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10:46 a.m. - September 30, 2005
Pre-School Crushes - Sigh.
The Montessori School went to a pumpkin patch the other day, and a good time was had by all. Of course, that’s all relative. Herding around 20 pre-schoolers in a pumpkin patch could be a one way ticket to Wild Turkey and Valium for some.

Liz was a chaperone and drove over to the patch along with another mother, her daughter Delaney, Kristin, and Katie of course. She put Kristin in a Baby Bjorn and at least had one free hand for pictures.

This is one of Katie and her buddy Sonny:

Earlier in the month, we had a parent-teacher conference at the pre-school, my first one ever as a Dad. I always had fear and loathing when my Mom had to go to parent-teacher conferences. I was at home, and inevitably when she got back I’d hear about it. Not the good things I was doing, but that I was:

• Talkative
• Loud
• Fidgety
• A know-it-all
• Did I say loud?

Now Katie is a high-spirited girl of 3 ˝, so I was expecting the worst. However, the teacher (who has a very calm, even keeled tone even when talking to parents) said that Katie was adjusting wonderfully to Montessori and had made some great friends. There’s Kate, Tayla, Delaney, and of course, Sonny.

In fact, Sonny and Katie always were together. In fact, they’re usually engrossed in conversations together, and this gets Sonny in trouble because he’s usually talking when it’s time to be quiet. Katie, of course, was already quiet, having said her piece.

Of course, it’s a woman leading the man down the road of perdition.

Sonny and Katie met this summer, at swim class. It was during one of the weeks I had off when Kristin was born (it was a cute class, but I was too wiped with sleep depravation to write about it). They were always chattering (and even then I noticed that Katie would chatter, then Sonny, and Sonny would get THE look from the instructor while Katie was all innocent and all. Smart girl, this one.)

Katie is definitely a talker. And I suppose this is a great example of nurture versus nature, as she’s living in the house with me, and I’m definitely not one to be quiet.

A great example of the nurture was at the parent’s mixer we had for the school. The kids were all invited (but some couldn’t make it) and I saw Katie chattering away and giving Tayla a big hug when Tayla had to leave (we hug a lot at home) and then I saw her basically dragging little Delaney around the room.

I know Delaney’s parents – they are very nice but quiet and reserved. I could just see Delaney being the same way, and for sure I could see Katie acting like the boss lady, telling Delaney to go here and go there. Because I’ve had Katie pull on my fingers, and she’s got the kung-fu grip, for sure.

Once when the school was walking to the playground, they were all leashed together (which is kind of cute to see, 20 little ones linked together so they do go single file) a friend of ours said that she saw Katie in line just chattering away to another kid.

We asked if it was a boy or girl. The friend said, “A boy. He looked like he was from India.”

It had to be Sonny.

So as to that picture above – I can only guess what Katie is saying:

• C’mon you big lug. I’ve got these two pumpkins and I want more!
• That pumpkin is going to look so nice on our table.
• There’s a sale at Penney’s!

(OK, probably not the third.)

So now I’m wondering if Katie and Sonny have this little pre-school crush thing going on.

I remember (ah, the Smed wayback machine, going full force) that in first grade I had a thing for this girl named Tina. We ALWAYS hung out together – so much so that we kept passing strep throat back and forth to each other. After first grade I moved back to the town and went to a different school. It’s funny, but Tina turned out to be totally different than I was in almost every way imaginable, but in first grade we were inseparable.

Then from third grade onward I had a couple of crushes on some girls, who actually turned into be good friends as we went along in school. At our 20th high school reunion last year, I introduced them to Liz saying, “These are the girls that I had huge crushes on in third grade!” Both of them smiled and said, “Oh, yeah. I remember! You dork!”

Yeah, once a dork…

(A paradigm shifting aside here – one of the things I kept out of my travelogue was driving through Hartford City, Indiana and seeing a high school classmate’s face on a ‘for sale’ sign as the realtor. That’s just weird. Ok, back to the show…)

I think it could be the case that it is a mini-crush. I ran into another mother of a pre-schooler at a nearby market after work (I walked over to get garlic bread for our dinner – chicken parm with no garlic bread is NOT a complete meal) and she was in there with her daughter Justice. She asked if I had reports from the pumpkin patch and I said that reports were positive and that Katie spent all day with Delaney and Sonny.

Basically, the mother acknowledged the Katie / Sonny pair and said that Justice hangs out with Rafael all the time.

If they ever change friends, then we’ve got the potential for a little Peyton Place here in Montessori land.

This is all sweet and innocent, of course, but am I ready for a potential boy / girl crush? Hell, no. I probably won’t be ready until she’s 35. I just wonder in about 12 years or so, how I’m going to act when the doorbell rings and a young man is waiting to take Katie out on a date. What will I do?

• Ask the young man about his school activities and classes he’s taking?
• Force him to take a 20-question essay test on pop culture, history, current events, and the sciences?
• Say nothing and seethe casually?

The good thing, though, is that Kristin and Katie are spaced enough apart (3 ˝ years) to avoid stealing the other’s boyfriends.

At least I hope so. Otherwise I’ll be in line with the pre-school chaperones waiting to buy my Wild Turkey and Valium.


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