I babysit for three families. Two of those families have 5 year old girls. They are teaching me different perspectives about how marriage works.
One of them, Lauren, likes to play princess, and she has me be the queen, who is either good or evil, depending on whether she is the mother or the stepmother. The plot that recurs most often is the one where Princess Lauren has to find someone to marry her or she will die.
Me: How come you'll die?
Lauren: Because that's what happens if you don't get married.
Me: I'm not married.
Lauren: That's because you're not beautiful. Only beautiful people get married. Maybe one day you will get married, and then you will be beautiful like my mom.
Usually, the game ends when Princess Lauren has gotten bored of lying still on the ground waiting for her little brother (Christopher, age 3) to man up and marry her. She dies and pouts for awhile, but he is too busy playing fireman to notice.
This weekend, I was cleaning up the kids' supper things when I heard this conversation between Tyler (age 8) and Grace (age 5).
Grace: You have too many girlfriends, Tyler.
Tyler: Yeah, well, you're in love with Joe.
Grace: I am not.
Tyler: Yes, you are. You want to marry Joe.
Grace: I do not.
Tyler: Then who do you want to marry?
Grace: I am not going to marry anyone until I meet him in college.
Tyler: But what if Joe goes to the same college you go to?
Grace: I still won't marry him.
Tyler: Grace! That's so mean! He'll be so sad!
The argument went on until Tyler showed me some of his favorite Feist music videos while Grace took a bath.
Tyler is 8, and he has favorite Feist videos. Maybe if he didn't already have so many girlfriends, I would wait and marry him.
I've got my car all packed with cassette tapes and sweaters and loose change and cheap cigarettes.