Monday, November 17, 2008

Making Sense of the World

Or... How I got hit on by a 5 year old.

Last week I was talking with my friend Kelly about the post I was writing for Rocks In My Dryer. I suggested that one of the points I would like to get across to married people is that they don't have to abandon their single friends. In fact, they'd be helping their children by providing role models of all kinds.

To emphasize my point I said, "Because we both know it's only a matter of time until your son (the insanely brilliant and adorable 3 year old) asks me, "TRS, where is your husband?"

"No he won't!"
Oh yes he will. Not that I would be offended. That's just how kids try to make sense of the world. Especially if they are only exposed to married couples.

While I wouldn't be offended - I will admit it's a bit rattling when it happens for the first time. (standby for adorable nephew story at the end of this post.)

Last night I was working at the portrait studio. A woman brought her nephew in for a photo session. He was a very cute and polite kid - and I have never seen such a little kid with so much patience. He followed my posing instructions as if he were listening to the Pope! It was an awesome session.

His name was Theo. He told me that himself, and he asked me my name. I told him, and then he asked, "Did you know that I'm going to be 5?"

"Wow! 5 years old! You are such a big boy." I enthused.
During the session he said. "Did you know I can speak Portuguese?"
"Really Theo? You must be so smart."

Later as his aunt and I were finishing up the order he quietly said, "TRS, I have a question for you."

"What is it Theo?"
"Do you have a husband?"

His aunt was mortified but I answered earnestly, "No. I don't have a husband. But I'd really like to have one. Do you know someone who could be my husband?"
"Really? Who?"
"Let me think."

His aunt and I finished the transaction - and she shared, in her thick Portuguese accent that he asks her the same thing. She was trying to apologize for him, although an apology wasn't needed.

Then Theo piped up again.
"I know someone who could be your husband."
"Really Theo? Who?
"Um. My dad."

His aunt tried not to laugh, and quietly told me that his dad has issues. Bad idea.
I stifled my own laughter.
"Theo, does your dad already have a wife?"
"No. But he lives in Brazil."
"Hmm. See if you can find a husband for me who lives in Denver. Okay?"

"Okay. What's your phone number?"

And that's how I was ever so subtly hit upon by a boy who is 4 and 3 quarters!

You know... it's the smartest kids who ask these intriguing questions. They begin to notice the world around them and start to make sense of things. That is, until someone throws a wrench into their thoughts. You know, like a single adult!

When my youngest nephew was 4 or 5 years old we were playing a game at Grandma's kitchen table when I saw the gears turning in his head.

"TRS, do u live by uself?"
"Yes. I have an apartment in Omaha and I live there alone."

I watched his gears turn some more as he struggled to make sense of that.
"Don't u have a mom?"

Oh my stars! He didn't even expect me to have a husband! But everybody in his world lives with SOMEBODY! He lives with his mom. TRS must too!

"Your grandma is my mom. She is your dad's mom too. When you're a grown up, you don't live with your parents anymore." I explained - only to watch his face crumble with the onset of tears.

The little guy couldn't imagine never needing his mommy as he needed her then.
I panicked. I tried to think of a way to explain it that wouldn't crush his image of security.

Then his big sister piped in, "You'll understand when you're older."
I panicked still, thinking "That's not going to work!"
But a big sister knows. His face returned to it's normal color as he accepted her knowledge.
And we went back to our game.


Karen said...

Too cute!

You know, my kids have never asked about spouses for my single friends (and I have several of them.) I guess part of that is that both their uncles and their aunt are single (well, my brother is some of the time) and the other part is that most of our friends are single. I hadn't thought about that but I am grateful that I didn't have to be embarassed by that question. Just the statements like, "He's smoking! He's gonna DIE!" (Of course, my favorite was my nephew telling his grandma that she was "almost dead" because he thought she was so old.)

k said...

so cute! i got hit on by younger man recently too - I keep telling him we can't date because he was born in 1985 and that is way young... but he is slowly convincing me otherwise. somehow i don't think theo will have the same kind of luck convincing you!!

TRS said...

Hee hee.
K, I was hit on once by a guy who was the born the same year as my oldest nephew (1983). And while he was the cutest guy I've even met in and around Denver I just couldn't escape the ickyness factor that he was the same age as my nephew!
In hindsight, I should have dated him. Despite his youth, he had the best head on his shoulders of most guys I meet. We'd probably be happily married by now!

Great quips. I love it.
Interesting isn't it - if kids are exposed to different lifestyles the questions aren't as great?
They're still going to ask questions about relationships. They'll likely be inappropriate, but we shouldn't stop them. That's how they learn.
And isn't it better to get the information from the source (meaning the single lady) than from, perhaps a jaded grandparent who might respond to the question, "Why isn't Auntie married?" with "Because she's too d@mn picky!"

auntie said...

Yes, they figure out how the world fits together until one day when you get to explain to your niece that she actually DOESN'T get to be the flowergirl in your wedding even though you'd promised her she could have a pretty dress and sparkly things in her hair, because there's not going to be a wedding after all. Talk about confusing a child! Fun times.

Song Lee said...

Hi there,
A friend of mine pointed me to your blog and I love this entry (it's the only one I've read thus far). I am young 30's and single and live in a fairly small area, so i feel your pain. I look forward to reading more!
Song Lee

Anonymous said...

Given the opportunity to be a child or an adult. I'll take child every time.