Westley and I spent the morning at one of our new favorite hang-out spots. It turns out that the giant inlaid chess board and accompanying playing pieces that occupy the space between Third Place Books and the food court are perfect for amusing a new walker. And there's just something about seeing my little dude supporting himself on a rook two-thirds his size that makes my day. On weekends, the food court area is filled with all types, but on weekday mornings, it's strictly moms and kids.
I immediately spotted a couple of twoish-year-olds running around. Their mothers were sitting on the nearby benches, sipping coffee, watching. I followed Westley closely, oscillating in and out of high-alert mode as the kids charged through the open space. And somehow, without really noticing it happened, I made a friend.
He was two: small and blond, with big blue eyes and slightly babyfied, but mostly understandable speech. Westley was doing his version of a Sun Salutation on the chessboard: lots of reaching waaaay up with his arms, then bending waaaay over to touch the ground. I quickly got my two-year-old fan engaged in a game of "Up to the Ceiling, Down to the Floor" which is pretty much exactly what you'd expect. Say, "Up to the ceiling!" enthusiastically while stretching up as tall as you can manage. Follow it up with an equally-enthusiastic "Down to the floor!" and touch your toes if you're sufficiently bendy. Before too long, we were using the photo booth as an spaceship-elevator, and the boys were drumming loudly on the adjustable stool inside.
This isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened. Over Christmas, I made quite the impression on Rob's little cousin by offering him cinnamon toast and listening as he talked about lions. Little boys talk to me on the playground, at the grocery store, waiting in line, out of nowhere. In fact, since Westley was born, little boys seem to love me. They bat their eyelashes and talk to me about their lives. Or maybe they always would have loved me except that now that I have a little boy of my own, I'm spending more time at little-boy haunts.
I never thought I understood little boys, or even liked them. One of my biggest fears when I was pregnant was that I would have a son and not know what to do with him. I have a younger brother, and when we were growing up, he always seemed so boy-ly. The things he liked to do and talk about just didn't make sense. Boys in general were mysterious enough (so rowdy, so mean) and I was sure I'd never "get" them (or get them to like me) because I couldn't even figure out my own lousy brother. So maybe having a son has helped me relax around little dudes. And maybe little dudes pick up on that. Or maybe it's because I'm someone else's mom. If there's a collective unconscious, there might be a collective Oedipus complex--I don't know. Whatever it is, boys just flock to me now. My theory about this most recent small-guy-incident is that I was the only mom not sitting and drinking coffee, but that doesn't explain the ones who just walk up and start talking about Star Wars.
I thought my adult guy-person might be able to shed some light on the subject, so I asked Rob about my sudden popularity. He thinks it's the hair. Rob explained that when he was growing up, with Disney and comic books as the utmost authority on women and what was desirable about them, long hair--long blond hair, specifically--was the epitome of beauty. It didn't really matter what the other features were like; long hair was key. According to my husband, boys get a load of my mid-back-length blond tresses and decide I'm cool. At least, he added, "It would have worked on me." Says the guy who still pulls on my ponytail to tell me he likes me.
I'd be interested in testing Rob's theory if it didn't mean a drastic change of hair style. I guess I'll just go along with the boy-friendliness. It's certainly nice to be liked, and I can pretend that it bodes well for my future as mom to a little boy-ly boy.
(Please say it does.)