Our 3-year-old daughter, Emi, is exhibiting some decidedly feminine behavior that is both cracking us up and scaring us to death. The trouble is this: she is seriously twitterpated over certain men and boys we know. Seriously. As in eyelash-fluttering, playful-smiling, casual-questioning, wanting-to-call-the-guy twitterpated.
I guess we saw it coming. We got to looking back for the first sign we had that our beautiful daughter is a natural flirt, and remembered an incident in a Mexican restaurant in Miles City when she was almost two years old. A married cowboy we don’t know well was seated near us, and from her position at the end of our booth, Emi could see him clearly. Throughout the entire meal she watched him and sent shy grins his way. Her attention was noticed and reciprocated. She could barely talk at the time, but managed to say this much, dreamily: “He… so… cute. He… think… Emi… cute.”
Emi has since moved on to members of the male species more readily in our social circle. She has had a heart-pounding crush on Beau’s coworker, Brian, for over a year now. (Their other coworker, Nate, is also a favorite, though probably more of a guy friend. But Brian… oh, that Brian.) When the cowboy crew is coming, she asks if Brian will be coming too. When Brian is here, she must sit next to him at mealtime. She takes him to the playroom to show him her toys. She captivates him with tall tales that don’t make any sense.
And the funniest part is, Emi has figured out how to call Brian using Beau’s cell phone. We don’t have cell phone service here at the VX, but we travel with the cell and often find ourselves letting the two little girls play with it in the pickup to keep them distracted so we can get through the day. This is obviously not a good idea, because they just jam on buttons until they accidentally call somebody and then we have to wrangle the phone out of the backseat and explain to whoever’s on the other end that we (yes, stupidly) were letting the girls play with the cell phone again. But here’s the kicker: 9 times out of 10, Emi manages to call Brian on the cell phone. She doesn’t necessarily talk when he answers; I guess she just wants to hear his voice. How does she do it? She doesn’t know her letters or numbers. Is his speed-dial code just an easy one to punch in? If it was anybody but Brian, it would just be a mildly interesting coincidence. But because it’s Brian, Emi’s first crush, we see it as more proof that the baby we brought into this world is blossoming (much more quickly than anticipated) into a giggling, eye-rolling, hair-twisting, flirting GIRL.
We felt pretty safe (until recently) because Emi seemed to focus her interests on much older men; Brian, for instance, has two sons right about Emi’s age. But then we attended our 12-year-old nephew’s baseball game, and she came home talking (continually) about two of the players, boys we barely know named Logan and Brayden. In fact, last night Emi “read”aloud to me from a “book” called “Big Kids Love Little Kids,” in which Brayden came to our house for Emi’s birthday and we played baseball in the yard and had birthday cake “and Emi cleaned her whole plate.” Yes, I can remember dreaming those sorts of dreams. But when I was three?
Additionally, about two weeks ago, a young cowboy named Garrett ate lunch at our house after a morning of work with the crew. Ignorant parents that we are, we didn’t even know she noticed him. But never underestimate what they’re taking in. A couple days later, and completely out of the blue, she asked us some casual questions about Garrett, calling him by name. Is he a good cowboy? How old is he? Is he a (drum roll) teenager? Where does he live? They were the look-of-innocence, pretending-to-be-uninterested, grin-tugging-at-the-corners-of-her-mouth sort of questions you’d expect from a much older girl… one interested in a certain boy and wearing her heart on her sleeve, being much more transparent than she can begin to realize.
Yet here we are with a 3-year-old, and she is definitely interested in boys. It seems to be an innate response in her! It’s an interesting glimpse into the birds and the bees and other ways of nature, into God’s wonderfully bewildering creation… and also into the fact that we had better batten down the hatches: because she’s going to be a teenager entirely too soon.
© Tami Blake