My lovely wife spent the day helping her best friend with the FORMS OF DOOM doom doom. To facilitate this battle with red tape, I took our son Hootiebird out for some time at the park and some grocery shopping. The park trip was entertaining, as he soon made friends and played madly.
At one point a six year old boy, two years older than my son, watched him climb some playground equipment and commented to me, "He's a monkey! He's FAST!" He proceeded to, on and off, play with Hootiebird, playfully competing with him. The kid was pretty nimble himself. I got the impression he was just enjoying playing with someone at a similar level of physicality who just wanted to PLAY. His older sister was also there and she seemed very dismissive and critical of her younger brother.
Later on, Hootiebird was playing with two kids, a ten year old boy and his seven year old sister. They played on a tire swing but after a while Hootiebird got off, saying the swing was too fast for him. Once off, he went off to the side, sat down and watched the two play. I noticed he was sighing heavily every now and then.
"What are you thinking?" I asked.
"Nothing," he replied.
"How are you feeling?"
"Why are you sad?" I asked.
He sighed heavily, something that seems to come naturally to him as opposed to being an affectation. "He has a little sister, and I don't."
The lad is shameless in his petitioning for a younger sibling.
Grocery shopping started off just fine. Hootiebird was recognized by one of the women at the deli counter. She used to see Hootiebird each morning when she rode the bus when she was in high school. She remembered her interactions with him fondly and she lit up when he waved and said "hello."
Later on he convinced me to get him a large, inexpensive, "Hello Kitty" activity book. He was vibrating with excitement as he flipped through it, excitedly pointing out every new thing. At one point he grabbed my hand, pulled my hand down and said "Daddy! Daddy! look at this!"
I looked. "It has some dot-to-dots" I said.
"YES!" he called out excitedly. "It has number lines!" Clearly this book was a tome of wonder for the lad.
It was while he was babbling away with excitement and I was encouraging him that I noticed some motion in a reflection out of the corner of my eye. I glanced and noticed a woman who looked like she was trying to see something to my left. Noticing Hootiebird and I were pretty close to the eggs, I moved aside a bit so she could get at whatever she wanted. I went back to Hootiebird, who still had a tight grip on my left hand, when I saw a set of keys skid across the floor from behind me and stop a good yard past my cart. I looked behind me and noticed the same woman looking not at the food beside me, but at me.
Hootiebird released his grip on my hand to turn around and look towards the keys. In so doing he uncovered my wedding band. It was at this moment that the woman's face went from curiosity to sour disappointment. It was a very sudden and obvious transformation. She apologized for dropping her keys and casually walked around me to retrieve them.
When I told Whuffle about this later she commented, "You were being checked out."
"I really should blog this," I said, "We might get a few male friends offering to babysit him for free if we do."
"He's a major vector for baby rabies," Whuffle sagely concluded.