Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chasing Boys

Natalie has discovered a new game at school, a very simple concept that has probably been around for generations: chasing boys. It’s the two words a dad doesn’t want to hear, but since I remembered being chased by girls in elementary school—and seriously not wanting them to catch me—it doesn’t concern me too much.

I suppose activity such as this was bound to start happening, but it is all innocent and fun.

This is really the first time in her life that she has spent any lengthy amount of time with boys and perhaps their novelty is interesting, but it is fascinating to watch her perception of the world develop and she starts to understand more and more about how to interact with other people and what is expected of her. How exactly she came to start this game is unknown but I suspect it originated with a new friend she meet a couple of weeks ago, Annette or Analese or something, because soon after she announced her new friendship, boy chasing became all the rage.

When Matthew and I pick up Natalie from school, there is that idle 10 minutes I have to wait until the teachers let out the kids, and during that time the other moms and I exchange passing pleasantries about our kids and school life. A couple of weeks into the school year, one of the moms told me that her son thought Natalie was “hot” and I noticed that he would always say good bye to her after school. Lately, another little boy has been yelling good bye to Natalie from across the front yard of the school, and when he can, he’ll run on ahead of his mom to give Natalie hug. Today, he must have noticed Natalie collecting leaves—as both Matthew and Natalie find some interesting leaf to take home with us most every day—and he ran up behind her and presented her with a nicely colored plum leaf. It we were in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and there was snow on the ground…and it was 1910, it would have been a Norman Rockwell painting.

It was pretty cute. She said thank you rather nonchalantly and elusively went about her way.

But chasing boys, that’s where the excitement is. Once in the truck and on our way home, I asked her how her day was, and she never tells me anything academic, unless it is a new library book or if they went to the computer lab. Instead, she exalts upon me her exploits on the playground and her new favorite pastime.

“What did you do today?” I asked, expecting to hear that she learned about a president or that she wrote a letter to Santa (in public school?) or that she can now properly use the quadratic equation. Instead, I hear this:

“Chased boys!” she exclaims with a gleam in her eye!

“What did the boys do?” I asked.

“Oh, they ran.”

Up until today, she hadn’t caught any, as she says they’re very fast and “tricky,” but I still ask her every day what she’ll do if she catches one. Today was that day.

“Today I caught one!” Natalie announced excitedly.

“What did you do with him?”

“Let him go.”

So, it appears the thrill is in the hunt, which is good to hear, but it is also fun and exciting to hear that she is having such a good time at school, that she is well adjusted to the schedule, that she has many friends and appears to be well liked by everyone. The social aspect of Kindergarten was my biggest worry, as I knew that she could handle the work with no problem.

Because let’s not forget that she’s at the top of her class. I mean that literally. She’s in a reading group all by herself because nobody can read as well as she can. It’s her and the teacher reading books for second graders.

On the playground, it’s every boy for himself, so I’ll pick up worrying again when the boys start to chase her.

1 comment:

Ryan or Kara said...

Natalie has grown up with boys as her best friends. It really wasn't until preschool last year that she played with girls and declared her best friend as Peyton. Oh, and today she actually caught two!


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