We had lunch with the boy who wears a dress and sparkly shoes at our playground today.
I hesitate to even mention it, really, because what does it matter? But I’m sure I’ll bring it up to my wife tonight, so clearly it’s in my head. Obviously, I don’t think he’s gay. (In the sage words of Martin Prince, “he’s not anything yet!”)
I do, however, think he’s quirky.
And that… makes me jealous. He’s the three-year old I’ve always wanted to be.
After lunch, Quirky Boy and Boobaby together played that most classic of toddler’s games: “Broadway Choreographer.” In turns, each child invented a step that the other (and me, and quirky boy’s resigned-looking nanny) would then repeat. Boo’s steps led usually involved jumping up from a squat with our hands behind our backs, so my back is sore like a kangaroo without a chiropractor. (Hm. I might need to go to simile camp.) QB’s dance steps mostly involved pirouettes, so add in some severe ankle pain.
Ah, the ravages of a dancer’s life.
Don’t get me wrong: Boobaby has her peculiarities, they’re just too arcane to share. Hasn’t every parent has tried to describe (usually over cocktails) something really cool about their kid?
“Ohmigod you should have been there because then he said ‘pomegranate’ and he’s never said that and it was just soooo funny HA HA and you should have seen the look on the policeman’s face… “
And every parent who relates some version of this story watches the blank faces droop from everyone listening, the chirrups of crickets echoing in the distance. We lamely grunt “I guess you had to be there…” and then pretend to listen in as the conversation turns to a more globally interesting topic, like baseball or Estonian literature.
Other people just don’t get why our kid is so frikkin’ cool.
To make up for the world’s ignorance, my wife and I train Boobaby to perform for us. I got her to somersault around the age of 14 months, which freaked a lot of the first-aid-kit moms. We taught her useful words like “fluctuate” and “crepuscular” and “Barack-Obama-Yes-We-Can!” Now she likes to tell jokes (“What has four eyes but can’t see?”).
See what I mean? Stupid. Baby. Tricks.
Boobaby is a real goofball, but in ways that don’t stand out like the boy’s princess dress. Children are astoundingly singular creatures: every toddler I’ve ever spent time with says freakishly amazing things. The trick — that I’ve yet to learn well — is listening instead of talking, watching instead of looking, noticing not just the ruby red slippers on the outside (which, after all, his mom might have picked out) but the iconoclast inside them.