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Before my son even turned a year old, women fascinated him. Around the time he began interacting with people other than my wife, family and I, he’d smile at any woman that looked in his direction. Men, no matter how nice they were to him, would get either a blank stare or ignored altogether.

Once, during an elevator ride, Liam decided to show his admiration for a woman standing next to his stroller by reaching over and running a hand up her thigh and trying to touch her butt. I know he had no intentions of being a perv-in-training and so did she, but it did inspire one of our many baby-friendly talks about being a gentleman.

Liam flirted with women of every race, size and personal style from thots to bohemians. While helping me do laundry one afternoon, he saw a woman coming into the building with her groceries and he ran in front of her, smiled and gave her a thumbs up.

But it wasn’t until he met “Behbee” that he decided to become a one-woman man. Behbee is a seven-year-old girl who often plays in the lobby of our building. When Liam saw her, it was guppy love at first site. He ran over to her and hugged her, played with her hair and repeatedly called her “Behbe.”

It was adorable and “Behbee” was incredibly nice to Liam. She’d hold his hand and look out for him, making sure he didn’t try to eat hidden cigarette butts or pull his clothes off in an impromptu streaking event. Each time we’d run into “Behbee,” Liam would try to impress her with a new word he’d learned or by giving her one of the rocks he had found outside.

After a few play sessions with “Behbee,” Liam got more amorous. He grabbed her face with both of his little hands and planted a kiss right on her lips. “Behbee” shrieked, “Eww he kissed me on the mouth!” Liam danced around in a circle chanting “Behbee, Behbee!” The time after that, he ran into her arms and held her around the waist. This little dude was straight up claiming her as his boo. But this young love would soon become a new source of tantrums.

When it was time to go upstairs, Liam told “Behbee” goodbye as usual, then had a massive meltdown in the elevator. He pounded his fists against the elevator door screaming, “Behbee!!!!” I actually felt bad for a moment. It reminded me of that scene in The Color Purple when Celie was being separated from her sister. For a moinute, I thought Liam might fall to his knees and rip the shirt off of his chest in anguish. A pair of keys distracted him long enough to forget about his play girlfriend, so I thought it was a done deal.

Nope.

The next morning, Liam went and pulled out his favorite shirt and handed me his shoes. In his diaper, he grabbed his baseball cap and led me to the front door. Pointing at the doorknob he said, “Behbee.” Just to make sure that I completely understood the urgency of what he wanted, he put his finger to his lips and made the “Shhh” sound. It’s what I did to him the day before when he was screaming in the hallway, playing with “Behbee.”

When I told him that it was too early and Behbee was probably in school, he lost it again. Liam fell to the floor with arms stretched, “Behbee!” he cried over and over. We both got dressed and went downstairs, just to prove that I wasn’t some heartless authoritarian keeping him from his true love. Behbee wasn’t downstairs and he finally realized that she doesn’t live in the hallway waiting for his return.

I’d like to think that this was Liam’s first lesson in dating. Just because you’re head over heels over someone, doesn’t mean that they’re going to be available to you whenever you want. You have to enjoy each moment with that person and take the feeling with you after you leave, so that when you finally see that person again, there’s even more motivation to show them how much you appreciate being with them.

As I write this, my wife and Liam are walking in after hanging out together. “Behbee” was downstairs playing with another little girl. Now there are two “Behbees” and when Liam figured that out, he was saddened over not being able to go back to both of them. So, I guess the next lesson will be learning that it’s easier to keep one “Behbee” happy than multiple ones.

Stay tuned.

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