The disappearing little boy

They just refuse to stay little.

I knew it was coming. Boy #3 turned 8 in August and even though he’s just in the 2nd grade, he is transforming from little boy to plain ol’ boy right before my eyes.

Darn him.

It started with him talking about a girl he likes. Okay, I know some boys have girlfriends as soon as they walk through the preschool doors, but Boy #3 has never EVER mentioned girls in that context, which I was more than okay with; I’m surrounded by enough testosterone in this house as it is. But a few weeks ago he got into the van after school, and I could tell that something was up. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me, “I have a crush.”

The words that melt and break a mom’s heart, all in the same instant.

Not understanding why this would make him sad, I probed further. Apparently, rumor had it that Crush had kissed one of Boy #3’s friends one day in the friend’s treehouse! And apparently Boy #3 did not have much experience about how fickle these second-grade romances can be, as evidenced by his next statement:

“Now I’ll NEVER get married!!”

I still don’t think he’s over that one, although Crush has since been playing football with Boy #3 at recess and calling him “Nicki Minaj,” which is apparently hilarious if you’re 8 and is obviously her way of flirting with him. And even though I’m sooo not ready to delve into the trials and tribulations of primary-grade romances, I was encouraged when Boy #2 asked him if Crush was beautiful, and Boy #3 said, “No. She’s not beautiful. She’s nice and funny, and I guess she’s cute.” So far, he’s got his priorities straight, I’ll give him that!

So after realizing that Boy #3 was starting to break out of his “little boy” shell (and dreading it), my heart broke a little bit more this morning. Let me preface this by saying that Boy #3 has not shown much interest in sports yet, which we are fine with. He pretty much walked behind all of his teammates in soccer, visited with whoever would talk to him on the baseball diamond and at wrestling club — he lay on the mat and refused to get up. (This was especially awesome since his dad was the coach.) He’d rather make-believe he was fighting monsters or evil ninjas than obey the rules of sports, and we wanted him to be able to stay a little boy as long as he could.

But yesterday morning, I saw my little boy grow up some more. He asked me to turn on the TV while he ate breakfast (in the living room, of course, because I’m THAT kind of mom), so I pressed the power button the 12 buttons on 3 different remotes to turn on the TV, receiver and satellite. Husband and Boy #2 had stayed up watching football the previous night, so ESPN was still on. As I got ready to change the channel to Cartoon Network for “Ninjago” or “Pokemon,” I heard these words come out of Boy #3’s mouth:

“Wait, Mom, leave it on Sports Center.”

And just like that, my little boy is no more.



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