Cutie McSmilemuch

Look, my son’s cute. This is not my opinion, it’s simply a fact. He’s adorable, and everyone knows it. Including himself. He smiles at everyone, says ‘hi’ to most, and will do his best to be his cutest when he’s misbehaved.

Ian stands in stark contrast to his father. I was born with a cleft lip, and have had several surgeries to correct said deformity. While I’ve come to accept that I’m not classically handsome, I was more than self-concious about my appearance throughout childhood, and as a young adult. I still hate to have my picture taken.

As such, you can imagine how confident I was at approaching members of the opposite sex…or anyone else, for that matter. It took being married to an uber-extrovert and drama teacher for me to shove my anti-social tendencies aside.

My son has no such inhibition. Ever since he could lift his head, Ian has had a way with the ladies. He’s far from shy, and was flirting before he was crawling. Eyes wide, head tilted, corners of his mouth lifted slightly…women fall at his Keds. Last night, Ian got a taste of his own medicine.

Our waitress was cute, with blonde hair in a ponytail, [color] eyes – I’m a guy, what do I know from details? – and a soft, lisping voice. At first, Ian didn’t seem to notice anything unusual. He smiled, as always, said please and thank-you, as always, and quickly had Susie wrapped around his finger.

Ian seemed to watch her more closely as she took our order. By the time she reached Ian, he wasn’t saying anything. She asked him what he wanted – no response. Kelly gave him a little nudge, ‘Do you want the Funny Face?’ It was as if Mommy hadn’t spoken. Susie reached across the table to point at Ian’s menu. ‘That? Do you want that?’ Ian gave himself a slight shake and softly mumbled, ‘Yeah.’

A few minutes later, Susie returned to clean the table behind our booth. Ian’s eyes locked onto her the instant she was in his range of vision, and followed her as she crossed the room. Suddenly he sat straighter, frowned slightly, and took a deep breath. ‘You’re pretty!’ Susie collapsed into a heap under the table, her heart having been cleft in twain by my little Cupid. What she didn’t know, however, was that Ian had never said this to anyone. Ever.

Some might surmise that Ian had been simply trying a new weapon from his arsenal of manipulative cuteness. He did, after all, receive the biggest chocolate-chip pancake I’ve ever seen. But I know my son, and this exclamation was none of his doing. He had been captivated by Susie, and his compliment was no less than a revelation – a realization that could not be until it had been put into words. My son had experienced his first crush.

As Susie walked, beaming, back to the kitchen, Ian’s head followed as if it were tethered to her apron. ‘I see her! Mommy, I see her!’

Steady on, son. Steady on.

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