My hubby tried to play dumb. “You mean Daddy and Papa?” Nope. She shook her little curls and waited, wanting him to guess. But he didn’t need to; he already knew.
Though there were six families sharing the rental house, not all the kids were created equal in Lily’s eyes. She was clearly smitten with Cole, a boy her age who boasted all sorts of magic qualities: he ran as fast she did, needed to be active just as constantly, and was willing to play Baby Cheetah, a chase-and-growl game that she’d invented and never wearies of. All weekend, she had maneuvered herself next to Cole at the table or at the beach. And when nine kids settled in for a movie viewing, she snagged the spot nearest him on the floor.
Let me pause for a moment here to hyperventilate. She’s crushing out on boys at five?
Thankfully, it was her Daddy on the mattress and not her Papa. I might have been tempted to tell her that it’s not appropriate to chase after members of the opposite sex until she’s, I don’t know, 25. And then I would have changed the subject to puppies or cheetahs or something.
Of course, as soon as she was asleep, he poured himself a stiff drink.
Or maybe it’s just the age. When my husband sounded a note of disbelief that a five year-old could actually have a crush, I reminded him that I knew I was gay when I was six. I knew because I got caught playing an elaborate kissing game that I had orchestrated with a neighbor boy, Coty; the older kid who discovered us called us pansies. While that was the day I got a name for what I felt, I had been convinced for months that I would marry this particular boy next door. Which means, yes indeed, my first crush was also at age 5.
This is not comforting exactly, since I never relented in my ardor. The object of my crushes changed but there was always some boy I adored, from grade school into high school, and on into college and grad school, where I could finally date guys instead of worshipping them from afar. When I got married, my husband stood at the end of an aisle I started walking down two decades before. So I can be forgiven for already obsessing about my daughter’s romantic inclinations—can’t I?