is that learned at birth for girls? It was only water!”
And later, he went on to add, “Well, I guess they’ll make a good married couple. She already knows how to nag him.”
Way to go, G!
And, for the record, I told them to sit side-by-side for this picture. They both refused. I think the boy’s exact words were, “I’m not going to sit close to her.” And I believe she said, “Tammy, I don’t want his shoulder touching mine.” So they posed themselves on the bench.
And as soon as I’d snapped the pictures, they were off, chasing one another and playing tag.