I was planning on writing this blog post, in say, four years. When I'm ready for it. But my boy is not going by my timetable, and I am having to bring my A game way early, and I'M NOT READY FOR IT.
It's been happening in fits and starts this year: "A. was kissing M. in the boy's bathroom". "A" is the delinquent that lives down the street that JH occasionally played with until I decided he wasn't the kind of kid I want him hanging around with and I'm the mom so there. So we talked about how inappropriate it is to kiss a) at school, and b) in second grade and c) the bathroom is just tacky. I didn't say anything to the teacher at the time, because "A" is full of baloney and I didn't really believe it.
Then JH developed a huge crush on a girl in his class. I know her mom (he goes to their house once a week after school while I work late), and they're pretty straight arrows, so I just sort of listened while he pined about how pretty she was and how she didn't like him and bossed him around. He said he really wanted to kiss her and marry her someday. I said "well, someday, when you're older..." and left it at that.
A few weeks ago, he started talking about a little girl in first grade. She was new to the school, and took a shine to Joe-Henry. She followed him around every recess, and he talks about her all the time now. Today when I picked him up after my late work day, as soon as I started the car and pulled away from the curb, he declared from the backseat, "Mom, "J" says she wants to be my girlfriend, and that I am her boyfriend. I really want to kiss her, so I'm going to, I don't care what you say!"
And, I'm breathing, innnnnn annnnnd ooouuuuttt, slowly, evenly, while my eyes get all blurry and I struggle to keep looking straight ahead with my hands on the steering wheel.
"No, that's not okay, Joe-Henry. You are both too young. Kissing is not okay in second grade. She can be your friend, you can play with her, but no boyfriend-girlfriend stuff until you're older."
A tantrum ensues, and I wait to re-engage until we get home, and I can sit calmly and look him in the eye. So I encourage him to tell me exactly why he wants to be able to kiss her and this is what he says.
"Because Mom, she's really nice to me, and she accepts me, and I want to be able to express myself." Then he started to cry.
That answer, in and of itself is brilliant, and I'm grateful for my son's soul and intelligence. But second grade is still too young. While he was doing his homework, I said "We'll talk to dad about this later and see what his take on it is." Not to pawn the issue off on Charley, but I know JH is doing a better job of listening to his dad right now. And this is something that we need to take on as a team. He finally said "so how old do I have to be to kiss a girl?" "At least 13 or 14" is what my lips said, but my brain is thinking even two years older than that, but I'm just trying to put out this immediate fire, so there you go.
I told him he could give this girl his phone number and she could call and we could set up a playdate at the park.
But there will be no kissing.
And I'm emailing the teacher tonight.
5/21/09 UPDATE: Charley came home last night in time to tuck him in with me. They chatted, Charley listened and when he spoke he was brilliant and sweet and perfect. He handled it so well, and gave me the backup I needed, but in a way that made JH feel validated. I love this man of mine. I love these men of mine.