Wednesday, May 20, 2009

They Grow Up So Fast. But This is Ridiculous.

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.


anne said...

holy cow... your son is evolving very quickly.

my 10-year-old 5th grade daughter thinks boys are okay to be friends with, and even though she starts middle school in the fall, she has no interest in talking about them or saying they're cute or anything like that. different kids, different times...

i think you did very well to hold your ground and get dad involved in the conversation!

Anonymous said...

Sigh. It's the downside to having such an old soul for a child. I deal with these "who slow down!" type of situations with Bailey too (although, thankfully, not this particular issue).

I think you handled it brilliantly. It's SO HARD when they are influenced so much by less than desirable peers (I have dealt with that A LOT). I have really practiced the mantra "I can only do what I can do" with Bailey (and Sam a lot this year with his kindergarten issues). Ultimately I realized that I can preach, punish, demand, wheedle, negotiate, and inspire only so much...but that they ultimately make their own decisions that I can't control.

It's hard to put myself in that mindframe when they are still so young, but I'm working on it, otherwise I would be in a deep depression after some of the shit that's been going on this year with the boys. I have to tell myself "I have taught them the right things...I can't control whether they choose, or are capable, of living it every moment".

That's how I get through.

Hugs. This is so hard!

Robin Amos Kahn said...

It is so hard. You just don't realize all the problems you are going to come up with when you are cuddling them as babies and watching them take their first steps.

But I think you handled it brilliantly Annie. And all we can do is love them and try our best to handle these tough situations when they come up.

Sadly, no matter how old they are, there's still stuff that drives you crazy and breaks your heart.

sarah said...

I think you did a great job. He reminds me of my little brother james when he was that age. Great job on getting dad involved!!!

I, Rodius said...

Thanks as always for trailblazin' and giving me a five-year heads up. Your boy is remarkably self-aware, and even so, there are landmines everywhere. JH is lucky to have the two of you working together for him.

Robin Amos Kahn said...

Zoe reported to me that she did kiss a few boys in first grade. She can't remember who, but she said, "Oh, yeah. Definitely."

First I've heard of it.

Lisa L said...

When Matt was in 3rd grade, his girlfriend was Caitlin. Same grade. He bought her a ring (from where? Some kind of 'kids' ring) and they were planning on getting married. Did they kiss? I dunno. But her mom and dad were friends of ours and it was very sweet. I wouldn't worry too much. I don't think kids of that age 'tongue kiss'...I think its just kisses on the cheeks... or maybe I'm in a world of denial...whatever... your son sounds like an awesome, loving guy. Good job mom! As an update: Caitlin is with a really nice guy and they have a little boy of about 2ish...Matt is with Mandy, and we will be meeting her tomorrow for lunch...she's here visiting a friend on the Big Island..