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.