March 12, 2013

Playground Kisses

So I’m walking up playground kissesto my 6 year old’s Kindergarten classroom, excited and happy to show up for the class party.  As I work more, I get more and more thrilled when I get to be at school things.  I still make it for most things, but it’s like an achievement when I show up, not a foregone conclusion. 


So I am in happy, involved, stay at home/working, idealist in freefall mom mode, when the class aide saunters up to me.  She’s a lovely lady, and I smiled brightly.  I do that for myself, thinking whatever comes next, the initial smile was from me, CC, the person.  The next emotion will be in response to whatever my 6 year old has done to elicit the conversation.  That will be from CC, the mom. 


I note, because it was the first thing I checked once I smiled, that she had a kind and loving look on her face.


“Mrs. Mac-N-Cheese (no one calls me that), I just want to let you know that Zoom and another little girl were kissing on the playground all morning.  We had to tell him this wasn’t allowed at school.  I just wanted you to know because they told me they are having a playdate this afternoon.”


“Oh, (big sigh) thanks for letting me know.  I will talk to him.”  I feel like that’s starting to sound cliché when I write and say that back to her.  My Zoom is a wonderful little boy with too much energy and enthusiasm for just about anything in front of him, but he does find himself with quite a few notes to mom. 


So all I heard was, “I told Zoom and little Beauty not to kiss AT SCHOOL.”  In fact, I almost heard, “I told Zoom and little Beauty to wait until they get to your house for a playdate this afternoon, where they can make out in his room, while I strategically sit outside the door to catch them, making ridiculous rules so they can’t touch at all…  and mostly because I am just meeting this mother and child for the first time.  I do not need inappropriate touching to be our first, and let’s be honest, our last meeting, all wrapped into one.  And then I think to myself, “You might be over-reacting.” 


So like the amazing disciplinarian that I am, I asked my little Zoom in the car on the way home.  “Son, is there anything you’d like to tell me about today?”


Zoom: “Nope.”


Me: “Nothing at all?”


Zoom:  “No, mom.”  (He never speaks in short sentences with space in between responses and new thoughts.)


Me: “Well, be super sure you tell me if there is anything because it’s best if I hear these things from you rather than your teacher.  You can get in trouble that way.”


(long pause for thought and speculation as to how much I really knew.  And much to my entertainment, yes, it’s wrong of me, I waited with a little smile on my face.) 


Zoom: “Well, I did get in trouble for kissing Beauty on the playground today.”


Me:  “Oh, you did?  Ok.  Well, probably shouldn’t do that at school, buddy.”


Zoom:  “Yep, that’s what Ms. Aide told me, Mom.  I told her we wouldn’t do it at school anymore.  I told Beauty we could kiss at my house this afternoon.”

My smiled faded for a moment and then reappeared with a stifled laugh.  Oh, that boy makes me smile.  Of course, that’s what he heard.  I knew what he’d heard.  I’d heard the same thing with my Zoom ears on.  It’s not that it was amazing that I knew.  But it does bring me a disgusting amount of joy when I know exactly what my child is thinking in a given situation.  I beamed and then finished the obvious thought.


“Well, sweetie, I don’t know if you need to be kissing at our house either.  I am not sure Beauty’s mother would appreciate that.  But I am glad you like each other so much.  Big hugs and love are never a bad thing.”


“Well, mom, Ms. Aide said we could kiss at our house.”


“Yes, dear, but I think you will probably have plenty to do.  Kissing is a good thing, but too much of it, and you won’t have time to play.”


“Okay, mom.” 


I am not sure he totally ruled it out at this point, but I hoped that I had steered appropriately.  I hoped that I had made a point without making it bad to kiss.  Kids used to kiss on the playground all the time when I was a kid, my husband reminded me, of course.  He was so proud of our little boy, kissing the girls on the playground.  And I smiled sweetly, knowing that had been a story to remember, to write down, and that would play out differently in four years, 7 years and so on.  Enjoy the kissing stories while you can, I told myself.  Kissing doesn’t make little grandchildren from teen parents.  Kissing at 6 is the good stuff, the stuff that doesn’t make you need to lock up your cute little boys.


I like kisses, even kisses on the playground, and at his friend’s house, but no way, no hell, no how at my house!  I could go to jail for that stuff!