*This post was originally posted on Go Team Duncan in 2012.
Experience is a hell of a teacher.
Our oldest daughter is nearly 20 and very outspoken. She’s off figuring her life out now, but while she was home, we experienced a lot together. I’ve run the gambit of “girl conversations” and topics with her and as difficult as it was at times, I have to admit, I’m glad she feels comfortable enough to be able to open up to me with most things. I’m sure there’s plenty that are still “mom-only”, but she knows she can come to me with anything and I will stay fairly level-headed.
The youngest had been a little slower on the maturation path and not as outspoken. She’s 10 now, though, and she has started really coming out of her shell since we put her back in public school last year.
I didn’t truly realize is how far until earlier this year, however.
A few months ago, I checked her room to make sure she was upholding her end of the “you can have the bigger upstairs room if you keep I clean” deal. Lo and behold, I find a little note on the floor saying “I love (insert boy name)”.
My mental brakes made the SCREEEEEEE noise. But, I used it as an opportunity to teach a lesson. Plus, I’d been in this place before with the oldest. (Thank God) I knew I could handle it appropriately (this time…)
Me: “What is this?”
Her: “Oh. Sorry.”
Me: “It’s fine to like somebody, but don’t be throwing the ‘love’ word around like that. You guys don’t know what love is yet. You can ‘like’ somebody all you want, but leave that ‘love’ stuff out of it.”
I let it go at that. I wasn’t trying to harp on it or lecture her, I just think kids are way too quick to throw it out there these days, and it forces relationships (even little crushes) into a whole new level of speed and intensity way too soon. Later down the line, it cheapens it when they do actually love someone.
Fast forward to last Valentine’s Day.
I pick the youngest up and take her to get some food (mom and I have plans afterward). She’s a little embarrassed when I pick her up, and I notice she has a little present with her. Turns out it’s from a “secret admirer”.
Here we go…
We talk about it. I make sure I don’t tease her about it, which was difficult for me at first, since I tease her about a lot of stuff (playfully…) but this is her first “secret admirer”, so I don’t want to ruin the experience for her. It’s probably just one of her girl-friends, but we live in a dominantly Hispanic area. These little relationships start eeeeeeearly around here, so I wouldn’t be surprised either way.
With that convo out of the way, I ask her what her favorite Valentine was. She’s showing me all of them, then pulls out a big bag of M&Ms.
“This is _______’s idea of a Valentine.”
I just chuckle.
“Oh. Here’s the note he put with it. He drew a picture…”
I’m thinking to myself: I feel for the kid. Valentines on notebook paper? Oh well. I’m sure it happens a lot…
“…I’m the only one he gave a note to, though…”
Fortunately, she has no clue on this one. She dismissed the sentiment rather quickly. I took the opportunity to do the same.
The conversation continues on. No big deal. Then my realization really took a serious hit.
We’re talking about some of the other girls in her class. One today apparently did not want to dance during one of the weekly classes they do at her school. She gets in trouble for it, but Lex says that the girl was glaring at her for whatever reason.
I tell her not to get involved, don’t be mean back as that is how fighting starts, etc… She then says:
“Yeah _____ makes fun of her with some other girls. They say that she’s got her period.”
Oh yeah. LOUD brake noise this time. Seriously?! Did my 10 year old just start a period conversation with me?! How much more sharing are we going to do this week?!
Once again, I play it off and continue the conversation. The entire time my ‘dad alert system’, ‘estrogen alarm’, and ‘oh God, WHY’ buzzer are all going haywire in my brain, but I have to capitalize on these moments. I know damn good an well that if I blow one of these conversations, it could be years before she opens back up to me on that kind of stuff.
So we finish the ‘period’ talk (only about why it’s stupid to make fun of someone for starting their period and how most people that make fun of others usually have self-esteem problems…) and finish the drive home on a less heavy note.
Again, I am very glad the girls don’t have a problem opening up to me, but wow. That is a lot all packed into a half of a week! I love my girls to death, but boys and girls have some seriously different conversations.
What do you think?
headdesk image retrieved from ht tp://www .milehighhockey.com/2011/3/1/2023951/game-64-live-thread-avalanche-at-sharks