It's official. Rollie is girl-crazy.
Yesterday I was without a car, and so I decided to walk to our neighborhood pool in the morning so that we could make it home before the heat of the day resulted in our collective spontaneous combustion. Rollie rode his bike in front of me, Elsa was strapped into the jogger, clad in her favorite (hand-me-down and hence too big and baggy) Dora bathing suit.
As we neared the pool, I heard splashing, giggles and squeals coming from over the privacy hedge. Rollie, who had been pedaling vigorously so he could splash through a dirty puddle, came to a halt, eyeing the hedge with wary yet keen interest.
Rollie: Who was that?
Me: I don't know, Bud. Sounds like someone beat us to the pool.
Rollie: Are they friends?
Me: They aren't friends we know, but that doesn't mean they can't be our friends.
More splashing, squeals and giggles. The tone and timbre telling me that these friends were most definitely female. Which I think Rollie also realized, because I could have sworn he puffed up his chest a bit, sat a little taller on his bike, and started pedaling toward the sound. Kinda like how a peacock would, if peacocks rode bikes with training wheels.
We entered through the gate. Floating around in the pool were three girls a few years older than Rollie, splashing and swimming and communicating with each other in that strange, dolphin-like language only understood by other, six-year-old girls. They stopped and looked over at us as I wheeled Elsa into the shade and unloaded the stroller, then started whispering and giggling. Rollie stood there in his bike helmet, deflated floaty ring in hand, and stared.
Me: Come here, Rollie. You want me to blow up your ring?
Rollie (tossing the ring on the nearest table): I don't need it, Momma. Can I jump in?
Me: ...Sure. Go for it.
I watched Rollie strut, strut, to the pool and do a giant cannonball, spraying the trio with pool water and sending them squealing to the other side. How a four-year-old boy even knows how to strut is beyond me. The only time I've seen him come close to strutting is when he really has to use the potty, and even then it's more of a frantic, stiff-legged shuffle. This was a bonafied, confident, Hey Ladies, Never Fear, The Pre-School Equivalent Of David Hasselhoff Is Here strut. Ay-yay-yay.
Unfortunately for Rollie, the girls seemed more interested in Elsa. Elsa, who just bobbed around the shallow end in her water wings and couldn't have cared less as the girls circled her and asked her her name. Rollie floated beside me, watching.
Me: Why don't you introduce yourself?
Rollie: You do it, Momma.
Me: Don't be shy. Just swim over and say Hi, my name is Rollie.
Rollie: You tell them.
Me: Rollie, they'll play with you if you just go over there.
I don't know why I lied. I had no idea of these girls would accept him. Girls this age are a strange breed. It seems like they are just beginning to understand the power they have over little boys, but are completely ill-equipped to wield it correctly. Like when a superhero just realizes he can fly, leap over buildings and see through the clothing of unsuspecting women.
But Rollie took the bait anyway. As the girls swam around the pool, clicking and squeaking in that dolphin tongue, Rollie dog-paddeled just on the periphery, hanging onto every squeal, laughing, splashing, and ultimately insinuating himself into whatever odd, law-less game they came up with. At one point they aimed a question directly at him, asking how old he was.
"Four!" He replied, then screamed and disappeared under the water, swimming away like a frightened mer-man.
A few minutes later, the gate opened and three more little girls came skipping toward the pool. Rollie's face absolutely lit up. The whole scene was starting to take on the feel of a beer commercial for four-year-olds. I half-expected a hidden radio to start blaring Beautiful Girls.
There my baby boy was, floating in a sea of estrogen, surrounded by six females (well, seven if you count Elsa, who was uncharacteristically quiet and tolerant of her waterwings). I had only intended to stay at the pool an hour, but I felt bad dragging him away from what was apparently right up there on his Top Five Greatest Moments Of All Time, right after the first time he saw the Magic Kingdom Castle, and right before the first time he realized that he could pee standing up.
And so I watched him for another hour, mentally shaking my head at some of his pick-up lines (I can do a hand-stand. Want to have an underwater tea party? Want to see how long I can hold my breath?) and laughing to myself as he donned his swim mask and swam around under the water, no doubt watching the girls from a new angle and wondering how it came to be that he scored such a jackpot this day.
Eventually I did have to cut the fun short so we could walk home before it rained. And before Rollie asked if they wanted to play with his torpedoes (pun obviously not-intended on his part, but I couldn't risk the suggestion being made in front of other adults I don't know very well).
I suppose this is just the beginning of a looooong, complicated and often-times heartbreaking journey of Rollie's interaction with the opposite sex. I can only imagine the conversations that lie ahead, the advice he will seek, the possible tears he will shed and the giddiness he'll experience. Hopefully Elsa will be a good resource for him--unless he starts mackin' on her friends. Or his friends start mackin' on her. Geez, is mackin' on even still a phrase people use? I am so not ready to have teenagers.