Thursday, September 11, 2008


So tonight at bedtime, JH was in a super chatty mood, having just gotten a new computer game from Dad, and he was rattling off stuff about light sabers and such, when the topic shifted to school.

Okay, it didn't just shift. I said, "Let's talk about school." Because I can only talk about Star Wars for about 10 minutes before my eyes start rolling around in my head. He tells me about who he played with at recess, we talk about math, then he says "Mom, 'M' has a crush on 'S', because he has crushes on lots of girls, and sometimes he even kisses girls!" I ask him what he thinks about that, and he says, "I thought I'd better ask you what you thought!" So I told him I thought that it wasn't appropriate for second graders to be kissing, but that getting crushes was pretty natural. I told him that when I was in second grade I had a crush on twenty one boys. At once. He called me a slut and rolled over. NO HE DIDN'T - I just wanted to see if you were still with me.

ANYHOO, he giggled at my story, then I asked him if he had any crushes. He said "Oh, GEEZ, I KNEW you were going to ask me this!" He put his hands in front of his face and thrashed around like I'd thrown lemon juice in his eyes, then he said "I do have a crush!" I asked him who it was, but told him that if he didn't feel comfortable telling me he didn't have to. I promised not to say anything to anyone (you don't count, internets. he was TOTALLY talking about anyone at his school), and so he told me he had a crush on basically every girl in his class. I said "well, you know, crushes are really normal at your age, but you should just treat those girls like friends, because they ARE your friends, and you know, no kissing. It's just not appropriate for second grade". He promised me no kissing, and promised that he would just be normal around the girls, and focus on school. And he promised not to talk about s-e-x at school. Which is good, because he he only knows enough right now to confuse anyone who happened to be in his path.

Then he said "Mom, if I marry 'MK' (his friend who is a boy), like they do in California, would I have to kiss him?"
Me, without skipping a beat: "well, yeah. that's what married people do. if they're doing it right."
Him: "would I have to wear a ring?"
Me: "Yes, probably".
Him, with concern in his voice: "could it be a man ring?"
Me, in complete seriousness: "Yes."

a quiet moment, then: "Mom, who do you want me to marry?"

Me: "I want you to marry someone you love."
Him: "I know. But who?"
Me: "Whoever you love".
Him: "I know, mom, but WHO?"
Me: "YOU ARE SEVEN YEARS OLD! When you're old enough to know who you love, that's who I will want you to marry. But I have always wanted you to marry 'G' since you were babies*. But, you know, only if that makes you happy. GOODNIGHT".

I felt like I stepped into a lovely row boat for a gentle paddle on a quiet lake and wound up navigating Class 5 rapids.

Geez, parenting is interesting sometimes.

*And if you really need to know if I want him to marry 'G' because she's a girl, it's truly not that. It's because they are such amazing friends. But if he grows up and still wants to marry 'MK', because he would make him happiest, it will be a mom's wish come true for me.


Franklin5 said...

I love this so much... not just because I purely adore any retelling of the amazing things that come out of J-H's mouth...

... but also because I'm so darned grateful to have you navigating these choppy waters a few years ahead of me.

You make it all funny, reassuring and real... and I'm suddenly imbued with a sense of confidence that I can tackle it, too.

So... thanks.

Kari said...

"Which is good, because he he only knows enough right now to confuse anyone who happened to be in his path."


Me too!

*Lissa* said...

You are such a good mommy! I totally admire the way you handled that conversation!! ;o)

I, Rodius said...

I second what franklin5 said. I love my conversations with Thumper, which are mostly naming objects together. I love the way he says broccoli. But I look forward to hearing what his little brain will come up with, and I'm a little nervous about how I'm going to respond when he hits me with stuff like this. You're a trail blazer!

Amber said...

You are such a good momma&I feel the same way.I look forward to the day when Isaac asks me questions like about 6 years or;)

Give JH a big hug from us&tell him to use his Jedi mind tricks wisely;)

Anonymous said...

You know what I love? I love feeling like there is another mom out there who parents like I do. Because, shit, I've had one too many people react in HORROR when I re-tell conversations where I've told Bailey that it's totally A-OK with us if he marries a boy. They make it sound like I'm going to parenting hell in a handbasket. And no, this has not just been in Texas. Plenty of Rhode Islanders told me to "stop, it's not funny" when I talked about it.

Not even kidding.

I really wish you were close enough so that we could meet for a weekly cup of coffee and share funny JH and Bailey stories, and high five each other for being such progressive, open-minded, nurturing, accepting mommies. Because there's a lot of bigots breeding hate out there.

Yeah, that's right. I said it.

Robin Amos Kahn said...

Oh, my God, Annie, that is so funny and touching and I read the whole post to Zoe (and had so much fun reading it aloud.)

"Do I have to wear a man ring?"

I love that boy! And you too! Thanks for sharing!

Zoe reminded me about her second grade recess game with the boys. They had a game that was a combination of tag, dodgeball and Capture the Flag that involved quite a bit of grabbing, chasing, and dragging each other around. Boys vs. girls teams and they got half the schoolyard involved before the school finally banned it because too many kids were getting hurt. She just told me it was all her idea. Oy.

anniemcq said...

franklin5 & irodius: I have no doubt that you are going to handle these moments with ingenuity and flair and perfect comic timing. And I hope, hope, hope you'll let us read about it!

Kari: that's exactly how I felt during the conversation. it never ends, really.

Lissa & Amber: THank you for your kind words. As a mom, there's not a lot of applause, you know what I mean? And it means a lot to get a "job well done" from other moms in the trenches. And Amber (my niece!) you are such an amazing mom. Isaac is so lucky to have you raising him!

Tracey: I've got my coffee pot on. Seriously, though, I think the same thing at least once a week. "I wish Tracey lived down the street!" Until then, I treasure our internet friendship.

Robin: You are MY trailblazer. Zoe is such a great example of a mom's job well done. I'm so, SO glad I know you, and I love you dearly.

Catutes said...

Excellently handled. Thanks for sharing. It's always an adventure when the kid conversations take us down pathway's they choose. I love talking to my kids.
Here's to open minded parents!