The boy is tow-headed, in the classic sense, his hair blonde in the way that you only see on young children. He crowds in to the park bench with his brother, who might have been a twin, and his small sister. They all stare at Baba, from ever-decreasing distances.
Baba, for her part, stares back at them. She hasn’t had much experience with children that can walk, and she finds them interesting, nearly as interesting as standing up. The girl, a curly-headed two-year-old reaches out to touch Baba on the face, while her brother repeats his question impatiently.
“Is it a girl or a boy?”
“She’s a girl,” I say, uncertain how to navigate this minefield of children. Near me, his mother shakes her head, while his sister pokes Baba in the cheek. “She’s pretty!”
“But she’s wearing blue!”
“Really?” his mother asks him. She stands a few feet away, ready to swoop in the second her daughter crosses a line. We had met just a few moments before, strangers bonded in a quick alliance against greater numbers. “Really? You know we’ve talked about–“
“I like blue very much,” I say quickly. “I’m a girl, aren’t I?”
“Yes,” he says, looking at his brother for confirmation. The other boy nods, shoving his hands into camouflage pants pockets.
“I would even say blue is my favorite color.”
He digests this for a moment, then speaks again. “But, are you sure she’s a girl?”
“Yes,” I say, laughing. “I’m pretty darned sure.”