Little E is a different kid. He is not the average five-year-old. He is shy. He will ignore you. He will pretend that you are not there. He will make hand signals instead of speaking. He is scared to do a lot of things by himself. He is scared of the shower. He doesn’t eat a lot of foods. He has a big goofy smile that melts hearts if you’re lucky enough to catch it. He dances for no reason. He is the smartest kid that I have ever met.
For a while, my office at work was a converted kitchen. My real office was still being built. He was at the office with me one day, and he asked where his mom was. I said “She’s in my office”. He responded. “That’s not your office!” I asked him why it wasn’t my office. He said “It doesn’t have a computer in it!”
Yeah. He’s THAT kind of smart. The kind of smart that means it’s basically impossible to get one over on him. And he’s 5.
After that fateful brunch, I carted Little E off to go run errands. He was fully aware that Target, where I needed to go, had a very large toy section. And donuts. Lots of donuts. When we started to drive off, I asked him what school he went to. No answer. He had commandeered the sheet of bubble wrap that I have no idea why was in my car, and entertained himself while totally ignoring me. We had planned to go for toys and ice cream.
I asked him if he wanted to go for toys or ice cream first. No answer. I asked again. No answer. I told him that he would have to choose or we wouldn’t be able to do either.
In the smallest voice ever, he finally said “...toys.”
I looked back at him in the rear view mirror. He looked away. Still no good on the eye contact.
We got to Target and I let him out of the car. I told him he had to hold my hand before he would be allowed to walk across the street. He gave me his wrist. Close enough.
I got a cart and asked him if he wanted to get in. He nodded, and I went to lift him into the seat. He shook his head and hoisted himself into the place where groceries normally go. I shrugged. He is kind of tall for his age. Whatevs.
We started into the toy section. I don’t remember the last time I was in the toy section at a mega store. I know nothing about what is en vogue from the under 4-foot crew. This was like China to me.
We walked the aisles and he would stop and point at things. I would let him look, and he would put them back. Clearly not good enough. Finally, we happened onto these tiny little things called Squinkees. I had no idea what they were or what they were supposed to do. It turns out that they aren’y really supposed to do anything other than be really tiny replicas of bigger things like cars and super heroes for boys and animals and cupcakes for girls. They had them in a display case with the individually packed sets above. He stared at the display case and pointed to the Hot Wheels. I picked them up off of the shelf. Something tiny and obnoxious that my brother would have to clean up? A’ok with me! As I put them in the cart, Little E shook his head and pointed to the case again. Oh, he wants the Cars pack. Okay. That’s fine. I put the Hot Wheels back and got the Cars. Nope. He shook his head again.
Let me remind you that he had used one word so far for the entire trip. Everything else was gestures.
Little E started to make a sweeping motion over the entire display case. All of it. He wanted me to buy the whole thing for him. I said no. He had to pick one. He crossed his arms and pouted. “Okay. Then how about none?” He uncrossed his arms and pointed to two packs. Hot Wheels and Marvel characters. I told him to pick. He picked up the Hot Wheels. Then the Marvel characters. Both went into the cart. I said “One.” and gave him my best “I’m not a pushover!” face.
I’m also a liar.
He looked at me with his gigantic melon head and his big, adorable eyes and held up two fingers. He wanted two. And he was really flipping cute about it.
“Fine.” I said. “Two”.
He smiled a big cheesy smile.
He proceeded to get way more than two. He also got donuts. And chocolate milk. And wafer cookies. And a lego boat. And my dignity.
I am not exaggerating when I say that some of my best days end with a trip to see Little E. When you ask him for a hug, he turns around and gives you his back to hug. I think it’s quirky and adorable. He draws me pictures that hang in my office and are constant reminders of what a sucker he has turned me into. He got a 100 on his sight words test for Kindergarten, and it’s taped to my computer at work.
Seeing him always ends like this: I want him! Or one of my own! Now! Just let me take him home! Or give me one to like just as much!
I fully understand that kidnapping is against the rules, and his mother is not likely to want me to have him. That only leaves one option...
...AND I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW OKAY I AM WITH IT AT TIMES.
Blissful turmoil. I go back and forth with every passing day. Love, marriage and babies, right? Right?
Please help me.