Dylan brought a new friend home for dinner the other night. A boy from school who was assigned to work with him on a project. A skinny 13-year-old with shaggy blonde hair and a batch of zits around his temples.
"Don't be weird or anything," the Kid said as he introduced the young man. "But his name's Tyler."
"Tyler!" I said with an amused smirk, "That's a very nice name.... I knew a boy named Tyler a long time ago. He was trouble. Are you trouble, Tyler?"
"Um, no ma'am," he said overly politely.
"That's good," I said, "Although a little trouble is good every now and again."
"Um, sure..." he said, confused.
"But not too much, you get me?"
"Um, yes ma'am."
"Don't call me-- on second thought, keep calling me ma'am. I'm starting to like it."
"Mo-om!" Dylan groaned in embarrassment. I have to admit it's very strange how comfortable he's finally gotten using that word around me, and how comfortable I've gotten responding to it. He ushered Young Tyler up to her room. I called up to tell them to leave the door open. I could tell they did, because the sound of Xbox was clear through the whole house.
I took some headache medication and started working on dinner until Kitty got home. He came into the kitchen and asked, with his brow a bit furrowed in that way that would almost be cute, "Who's up there with Olivia?"
"Her friend Tyler from school."
"Uh, yeah. Is there a problem with that?"
"Don't you think that's a little... I mean, aren't you worried?"
"Not really, he seemed perfectly innocent."
"That's--" he huffed, "How old is he?"
"Twelve, thirteen? He's in Dylan's class, so he's, you know... older, but you know how it is with the Kid."
"Now I am worried," he huffed, pacing the room with his hands on his scalp (he recently shaved it nearly clean.)
"Oh give it a rest," I implored, "You're makin' a fuss outta nothin'."
"You're not at all concerned about our kid having a b-- a boyfriend?"
"She has a boy, who is her friend. Big difference."
"At that age..." he grumbled, "You know how boys are."
"With a girl two years younger than him? I highly doubt it. Come on, Kit, don't be gross."
"I'm just being a good parent. I want to know who my little girl is spending time with."
"Come on," I said, "Dylan's smart, and he's not 'your little girl,' he's just our Kid. Older and smarter than he looks, and only ours for a short time. Not really long enough to..."
"I don't know," I said, "I just have more faith in him, or her, than you seem to."
He frowned and things got chilly or a while. I tried to switch the subject by mentioning that they were asking me to take on some new projects at work, put in a few more hours, because one of the girls up and quit and I have seniority. I feel like I can handle it - I came in with a bit of base knowledge and have made it my business to learn the ins and outs of what they do there. And it's a bit exciting to find a bit more purpose while I'm here, but that all seemed to roll over him.
Over dinner, we made pleasant small talk with Young Tyler, found out about his hobbies and what he likes about school, the sorts of things you can ask a 12 1/2-year-old boy. Seeing him sit next to Dylivia, I'll admit, kind of hammered home the physical age difference and made the prospect of them having more of a... romantic relationship (shudder) more creepy for me. It made me see Kitty's point of view, even if she is being characteristically alarmist.
But the way they talked was as peers, and it was the most engaged and active I've seen the Kid with anyone besides Meadow since we got here. And even including her, since Tyler - who seemed like he might not have too many other friends - brought out the Dylan side, the violent video game playing, superhero movie watching sometimes rough-around-the-edges side he may feel the need to suppress to make Kitty, his teachers and his peers happy. It was touching to see that Tyler could maybe almost see the person Dylan is inside.
Tyler's dad came to pick him up and we exchanged contact information. We were getting into bed later when Kitty returned to the subject.
"We need to tell Olivia she's too young to date."
I groaned. "She's not dating. She probably doesn't think anything close to that. She just has a friend, okay?"
"I just want to establish the ground rules. No dating until she's... I don't know."
"Until her body matches her mind," I offered.
"Well-put," he nodded.
"I have the same rule by the way."
"Judith, don't kid me," he said. I officially gave Kitty permission to refer to me as Judith in private just to keep things simple even though I've never let go of my real name and probably never will, just as I probably won't get around to changing him over to "Adrian" even though he gets the masculine pronouns now.
"I'm sorry honey," I said in a teasing pout and wrapping my arms around him. I leaned up and gave him a long, deep kiss, followed by a few shorter ones, and then another where his tongue worked its way past my lips.
He started to run his hand along the length of my thigh and up to my butt. He was making his way to my breasts when I pulled back.
"Not just yet."
"You're killing me, lady," he said, embarrassed.
I kissed him again. "It'll be worth the wait." We made out a bit more before turning off the lights, and then I could tell he made his way to the bathroom to masturbate and get it out of his system.
So, this is my life.
P.S. We told Dylan the next day about our little rule, and he got very upset. Not because he wants to date Tyler, I think, but more because it's his life and we're not supposed to tell him how to live it. He's a sharp kid but it's very hard to make even the sharpest kid see an adult's perspective sometimes. But we stood together on it and I'm pretty proud of Kitty and me for that. Holy shit, we might just be actually getting good at parenting together.