Another gorgeous day, and we’re mostly missing it because J is sick again. She made another checklist of what she needs for the sick day.
She just roused herself from the couch and we’re considering a slow walk around the block for some fresh air.
–Phew, and that was hours ago. The great thing about spring is that you see all your neighbors again. Which is both delightful and a huge time-suck. I’d take it over being productive inside on a frigid day, though, absolutely.–
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
But anyway, you can tell spring is in the air because around our house, the conversation has been turning to romance.
At some point recently, it came out that a little boy from J’s grade likes her. I asked how she felt about him, and she said that she didn’t particularly like him, but she enjoyed being liked.
Then I had to go the next step and ask, “Is there anyone you do especially like?” I immediately backpedaled: “You don’t have to tell me, though.”
We walked for a moment and then she said, “Actually, can I tell you?”
I managed to refrain from the obvious response (“HELL YEAH!!”) and offered a more neutral “Sure.”
“Actually,” she said, “I like two people, and I can’t decide.”
“Well, it’s not like you have to decide,” I pointed out. “You’re not going to get married yet or anything.”
“That’s true,” she agreed. Then she named a girl and a boy and added, “I like the gay thing, because it gives you more options.”
“Absolutely,” I said with my best I’m-totally-not-cracking-up-right-now expression. “It’s great to have lots of different choices.”
How cute is she?!?!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Part of the reason why J and I were talking about romance is that M and a friend were talking about boys recently. M and/or one or more of her friends may or may not like someone or someone else or that other guy. I’m absolutely not at liberty to say. I am comfortable stating the obvious: the prevailing opinion is that M has multiple admirers. This came as no particular surprise to Cute W or me. It wouldn’t have been a surprise a year ago, but the last month or so, M’s been undergoing a transformation. For more than a year M’s been sporting the same look: an oversized soccer t-shirt with jeans or shorts and a low, no-nonsense ponytail. In fact, I was talking about this at the beginning of the school year, how she looked like all the confident jock girls that I thought Cute W should be dating in college. The hair thing drove me a little crazy. She’ll go through phases of wearing the same style for months or even years (like the preschool headband years), and while I’ll agree that a low ponytail is functional, I can’t help but wish that the girl would branch out. Or just leave the freakin’ hair down once in a while. If you had flowing golden locks, wouldn’t you just unleash those every once in a while?
Anyway, for Easter, M’s Grandma sent an Aéropostale gift card because she had sensed that M was over Justice and had moved on to bigger and better things. I hadn’t exactly noticed. Okay, sure, while we were visiting in Kansas City, M politely asked if she could please ditch Justice and walk a couple of stores over to shop at Aéropostale, but since I’m not a shopper, I was slow on understanding that little cue. M immediately reported to the computer for some online shopping, and when she couldn’t choose between the jillions of t-shirts, she kicked in some of her own money, too. A week later a bunch of new t-shirts, but I was afraid she’d want to return them all, because they were fitted. Seriously, for the last year or two she’s been wearing close that are too big for her. Ginormous shirts, bathing suits that sagged with excess fabric. So she tried on the first shirt and I kept the poker face. It fit perfectly, which meant I expected her to start taping the box back up to return it. Suddenly, in clothes that fit, the adorable factor has multiplied.
And as if that weren’t enough, I lucked out and bought the wrong ponytail holders. They’re a little too small, which means that they’re tougher to use, and recently M asked me to just do her ponytail so that she could hurry off to school. I pulled the hair into (gasp!) a high ponytail. “It feels weird,” she said. “Is it high? It feels too high.”
“Try looking in the mirror for a minute,” I said. “Just for a change of pace.”
She looked and smiled. Then she explained that she’d wondered why a teammate’s ponytail always bounced along as she ran. M jogged to demonstrate. The high ponytail was a keeper.
So this morning, M asked me to help her put her hair up into a high ponytail. She was so cute that Cute W and I beamed at her.
“It’s amazing what a difference a ponytail makes,” I murmured to Cute W, who agreed.
“What? What are you talking about?” M demanded.
“I don’t know–something about the higher ponytail is just all perky and peppy. I mean, the low one is fine, too. It just makes a surprisingly big difference.”
M laughed, started miming cheerleader moves, and rolled her eyes.
But we both stood there, considering her. All that playtime outside has caused her blond hair to get lighter and her skin to get darker already, so with the spunky little t-shirt and shorts, she’s all tanned limbs and laughter and bouncing blond hair as she hustled to the door.
“Yeah, that ponytail. . .” Cute W began before trailing off.
“What now?” M demanded.
“Nothing. Just. . . use it responsibly.”