Now What?

Because the weather has been spectacular in the evenings, and because all this week I have somehow managed to feed my children and myself (hint: cook lots on the weekend) AND get the kitchen cleaned up before 6 p.m., we been taking long rambling walks around my neighborhood.

The primary benefit of these constitutionals has been that my kids pass out at bedtime. Bun sleeps straight through, meaning if she loses her binky in the middle of the night, she has been too exhausted to notice. Monkey is back to her room, with a night light, the door open, and a gate up, and she is so tired, I think she falls asleep before she can plan her escape.

Secondary benefits include exercise for me, and meeting new people, like the family down the street with two girls (7 and 5) and a 2-year-old boy.

Some evenings, we stroll up to the church and convent, where they have a prayer labyrinth (by most standards, a dinky one, but still). The kids race around it while I pace slowly, usually as of late, thinking of Gabriel.

Other times, we walk down the street that branches off of ours. Over the past few months, I’ve been meeting my neighbors (finally, after three years — I’m not good at meeting new people). The couple at the bottom of the hill has a dog that the kids like to pet. There are lots of kids around, ranging in age from Bun at 19 months to a couple of young teenagers. They all hang out, play in one yard or another. I have met some of the parents, and after their initial shyness (well, Bun’s has been ongoing; she is the youngest by almost a whole year) the girls usually join in the activity. (Bun will pretty much do anything Monkey does.)

One of the children is Monkey’s new friend whom I wrote about here. I’ll just call him 7. Two nights ago, 7 was grounded, so we didn’t get to see him, but last night he was allowed out, and his sister, Bun, Monkey, 7, and I walked up to what they referred to as “the maze”.

As we trailed back toward home, 7 wanted to know if he could come over and play. I said no as it was bath time for the girls. So we were saying goodbye where 7’s street and our street met.

You would have thought Monkey was going to be separated from 7 for years and years instead of a day or so. She lagged, she pouted, she sighed; she even walked with him a little way down his street. As we walked up the hill toward our house, she kept turning around and waving. “‘Bye, 7!” she would call forlornly.

Shoulders slumping, she followed Bun and me. Heaving a great sigh, she told me, “I miss him.” She told me this a couple of times. I assured her we would probably see 7 in the next day or two.

Then she announced, “Mommy, I love him!” in a voice throbbing with emotion. Like the emotion a 15-year-old has when she’s been told she can’t see her 20-year-old boyfriend. I wasn’t expecting to hear that voice until she was at least verging on puberty.

I have no clue as to how to deal with a lovesick 3-year-old.

I can’t wait until the phase where she thinks boys are disgusting creatures with cooties. She will go through that phase, right?

Or (I ask again), should I send DearDR for that gun?