Boo has a crush. On an older boy too. He’s 10. I don’t know if the feeling is mutual or even if he knows she exists beyond her working next to him in cookery club. He did give her one of his biscuits the other week though, which is when her infatuation started. Food isn’t only the way to a man’s heart. A girl’s head can be turned by a boy who can cook. It was what won me over with my first boyfriend too. It was just a shame he turned out to be a manipulative bully. All be it a manipulative bully who knew his way around a kitchen.
But thankfully the object of Boo’s affection seems more adorable all round. According to Boo, he’s sensible ‘which a lot of boys aren’t – instead they’re just silly and mess around all the time’ (how true – and not just the little boys, but the grown-up ones too). And he’s good at helping. He sounds like a keeper to me!
Now, Valentine’s isn’t as big a deal in the UK as it is in the States. But according to Boo’s learning journal they’ve been discussing love in class. So last week she wondered if she might get any Valentines, especially from her would-be boyfriend.
Experience has taught me to assume that any occasion that requires a card probably hasn’t registered on the mind of a large proportion of the male population. It also seemed likely that even if the unsuspecting lad was geared to making a Valentine’s statement it would more likely be to a girl in Year 6 than to one in Year 2. Ultimately it seemed unlikely that a card would wing its way from him to her. But I didn’t want her to be heartbroken at the prospect of a snub. So I sent her a card myself. Slipped into her school bag with the same sleight of hand that’s exchanged tooth for coin and filled stockings hanging on bedposts, she was genuinely taken in and over the moon.
‘Oh no! They’ve only signed it with a question mark. That’s going to make it harder to work out who it’s from.’
(Well, obviously! Surely that’s the fun? And it means I haven’t, actually, technically lied. The same as I haven’t technically lied about Santa. I’ve told her stories about Santa, but his name never appears on the presents. She just puts two and two together and assumes it was him.)
But the question mark means that we’ve had an evening of her doing a 6-year-old’s version of detective work. It had to be someone who could get to her school bag. And a boy. (I thought I’d save the ‘girls can love other girls’ talk for another time. Although hopefully I won’t be put in the same position as I was when the twins were 10 and I was asked ‘Mummy, what’s a lesbian?’ As we walked down the High Street!) And it can’t have been Daddy because he always puts him name. The boy from cookery club is in the running and she’s smitten.
Luckily there’s no school next week so, hopefully, she won’t confront him when they next meet. There’s no chance of Santa ever stopping by to say ‘Actually, I never put those presents under your tree,’ so it’s ok to allow her to attribute the credit to him. (No, Santa is always happy to take the credit for others’ work.) But if Boo confronts her supposed Valentine and he (understandably) denies all knowledge she’d be gutted. A week of half term fun should be enough for the card to be forgotten about.
Although if she does ask him and he says no, the question mark still allows her the satisfaction of knowing someone out there loves her. Which is true. I love Boo, unconditionally to the bottom of my heart, just as I do all my children. And loving and being loved is what Valentine’s is all about, isn’t it? And if that question mark makes it more exciting, then all the better. Because it doesn’t take long for the excitement to become tainted with angst and then, even worse, expectation and mundanity.
I wish I had the same excitement as a 6-year-old. Long may it last for Boo.
❤ Happy Valentine’s Day ❤