A couple weeks back I picked the Boy up from school. When I hit the playground I searched the flurry of kids racing back and fourth for my son but didn't find him in his usual spots. When I finally caught sight of him he was holding hands (he holds hands with everybody) with a stunning classmate. This girl will, no doubt, grow into a very attractive woman. She came with the Boy when I called him and I asked who his friend was. He said her name was Jordan. I said hi to her and she smiled before looking earnestly at the Boy and saying, "Bye, Arlo," in a manner I can only describe as flirtatious. She added a little wave with her fingers. I looked at the Boy and knew instantly that he was smitten.
Every day after that it was the same. They would be together playing... just the two of them.
He made her a card. He made her another card. He made her a third card. For the last one he requested the correct spelling of the word "love" and laboriously scripted the letters at the bottom of the card.
I laughed nervously, hoping that he was too young to have his heart broken by the fickle playmate choices that accompany a preschool playground, but what's a dad to do.
Then last week I arrived and there they were, but there was a third - another gorgeous kid, with pale skin and jet black hair. I had seen her before. She plays on his soccer team and the two of them are frequently holding hands on the field (ignoring the game.) She too raced over to make her good byes to the boy. She was introduced as Brienna. In unison, she and Jordan waved and said more flirtaciously than you could imagine 4 year olds being, "Goodbye Arloooo."
It was weird.
Cards were made for Jordan and Brienna. Birthday party invitations were planned. They were frequently the topic of conversation. And every day they were all together, or if I arrived late and one of the girls had already been picked up he would be with the remaining one. No one else was ever a part of their play.
I arrived to find the Boy climbing up the monkey bars, Jordan to one side and Brienna to the other, the three of them delighting in one another's company. But following close behind was a girl both my wife and and I had noticed before. A beautiful child with very light brown, creamy caramel skin and a stunning head of curling, dark brown hair that any woman would die for. I looked over the entire playground. The three girls with my son were the prettiest little girls there, without a doubt... seriously.
When the Boy saw me he leaped down and raced over to me, followed by Jordan and Brienna. The new girl stayed behind, looking on, as if taking notes on the ritual.
After Jordan and Brienna had made their standard flirty byes the Boy climbed from my arms and said he needed to say goodbye to Regan. I asked if that was the other girl's name and he said yes. The three raced back to the bars and the Boy hugged the new member of the group. She smiled broadly. The quartet completed their farewells.
I had this vision of these three cute girls plotting to rip my poor innocent boy's heart out of his chest. I imagined it all as some flirting playground joke with my son as the butt. I saw the worst for my kid - after all, cute as I might think he is, three pretty girls fawning over him to the exclusion of all others seemed absurd.
I turned to one of the teachers standing behind me and who had been watching the scene unfold. "Ok, what's the deal with him and all the girls anyway," I asked her.
"Oh come on," she said as if I was some kind of idiot. And then she added with a sly smile, "The boy is a total magnet."
Great, more worries.
addendum: It occurs to me that it is not the Boy who is being led on, but that he is doing the leading. He will be the one to crush playground hearts under foot - the object of preschool catfights. "Now girls, there's plenty of me to go around."
Much worse than my original concerns.
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