Hedgehog has a crush. In fact, she tells me, a whole group of her girlfriends are having crushes, passing them around from child to child like a bad head cold. They’ve been confiding in each other, and she in turn confided in me. “Mama,” she said wistfully. “You have no idea how strong my feelings for him are.”
Well, I did have some idea. After all, there were signs: the constant chatter peppered liberally with his name, the singing aloud to “Son of a Preacher Man” over and over in her room.
I know she is only seven, but it really seems to come from the heart. After all, Sarge and I are not the sort of parents who tease inappropriately, “oh, is he your boyfriend?” at the first mention of a boy. We both abhor the use of that sort of suggestiveness, and presumption, with children. So she didn’t get the idea from us.
I wonder, though, if it’s genetic or something. I’ve always been boy-crazy. My first crush was in first grade, too, a desperate, inchoate love for my teacher, Matt. He had curly black hair and a fulsome ‘stache (hey, it was the 70s). He was a fellow grad student of my mom’s at Columbia University, so I got to see him once in awhile in civilian life, and what a thrill that was. His only rivals for my affection, and they did run a close second and third, were Kirk and Spock. Since those tender years, it’s been a steady stream of crushes, boys (and an occasional girl), then men, one after the other, ending with Sarge. Luckily, that crush has lasted…
Anyway, I wasn’t surprised to hear about the crush. I told her about “girl talk,” how much girls and ladies like to be together and share things that are on their minds, and that you could have girl talk with your friends and also sometimes with your mama. She seemed to like that, and she said, “mama, sometimes I would like to tell you things.” I knew what she meant, and I was very glad to hear her say it. I’m learning already that it’s better sometimes not to prompt with questions, but I figure it won’t hurt to remind her once in awhile that the lines of “girl talk” are open if she wishes.
And by the way, that's a hairpiece--a Hannah Montana hairpiece. We discovered it on a shopping trip, and both honed in on its gleaming glory as if of one accord--Hedgehog begged for it (although she hastened to remind me that she "hates Hannah Montana"--good girl) and I decided one is never too early to discover the great joys of a "switch." She proceeded to wear it all over the North Country--running around in the woods, picking wildflowers, tripping and falling into the icy lake water...where else, after all, does one wear a switch?