I'm going to need to invest in some good steaks. Why? Well, whenever a kid gets in a fight in a movie, his mom gently holds a steak to his black eye while she praises him for standing up for his nerdy friend or chastises him for throwing the first punch at the neighborhood bully. And my kid is going to get into fights. Not because he's a fighter, mind you, but because he's a lover.
Our neighborhood is full of little boys and now that the weather is warmer they've all come out of hibernation to play. It's perfect for Garrett. Except that Garrett is about a year younger than the rest of the crew. It's as though all the mothers in the neighborhood got together one day in late 2004 and said, "Hey, let's all get pregnant right now. That way we can have our babies together next summer. And, oh hey, let's agree to have boys this time around." Poor Garrett, arriving in 2006 and not 2005.
The boys are very willing to let him play with them, which is sweet. The problem is, there is still a difference between almost three and almost four. Almost four year olds ride their bikes like kamikaze crazy people. Almost three year olds can't reach their pedals. Almost four year olds are entirely rough and tumble and tough and gnarly and testosterony. Almost three year olds are entirely rough and tumble and tough and gnarly and...tenderhearted. So, when it's time to say goodbye, Garrett wants to give hugs and almost four year olds, well, not so much.
We've been teaching him that lots of little boys like to give high fives instead of hugs. We are sure to emphasize the fact that mommies and daddies really like hugs but we point out that it might be better to high five the hand of your good buddy or do your super secret handshake instead of embracing almost four year olds. We thought he was starting to get it.
Last night I took something to the mailbox and Garrett came with me. The next door neighbor boy was sitting on his steps, eating dinner.
G: I go play with him?
Me: No, not now. He's eating dinner.
G: Otay. I go give him a kiss.
So in our effort to get him to give high fives instead of hugs he's taken it a step back entirely. My son is going to be the boy kissing his friends after a sweaty game of football or a rousing session of Cops and Robbers.
Yeah. I'm going to need some steaks.