It started with a note in Tristan’s communication folder, the yellow laminated folder we send back and forth to school each day containing notes from me to his teachers in one direction and notes from the school, art projects, and homework in the other direction.
“Tristan, did you draw all these hearts?” I asked, admiring the page covered with a rainbow of carefully coloured hearts.
“No,” answered Tristan, barely looking up from his Lego.
I was about to conclude that the teacher accidentally put someone else’s artwork into Tristan’s folder when he continued, “(A girl in my class) drew that for me.”
“Ohhhh,” I said, biting back a grin. “And why did she do that?”
“I dunno,” he said, with distracted annoyance at my interruption of his Lego creativity. “She just did. She and the other girls are always bugging me. They keep asking me who I’m going to marry.”
On the days I drop Tristan off at school, I’ve noticed one little girl in particular goes out of her way to stand near Tristan. She doesn’t actually speak to him or look at him or otherwise acknowledge his presence, except that every time Tristan moves she quietly rearranges herself to be next to him again. Tristan is, of course, completely oblivious to her proximity and perhaps her existence. Men!
It’s been fun watching Tristan’s awareness of and tolerance of the girls evolving over the school year. At first, we heard about how the girls pester Tristan and his buddy to play house with them. While he seemed perplexed and annoyed by their attention at the beginning, as heart-covered notes have become more common the girls have been getting almost daily mention in the recounting of Tristan’s daily activities. He shared his crazy carpet with one for an afternoon of sledding, and was chosen by another to be her special helper when it was her turn to bring the attendance sheets to the office. And then, when we made up a list of classmates to invite to his birthday party last month, the girls actually outnumbered the boys invited by three to two. (Unfortunately, due to the record-breaking snow dump that weekend, only one of the five could attend — and it was one of the girls.)
The sweetest thing has been Tristan’s contribution to the flow of love-notes. When I asked him to make a thank-you card for the birthday gift he received from his classmate, I melted when he drew a picture of himself hugging the gift-giver on the outside and wrote (with no help from me) “I love you” on the inside. Then he made a similar card for two other girls in his class and insisted I send those to school for their communication folders, too. Six years old and already a player. That’s my boy!
The next day he made up two more cards, complete with drawn hugs and “I love you” inscriptions, and insisted I send them to school for his to best male friends. At least he isn’t shy with his affection!