Tuesday, April 04, 2006

That boy!

Not long ago Allison, recounting her day at school, mentioned that a little boy had pulled up her skirt at recess and that she and G. proceeded to chase him. She told the story with an enthusiasm I recognized as delight for the horseplay of friends and the newfound naughty feeling of being discovered by the opposite sex. But, Robert--he saw it competely different.

"What boy?", he gruffly demanded. Was he in her class? What was his name?
"I don't know," she said. "Their names all sound alike--Alonso, Alfredo, Alejandro, Francisco."
Then he entered into a stern lecture on propriety.
"That's not right. You don't let a boy get away with that. Boys shouldn't be doing that kind of stuff. They've got to know that's wrong early on. You can't let them grow up thinking that kind of thing is okay. I don't like boys like that; they grow up to be bad. When a boy does that you go tell the teacher and get that boy in trouble. The next time a boy does that you'd better bop him good or tell the teacher on him. NO, bop him and tell the teacher...."

I kept looking at Robert trying to determine how much he was believing what he was saying and how much he was performing to get his unequivocal message across to his daughter. I could not tell. I sat in an amused silence while he finished his rant and watched Allison's expression go from gleeful to stunned worry. I think we were both surprised by his gusty reaction to what we saw as goofy playground mischief. So we did what smart wives and daughters do. We gave the "yes, sir" attitude and hoped the matter would drop quickly.

This weekend Allison and I went to Pepe and Martas for dinner, the usual, a casual gathering outside around the grill. A young couple that Robert and I really like arrived with their three young sons. He is the town banker, and she a beautiful former schoolteacher. Their oldest son, a handsome boy, name ending in -o, is in Allison's class. Oh we need to get these two together to play. "-o, you know Allison, right? Allison, you know -o?" They both nod, shyly. How cute. We all smile. When everyone's gaze is off of her Allison leans into me and timidly whispers, (you guessed it) "That's the boy, mom."

I don't think I'll mention that little discovery of "that boy" to Robert when he returns from America next week. We got the message clear enough the first time.

No comments: