Rattled: A 3-year-old boy's best friend is a rare find
Do you ever look at your 3-year-old son and think, what am I going to do with you? Consider this column an infomercial for a rare find not sold on TV.
Iâ€™m talking about the unstoppable playmate that is a 9-year-old girl.
Nine on girls is OK, but there is a symbiotic relationship between girls of that age and boys between 2 and 4. Take-charge girls, who read books like â€śAnastasia Krumpnikâ€ť by Lois Lowry and would rather have grass-stained knees than wear anything resembling Madonna in 1984, are genius when it comes to entertaining little boys. Itâ€™s not that they canâ€™t entertain little girls. You can make them, but they wonâ€™t take to it in the same way.
Iâ€™ve done my own little fish bowl observations at parks and playgrounds. Girls are fighting Betta fish, warring for roles in a â€śHannah Montanaâ€ť reunion â€” at every age, including adulthood.
Nine-year-old girls mommy little boys, and they are already juggling this role with career aspirations. At 9, I may have mentioned, that my friend Stacey and I were running a detective agency out of her bedroom closet. With the guiding influence of a hand-held flashlight and beneath a ceiling made up of tasteful outfits from the Young Girls section of Strawbridge & Clothier, we planned investigations in our subdivision and county parkland. When my neighborâ€™s grandsons were visiting, however, investigations came to a halt. Weâ€™d put together action figures, guide them on their little bikes, and chase them around the yard until the lightning bugs came out.
As a mother, watching these young girls play takes you back to a time when youâ€™d chew on the ends of your unkempt hair, play Twister without the nuisance of breasts, and look at a sweaty neck as a sign that it had been a darn good game of freeze tag. When one shows up around Elliot, Iâ€™m as grateful as I am for modern laundry facilities.
I first recognized this phenomenon at our friendâ€™s house when a neighbor girl was visiting. She was protective like a mother, but was already stockpiling that mystery energy source that would keep her awake at slumber parties a few years in the future.
I watched this lovely unicorn save a glass candy dish from smashing and keep a fridge magnet from being ingested. All the while her voice remained nurturing, her fawning effortless.
The kid could summon snack foods from the ether, I tell you. I thought, if sheâ€™s this good with me, imagine how much fun sheâ€™d have with my son!
We set her to the task for a while, never leaving the room. It was sheer delight. Do you know how long it had been since I spoke an uninterrupted sentence in an adult conversation? Whole thoughts and ideas were being exchanged among the grown-ups. â€śNovaâ€ť should have done a special on it.
This young girl built Lego towers like an ancient Egyptian and laughed as Elliot destroyed them again and again. When small choking hazards rose to the top of the block pile, she pocketed them. â€śNo, no,â€ť sheâ€™d say.
When she started carrying him piggyback, I began creating a mental scholarship fund for her. Oprah can keep her Flash Mob of 25,000 people. To me, what I saw was joy rising.
At the park the other day, a young girl weâ€™ll call Miss M took to Elliot. She had a dog and was helping Elliot throw the ball in a game of fetch.
â€śThatâ€™s my boy,â€ť she said at one point â€” to Elliot, not the dog. She had so much patience and seemed to genuinely be enjoying herself. I couldnâ€™t help thinking about her little brother, who was still under a year old. The age difference between them is a little too great, I fear, for him to benefit as much as Elliot.
The 9-year-old girl is a treasure with powers beyond her knowledge. How is it that somebody who is still in single digits can be a respected authority figure over my 3-year-old? I donâ€™t get that. But these young women have intuitive skills and employ a corrective psychology that should be written about in bestselling parenting books. Jane Goodall should watch and take notes. There is something cooking here that might revolutionize childcare.
I have one suggestion. If you witness this fairy play, pretend to be disinterested. If you hover too close, itâ€™ll stop, or youâ€™ll turn to salt. Something really bad will happen. Just let them be.
- Christine Lucas | Savannah Morning News
Christine Lucas writes about being a first-time mom and adventures with baby. Contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.