Dear Fifth Grade

20 Apr

You haven’t been the easiest of years.

Hormone surges, clickety clickety cliques, pierced ears, braces. She wants highlights one day, and the next, thinks wearing two different socks is a fashion statement. Black Converse One Stars wrestle in the closet with silver high heels. She is either rolling her eyes or asking “can you stay in my room until I fall asleep?”

And now, the baby doll on her bed is competing with this in the windowsill.


From. A. Boy.

A boy, mind you, who 3 months ago was labeled “disgusting,” a description punctuated with her sticking a finger down her throat and making gagging noises.  So ladylike.

He lives down the street. Rides bikes with her little brother. He has ranged from being ok to catch frogs with to “why do you *EVEN* let them be friends, he is so mean to meeeeeeeeeee.”

Then, last week,  in comes the Whirlwind, slamming the front door behind her.

“MOM! Commando Boy got jealous that Dallas* was paying more attention to me than him and told him I like him!”

I tried to be maternally reassuring.

“Oh, I’m sorry honey. He just wasn’t thinking.”

“No, MOM! It’s awesome. Because Dallas said ‘I know,’ and then Commando Boy said ‘I mean she like, likes you’ and then Dallas said ‘I like, like her, TOO’!”

I tried to smile bravely. Also, pictured her Dad’s head exploding at this new development.

Where do we go from here, fifth grade? Suddenly the tomboy who catches frogs is spending hours in her room trying on different outfits with her friends for “potential dates.”

Which will happen in about 5 years. Or over my dead body. Whichever happens first.

The neighborhood kids all head to the boy’s house to watch a movie. She comes home with reports of them sitting together on the couch, with a bowl of shared jelly beans in between. He put his arm on her shoulder during the credits. I explain “at your age, I don’t really think that’s appropriate.”

“Ok, I won’t lean in to make it easier next time.”

I bite my tongue to keep from laughing. Her dad’s head explodes again. I am suddenly glad he sold his father’s shotgun instead of bringing it home. Dallas has no idea how lucky he is.

She’s smarter than I am, already. So when I start to explain that I know it’s special when someone likes you that way, but I want her to take it slow, stop with this “date” and “boyfriend” business, she stops me.

“Mom, in fifth grade, that’s what a boyfriend means. You just hang out with your friends together. No *she finger quotes the air* inappropriate things. You just don’t want me to grow up.”

Suddenly, her eyes are teary and she’s climbing on my lap “I don’t want to either, but it’s here.”

I stroke her hair and wonder who’s parenting who, marveling at how she cuts straight to the heart of it all while I am worrying about hand-holding and sharing jelly beans.

“I’m still your little girl, though.”

I hope so, fifth grade, I hope so.



*Of course that’s a made-up name. Puhlease. My son isn’t really named Commando Boy either.

14 Responses to “Dear Fifth Grade”

  1. Judy April 20, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    I am so with you on this. Mine is only in 3rd and we are already going through this with the boys! She has one she really likes but he only likes her as a friend???!!! Dad’s head has exploded!

  2. JennC April 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh, my. That last part…no I’m not crying. Just something in my eye.

    Now I must go hug the Momma-San.

  3. Toni April 20, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    Dawn, as the mother of a 6th grade boy and on the cusp of all of this too – I think that was so well said. Thanks.

  4. MrsMessiness April 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    I KNOW! Only I have the boy version, and he likes “chicks” and they are “so-ho hot”.

    I don’t know what that means, but it isn’t good.

  5. Regina April 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    Just wait till you answer the door and the boy has hair on his legs, ACK!!!

  6. Mary April 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    The whole jelly bean thing and the arm around the shoulder …. we take the bull by the horns and are just lovey dovey all the time around our children. They are continuously grossed out. Therefore, they will never want to do that, right? Until they are like … 37, which seems fine to me. I do have some small firearms for sale ….

  7. Marsha April 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    My 20-year-old daughter still crawls in my lap. Not enough to make it weird, just enough to make it special. My 18-year-old son is actually starting to let me touch him again. Loved your post.

  8. ingrid April 20, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    Oh boy…..I have twin 12 yr old boys that are turning 13 and so far I’ve managed to avoid “that”. I don’t know for how much longer I can but I’m going down fighting. I’ve “talked” to my guys about it both seriously and jokingly (you don’t have money or wheels how are you going to pick her up and pay for things). It helps that I have a rep for being a strict no nonsense mama. Thanks to their friends…the girls know the Twins aren’t allowed to date.

    I have asked the boys if girls have asked them “out”. They said yes and that they tell the girls that they are not ready to date yet. Thank goodness.

    My 9 yr old is still very interested in her Webkins and toys for I hope a couple more years. (It’s been my experience so far that the girls are more “advanced” and aggressive.)

  9. Elle April 21, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    I laughed, I cried. I want my kids to stay kids for at least a little while longer. Please. 🙂

  10. mayopie April 21, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    I try to limit my commentary to what I perceive to be funny, but I’m actually really touched and I don’t like it. That being said, Commando Boy is an awesome name and I hope you don’t mind if I steal it for my firstborn. Commando Boy Ignacious Pie. I love it.

  11. RuthWells April 22, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    Oh boy. Life’s going to be interesting for the next few years….

  12. Ed April 22, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    My wife asked me what I would do when my daughter started dating. After my convulsion I said “when she is 21 she can do as she pleases!” then I went back to reality land and said I will be cleaning a double barrel shotgun,.. I will tell the young man I have 2 barrels one for each gonad, and if he wants to keep them he better behave himself. Then she asked what about when the boys start dating? And I said I will tell them to pretend that their girlfriend has a Dad JUST LIKE ME! And if she doesn’t? They better hope HE gets to them before I do!!

  13. Foodycat April 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    This is so cute! Good luck with the next 10 years… The corgis are probably easier.

  14. Frank March 16, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    I don’t really get this craze about “having children” that seems to be going. What happened to sanity and reason and being able to spend some time on yourself and your partner? Ah well, I guess the world needs a few breeders to propagate the race, but seriously, slow down!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: