He's not like the other boys his age.
He likes girls. One in particular. And it isn't me.
Don't laugh. I read Freud. I understand the stages of psychosexual development include a period in which my son would develop an Oedipus Complex, try to kill his father and marry me.
Okay, not literally. But I'd played it all out in my mind as if it were the Greek tragedy.
His sister would rib him about some girl his age: “Champ and Girly, sitting in a tree. K. I. S. S. I. N. G. ...
He would punch her, declare his love for me and tell dad to pack his stuff and find another place to call home.
But instead he just looked glum; hung his head and said … “Girly likes The Other Guy.”
Then he stomped away.
Not even five yet and he's professed his undying like for a girl who, for all he knows, still thinks boys have cooties. (Not that she isn't polite when he tries to tell her a joke: “What do you get when you cut an Earthworm in half? Two Earthworms. … ahahahahaa!).
She shrugs her shoulders in the least offensive manner and runs off to play with her best girlfriend.
My son stands there smiling for a bit then inches toward her direction, slowly moving into her shadow, pretending he's not there.
In the car he says her name over and over. He sings songs about her -- sweet little nonsensical ballads that liken her to a summer day … Only not Summer's day, because that would be a girl who's name is Summer and she's not like Summer. Her hair is a different color. It's black. Or dark brown. I'm not sure.”
He doesn't even care if it rhymes.
He's in for a world of hurt.
He chatters away at his friends who are boys. Feeling them out while burying his true intent with yards of game theory questions: “What school are you going to next year? What's your favorite color? Do you know that birds come from dinosaurs? Did you know that bears are omnivores? Which girl in school do you like?
And of course the friend hones right in on the main dish:
“GIRLS! I don't like girls. They're yucky.”
He smiles. That's one less rival.
He continues singing: “I like girls. They are fun. They are cute. They don't know how to shoot. Rubber bands in the air. Instead they put them in their hair.
Rhyming gains importance when people who aren't your parents are listening he'll tell me later. “They expect you to know how to rhyme hair and air.”
Watching him watch others, balancing what he thinks they want with what he thinks he needs is like having a glimpse into the future.
“I will paint her a picture. It will be of a diamond under the sea. Then I will show it to her and she will love it. …
And then he whispers to me: “Will you ask her to come over here ? … I'm too shy.”
Little con artist.
I can almost hear him in fifteen years: “Want to come up and see my etchings?”
I hope he doesn't expect me to arrange the showings.