Attack of the four year old boys
Emily makes friends with girls, too, and I have no problem with those friendships. It's only when I find her alone in her room with two boys, like I did during her birthday party, that my mother bear instinct goes into full effect. My grandmother wouldn't even let me play in my bedroom with another girl, so to find Emily in her room with two boys was startling. Is it possible that I don't trust little, innocent boys?
Okay, maybe right now I trust them, but I don't know if I trust them in the future. And when will the future be here? At what age do these little innocents become little less-than-innocent? Kids are maturing faster nowadays. What if four is the new fourteen? Ahhh! Mother worry has already begun; I can feel my forehead creasing as I write this.
I didn't realize I was going to feel this way until I did.
Today at the Children's Discovery Museum, a cute little boy around Emily's age decided to sit himself at the table where she was having a tea party with Thomas. He was very polite and watched as she pretend poured the tea. He seemed to know that Thomas was okay to have at the tea party, but when another little girl showed up, he hissed at her. She left, and it became clear to me that he wanted to play solely with Emily and had no interest in sharing her.
Thomas eventually became bored with being the third wheel and went over to the ball pit. Meanwhile, Emily and her new friend donned capes and started following each other around in a playful fashion. I hung out with Thomas and watched their friendship develop out of the corner of my eye. When they started lounging on one another, I realized that I needed to make my presence known. I walked over to them, and Emily said to me, "Mama, I like this guy!"
Now, I'm not sure if I'm ready for Emily to go around liking guys other than her brother. So I turn to the little boy. "Hello," I say, "my name is Mary and that's Emily." I didn't mention the fact that Emily was my daughter and that I was her mother, but I think he knew the score.
"I'm Marco, and I already know what her name is."
Oookkkayyy. Red alert! Red alert! "Nice to meet you, Marco." I'm watching you!! is what I'm thinking, but I just smile and look around for his mother. I see that he has one. That's good; he's not here at the museum just to pick up chicks. I return to watching Thomas play with the air ball machine, but I make sure to keep an eye on Emily and this Marco fellow. And when it's time to leave and she doesn't say goodbye to him, I admit that I'm a little relieved. Ha! Take that, Marco! Here today, gone... today!
It becomes clearer to me with each milestone that parenting only gets harder.