Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Marriage, Parenthood, and Frosted Flakes

Lunchtime today was interesting, to say the least. Sharing the snack bar with two five-year-olds and one three-year-old proved to be both informative and entertaining. As usual, they talked while I served them lunch and listened, hoping my constant grin wasn't too obvious.

Today, the topic was marriage.

"Remember you're going to marry me?" the five-year-old neighbor boy asked.

"I've decided I'm not going to marry anybody. I'm just going to have kids," my five-year-old daughter answered with complete seriousness as she leaned her chin in her hand, resting her elbow on the counter.

As hard as I try not to intervene during conversations such as these, I couldn't help myself this time. I felt I had to clarify a very important point. "Well, actually honey, if you want kids, you need to be married first."

"Yeah, you're going to have to be married," the neighbor boy said with new determination. "You're going to have to marry me."

"No!" I think my young daughter was feeling trapped in this relationship. "I don't have to marry you."

Worried her comment may have come over a bit harshly, I gently reminded her that just last week she told me she was, in fact, going to marry this very boy.

"I've changed my mind," she stated matter-of-factly. Now I'm going to marry Wyatt" (the neighbor boy who lives behind us).

I watched her newly cast-off beau intently, hoping his feelings wouldn't be crushed. Then, in an effort to smooth over the rejection, I said, "Well, the good news is you don't have to decide today. You're only five. "

But the matter was not closed. My daughter must have finally found a bit of her conscience because she suddenly thought it important to find someone for her friend, and she began naming girls in the neighborhood.

"No. I know who I'm going to marry," the undeterred boy said. I could tell he wasn't about to let her boss him around or have a say in his future at this point. "It's that girl that lives over there," he said pointing. I thought it quite amusing he didn't even know her name.

"Sarah?" my daughter asked.

"Yeah. Sara. I'm going to marry her." I couldn't help but wonder if Sarah knew anything of this impending union, or Wyatt either, for that matter.

The topic seemed to fade while the kids leaned over their cereal bowls, slurping up their lunch of Frosted Flakes. And then, just when I thought the marriage conversation was over, my three-year-old son looked at the two other kids and said,

"I'm going to marry Frosted Flakes!"

We all threw our heads back and laughed.

The rest of the mealtime consisted of the three of them explaining why being a mother is so easy and being a dad is so hard (according to my daughter), and vice versa (according to the neighbor boy). I just listened with a constant grin, reveling in simpler days when I too was young and naive.

Lunch finally ended and we loaded into the van to head to preschool, but I couldn't stop thinking of wonderful life must seem to five-year-olds. They're sure they have everything figured out. And if five-year-olds possess a unique outlook on life, three-year-olds have it even better. So, although I'm pretty certain my little guy will never actually grow up to marry some cereal, I just have to say, I will never eat Frosted Flakes with the same perspective again!


Melanie said...

So Cute! One of my mom's best memories is my older brother declaring his love for crunch berries.

Brian and Rebecca Nate said...

I can see your little ones being so cute. They have the best personalities. It's nice when you can sit down with your kids and just listen once in a while. Hope all is good with you guys. See you in a couple weeks!

Parker-Delgado Family said...

How hilarious! I can picture the whole thing in my mind. I hate to say it but I think you may have your hands full with that 5-year-old when she gets old enough to date! I feel sorry for the boys!