Big Brother and [TOP SECRECT – Name Redacted] up in a tree, K. I. S. S. I. N. G.

Young love is fickle. So is the willingness to discuss it with parents.

Our six-year-old has swapped out the girl he liked for a new love interest regularly since the dawn of kindergarten. He’s a young man on the move, and a girl has to stay on her toes to keep his interest for long. Also, she has to not make it obvious that she likes a bunch of other boys better.  That’s a deal breaker. He’s very particular about having a “girlfriend” that likes him back. He has to be, at the very least, the boy she likes second best.

Way back in those callow days of kindergarten, the boy was shy about naming the girl he liked. He must have thought he had one of those mean dads who would tease him about liking girls and warn him that school was a place for learning, not for smooching. Of course, I’m not like that. I would never do that for very long. It stops being fun after a while.

Smooching

This is exactly the type of behavior I’m talking about –  I mean, it would be, if I were one of those dads who teased about smooching.

After some time, he shook off his shyness with talking about girls he liked. Once he discovered that he had a nice dad who wouldn’t tease him very much, it got kind of cool to have somebody with whom to talk about girls – somebody who’s already married and out of elementary school and everything.

Now, the pendulum seems to have swung back the other way again. But now his reticence is not rooted in embarrassment; it’s about his right, as a mature young man, to withhold information from his parents.

It’s been a while since he’s talked about liking any particular girl, but the other day the topic of girls came up in conversation. My wife and I quizzed him about all the girls he used to like. None of them were on top of the list anymore.

Was there a particular girl that he liked now?

“I’m not gonna tell you,” was his reply.

“Why not?” asked his mother.

“Because that’s my Policy Privacy.”

“Do you mean Privacy Policy?” I asked.

“Nope. It’s my Policy Privacy.”

“What’s that mean?” my wife asked him.

“That means I don’t have to talk about it.”

Fair enough. You have the right to clam up about it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t throw girls’ names at you until one of them makes you grin. We have our methods. And you may have Policy Privacy, but you sure as hell don’t have a poker face.

Reading, writing, and romance

Our son has learned a lot in kindergarten. His reading skills are pretty good, and his math knowledge is growing. And then there’s everything about love and romance he’s picked up in the past year.

In the fall, it became clear that he had a crush on one little girl. Whenever I mentioned her name he would blush and get that secretive smile on his face. It embarrassed him to answer questions about her. My wife would scold me for making him squirm, but then she doesn’t fully understand a father’s job.

Mid-year, he traded this crush for a new one. In fact, he traded it for two new ones. I really can’t argue with the boy showing this sort of ambition, but I was taken aback about how open he was about them.

By the sounds of it, everybody in his class has a crush on somebody else, and then maybe somebody else after that. Once this conspiracy of crushes came to light, crushes became cool. All the kids are having them.

Suddenly, he likes to talk about his crushes. Here’s what he’s got worked out:

He’s going to marry his #1 crush. Except, she has a crush on somebody else. He’s not completely sure how this will affect his plan, but he does recognize it as a minor complication. He still fully intends to marry crush #1, but if it turns out she’s carrying too much external baggage, he always has crush #2 in reserve. Crush #2 may actually have a small crush on him too, making this a solid contingency plan.

The situation has completely reversed itself since last fall. Now I have to rib him by referring obliquely to Crush #1. When I hint that I’m speaking about her, he demands that I say her name, right out loud, in front of Mommy and everybody.

This change from a boy shy about girls to Rico Suave has been an eye-opener. I’m afraid some day he’s going to open his mouth and Barry White’s voice will come out of it. But it seems like these kids have also been following current events as they apply to the legal aspects of romance. I guess it’s good that they’re learning about the world around them, but if I were in kindergarten, I think I’d rather just play on the swings a while longer.

Last week he told me one of the boys wanted to marry him.

This was a new development. “One of the boys?”

“Yeah.” Then he went on to educate his backward, old dad. “Boys can marry boys, but only in New York,” he told me. “And girls can marry girls, in New York.”

“Do you want to marry him?” I asked.

He shook his head at me and gave me a look that asked if I had been paying any attention at all over the past several months. “No. I got other people I’m in love with.”

I ship out with Admiral Dewey in the morning, baby.

Kids sure do grow up fast these days. And by “these days” I mean since 1898.