You've got your mother in a whirl....

so i have a friend who's got 2 boys - about 7 and 4 or so-ish... I'm not good at ages.
she asked me if I could watch them last saturday night and since I hadn't agreed to watch them in a while, I told her to bring them over...
the 7 year old is very rambuctious... he's all about fighting and climbing and running, etc. the 4 year old is this sweet kid who, last time he was over, spent much of the time swamped by my giant headphones, listening to the ipod... and dancing... he also went through all my nail polish (i've got roughly 40 different shades), asking me to read each of the colors out to him...
Obviously, the boys have different personalities... as they should... talking to my friend about her boys, i've noticed that she sometimes will refer to this difference with hesitation. She'll be talking about christmas decorations and how the younger one, N, helped her decorate, but she says it in a worried tone. Or how N helped her wrap presents or watches her put on makeup, and she talks about this with hesitation... last time she picked up the kids I said, 'N really knows his music! he knows singer's names, song names!' and she just nodded, looking worried....

basically, I know that she thinks N might be gay... because he likes arty things and music and 'gentler' play than the older one.
now - i'm no expert, but if he is gay, preventing him from liking these things won't change that, neither will encouraging him in these things somehow 'encourage' him to be gay... two separate things... i have a feeling her husband doesn't agree...

so last saturday, the boys arrived and played a bit, we went to the store where I got them some sort of collector cards that are all the rage around here, we rented a movie and came home. The older one started playing the wii... meanwhile, the younger one went right for the makeup bag full of nail polish i keep on the coffee table shelf... he opened it up and started taking each bottle out, handing it to me and asking me to read him the 'official' color name...
"Flamin' Fuschia" - i said to him, handing back to him a red one...
"Blushing Bride" - i said handing back a pink one...
"Midnight Ink" - a dark blue...
his big brown eyes would light up as he repeated the names, giggling...
After we went through each and every bottle (including the very inspired "Top Coat" and "Base Coat") he looked at me bashfully...
"Can you paint MY nails??" he asked....
now - this was an interesting moment... it's one of those crossroad moments where a kid kind of stumps you and you have to think fast- me personally? I have no problem painting his nails... would my friend care? probably... her husband? very likely...
My mind spun through these magic 8 ball answers...
in the silence, the older one teasingly calls out - "Haha! N wants to paint his nails!!"
So I said, "sure - I can paint your nails. How about this, I'll paint them, and then we'll just take it off before you go home today, ok?"
he nodded excitedly...
I told him to pick the colors he liked the best...
"Can we do designs?" he asked...
"Sure..."
then he looked at me, suddenly worried, "But we'll take it off before my dad and mom see ok?"
"ok.... N- there's nothing wrong with painting your nails, but we'll take it off since I don't have your parents permission and we didn't ask them if it was ok. That's why we'll do it, and then take it off... but there's nothing wrong with liking pretty colors... and nail polish isn't permanent so it's really not a big deal."
so he picks a different color for each nail and then asks for a different design on each nail - a stripe, white dots, a black heart... poor kid didn't realize that I am not a manicurist - but we make do...
one nail is a sparkly purple - he looks at it and gasps "Beautiful!!" we add a silver glitter stripe down the middle...
in between coats ("what's a coat?" he asks...and listens intently as I explain) he stands up and waves his arms around.. "That's how momma does it!"
when we're done he runs around the house looking at his nails...
we play a bit more and soon it's time for pj's....
"Let's clean off your nails...."
he looks sad as each nail is swiped clean with nail polish remover and a cotton circle... we get to the purple nail with the silver stripe.
"Maybe we can leave this one?" he asks...
"Would you like to keep that one?"
he nods.... hesitates... "maybe you should clean it. daddy would be mad..."
"there's nothing wrong with painting your nails but, yeah, usually, boys don't paint their nails. also, you're pretty young for nail polish anyways... let's paint these same designs on paper, that way, it's off your nails but you can still take them with you."
doe-like eyes immediately light up...
so instead of bed (i'm a total pushover) we spend another 20 minutes recreating the nail polish designs on a white sheet of paper...

an hour later, his parents came... back from their party, they came up for a drink and a chat before collecting the sleeping kids...
i sat with his mom on the couch discussing how her party went.. she eyed the white paper with the colorful circles on the coffee table... "N?" she asked..
"oh - yeah... he got into my nail polish so we decided to paint with it.."
she just nodded... looking worried...

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