The image accompanying this post was drawn by Keaton this Sunday at church. Let me explain…
The other day I walked by Keaton’s room and saw her sitting on the bed, apparently doing nothing. I did a double-take and rounded to take another look. Upon closer inspection, she wasn’t exactly doing nothing: She was sitting quietly, hands folded in her lap, head angled slightly skyward, with a pie-eyed look on her face. My first thought was that she looked “contemplative.” Since I’m more accustomed to seeing her playing with her dollhouse or reading books or being engrossed in some imagined world, the Rodin-esque pose made me curious.
“Whatcha doin’, babe?” I asked. “I’m just thinking about something,” she replied. “I can see that… what are you thinking about?,” I asked. “Daaaad…” she sung-spoke, “Mom already knows what I’m thinking about.” A curious explanation to a curious situation, I filed it away and made a mental note to ask Sharaun what she might be thinking on. “OK,” I said, “Don’t think too hard,” and left her to it.
Arriving in the living room I asked Sharaun, “Keaton’s in there just sitting on the bed mooning over something. It’s odd. She said you’d know…” She cut me off, “Oh man, does she have my phone again?” “No,” I said, “at least I didn’t see your phone. Why? What’s she doing with your phone.” She sighed… rolled her eyes… and began to explain.
There’s a new mom at the weekly moms’ group at church, and with the new mom came a new kid – Jason. Keaton really likes Jason… he is her new “favorite kid” at the moms’ group. As she tells me this, I’m wondering if I smile and feel amused or if I frown and wonder why my not-quite five year old daughter thinks she has a crush on a boy. Keaton, she explains, has been looking at a picture taken of she and Jason on the phone, and then basically doing a tiny mimic of a teenage swoon.
Keaton has mentioned Jason a few times since. She’s asked me to invite him and his family to dinner. Asked if Jason could come over and play. Told me a few times about how much she likes playing with Jason on Tuesdays. Jason, Jason, Jason. While it’s not anything over-the-top or truly “concerning,” as a dad it started to get mulled over in my brain-piece.
All of the sudden, I found myself a little confused. I started asking “parenting” type questions. Where did she learn about “liking” boys?! Is it normal for kids this young to do this? Even assuming she doesn’t really understand what she’s doing, is it normal for her to emulate it? Those “What to Expect” books stopped after “… the Third Year” so I’m totally on my own here, adrift in uncharted waters… I tried to reason it out.
Where did she learn it? Oh I’m convinced she learned it from Velma’s unrequieted love for Shaggy on the Cartoon Network’s modern instantiation of the Scooby Doo show. I’ll admit, I love that new Scooby Doo. I actually enjoy watching it with Keaton. I should know that, if it’s something I can enjoy, as a full-grown adult, then the themes are probably a little “advanced” for a four year old. Maybe it’s time to stop watching the new Scooby Doo.
OK so maybe Scooby Doo is to blame for the concept or example. But how about the question of it being “normal” or not? Then I remembered the first love-note I got as a kid… in kindergarten. My folks saved it; stuck it in the pages of my baby book. Was that abnormal? I don’t know… but kindergarten is about five years old, right? Guess what, dad?… so is your daughter.
In the end, I calmed down and chalked it up to kids being kids. Maybe we’ll invite Jason’s folks over some time so I can check this dude out… get a feel for his aspirations in life, see how he carries himself, whether he’s got good instincts. Ha.
Girls… man I’m in for it.
I’m just thankful she hasn’t learned how to draw hearts yet; seeing little pretend ones at her hand my break my for-real big one just a little bit. Goodnight.