The Boy is having girl trouble.
The crux of the problem is that all of his friends are girls. He says, "Mom, the girls in my class are all so sweet. Why aren't the boys sweet?"
He's small. He's not an athlete. When the boys (or even the girls) start running around and playing, he just can't keep up. So he has other interests: art, science, and the occasional talk about dynamite and other explosives.
Last year, his best friend was a girl. She's great, and her sister is my daughter's best friend. All very neat and tidy at playdates for the four of them. But that girl wasn't always so interested in looking for bugs. Oh, she'd last a while, but then, eventually, she would ditch the Boy and go look for her sister and my Girl--to do some girl stuff.
This year, his best friend is a girl, but it's a different girl. A girl who can look for bugs for as long as he can (which is forever). She is sweet and has a huge smile and missing teeth. And she loves my Boy and draws him pictures when he is sick.
He still likes the first girl. She is still his friend. But she's jealous of the new girl, and the new girl is jealous of the first girl.
So they question him about who he will marry, and the first girl tells him he should marry who he loved first. But he says that he wants to marry the new girl because they love each other and have so much in common.
Despite all this love, he has expressed anxiety and dismay over this predicament. He doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But it's a problem. The girls, of course, have other friends, who are girls, from whom they do not expect such declarations loyalty and favoritism. But since his friends are girls, and he's a boy, he's supposed to pick just one.
I, of course, tell him that he does not need to decide who to marry yet--that he's got some time. I tell him to try to be inclusive--that they can all play together. But I realize that he is in a pickle. And I'm not even sure how to suggest that he navigate the triangle (which will, I'm sure, eventually become a quadrangle or pentagon or . . . well, you get the picture).
Fortunately, we have chances for him to spend time with both girls outside of school, which he enjoys, but, at school, it's tough for all of them. They are all great kids, and they are all struggling with how to deal with these very real feelings of friendship, insecurity, and anxiety.
And with all that going on, he's supposed to learn how to read?