19 April 2010

Go back to the shadow!

I was walking with my son the other day, as we are often wont to do, and we passed a couple of girls a little older than him (he's four) riding bikes in their driveway. I must not have noticed them, being that we were walking in a somewhat narrow alley and I was on the look out for runaway cars and marauding stray dogs, so I heard him say something. "What did you say, bud?" I asked him.

"I wasn't talking to you," he replied only with a tone ever so slightly indicating that I should have known that.

"Oh... who were you talking to you?"

"I was saying 'Hi' to those girls over there."

"Did they say 'Hi' back?" I inquired.

"No. They didn't." He said with a hint of disappointment.

"Well, maybe they didn't hear you," I said. He was a little sick and had probably mumbled.

He looked at me sort of doubtfully, and then asked, "Dad, what does it mean when girls don't say 'Hi' to you?" What a question. The right answer wasn't to laugh at him, so I explained again that maybe they didn't hear him, or maybe they were just shy, without going into the intricacies of what it means when girls don't say 'Hi' to you.

My own wife, when we first met, only said 'Hi' to me out of Christian charity. Any normal girl would have probably have averted her gaze, taken a few hesitant steps backward, and when she thought she was a safe enough distance away, spun on her heel and bolted for the nearest guard shack.

Certainly, very small children don't have this complex interplay in their social exchanges like grown people, but it made me think of the day when the opposite sex would become significant in our house. The fact that I have two daughters escalated that future pondering to acute paranoia. Any boy who has intentions of dating my daughters is going to find in me the veritable walls of Jericho, or Gandalf the Grey shouting, "You shall not pass!!!"

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