Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Punky Love

      This is as close to a Valentine's Day post as you're going to get out of me.  MacGyver and I do not celebrate Valentine's Day.  We have a myriad of reasons from the fact that our Miniversary is the 17th, to Pagan holidays that cover love a lot better, to a distaste for commercialism and unethical practices by the chocolate companies.  Punky, on the other hand, is head over heels for the day.  Because Punky, my NINE YEAR OLD daughter, has a boyfriend this Valentine's Day.

      Heaven help me.

      Yesterday Punky made cookies to bring in to school for her class for Valentine's Day.  And one extra large one with a heart made out of red candies for her boyfriend.  Is it wrong that this made me want to gag?

       Don't get me wrong, I didn't tell her it made me want to gag.  Really, I didn't say much to her about it at all.  Mostly because I really just don't know how I feel about this whole elementary school boyfriends thing.  Honestly, I am completely lost on this one.

       I can't imagine having had a "boyfriend" when I was Punky's age.  I was still very much in the "boys are creepy but fun to climb trees with" sort of phase.  Sure, way back in Kindergarten I was kindof a player, but then the social norms started to take hold and I was firmly anti boyfriend by Punky's age.  I was a Tomboy, through and through.

I was more like THIS Punky than my Punky at that age:

       While Punky has a lot of Tomboy and Dorky traits that she gets from me - she loves playing with bugs and her favorite Harry Potter character is Luna Lovegood - she also has a strong girly-girl side.  She is still as irresistably drawn to anything pink or sparkly as a crow.  And it's obvious that having a "boyfriend" fits strongly into the social construct she's trying to function in now.
       It makes me uncomfortable, though.  Really, I know I'm overreacting.  It's just silly kid stuff.  But something inside me nevertheless bulks when Punky says words like "boyfriend" and "dating."  "Dating?" I asked her, "When have you ever been on a date?"  "Mommmyyyyy..." she rolls her eyes at me.

       Why does it make me uncomfortable?  I'm really not sure.  I've been trying to figure it out.  My best guess - as horrible as it may sound - is that I'm worried she'll turn out like Bio.  I won't go into the details of what I mean by that; it should be enough to say that as Punky's mother, there is certain behaviour I DO NOT want her mimicking or inheriting - however you want to look at it.

      I'm probably taking this too seriously, right?  I mean, Punky is only 9.  The behaviour I'm worried about will be in her teen years.  I have already taken steps to educate Punky on topics like self-respect and sex and to keep communication between us open.  If anything, my internal discomfort with her talking about boyfriends now might pose a threat to open communication in the future.

       Still.  I don't like it. 

       Maybe it's not the boyfriend thing itself.  It could also be the way she talks about it.  It's funny, really.  It's so serious.  Sometimes it's hard to keep from laughing at how obviously she and her little friends are mimicking things from TV and movies (though we REALLY limit Punky's exposure to such things).  Last night she told me her best friend isn't speaking to her because, and I quote, "I stole her man."  Yes, she said man.  And stole.  I supressed a laugh.  And a shudder.  I'm simultaneously amused and horrified.

       Or perhaps I'm just completely out of touch.

       What do you think?  What's too young to have a "boyfriend?"  And, for the record, I'm just talking the "at school" type of boyfriend - not the going out doing things kind.  Heaven help me when that starts.

      Oh, and did I mention this boy is something like her 4th boyfriend this year?  Snarky Paralegal says that's a good thing because at least she's not trying to "get serious."  I suppose that's a silver lining...


Linking up with the girls for Talk To Us Tuesday because there's nothing I love quite as much as "no rules!"


Emmy said...

I had my first "boyfriend" -i.e. we gave each other gifts on little holidays but then mostly ran away from each other on the playground- when I was in 5th grade. We did talk on the phone though. I don't remember how my mom reacted- I think she didn't and just let it go as she knew it wouldn't last. I wasn't technically allowed to date until 16-- but well I definitely had a real boyfriend before that.
So look at this as a good jumping off point-- if she learns now with this "boyfriend" that she can talk with you and that you are open but you know what is expected of her too-- then she will be able to keep coming to you when it is really needed.
But yea- I don't have kids close to that yet- so take my advice as you want :)

Chandra Nicole said...

Oh My God. I'm all too familiar with the Tween Drama. I have a 12 year old girl!

Luckily, she has come to the conclusion that no "man" is good enough for her... for now, that is. I'm sure it's coming.

I do get to here about all the other girl's boy issues such as man stealing, kissing at the skating rink, and what-not. Oi.

It's a tough gig, this parenting thing. We want to lead these girls in the right direction, but at the same time we know very well that the forbidding of certain things, compels them to do the very thing we've nixed...
At least that's how I operated when I was young. I considered the condoning of an activity to be more of a suggestion of something I might enjoy partaking in...

We're in trouble.

Nadine Hightower said...

I think it's totally innocent. I don't you have any thing to worry about. puppy love.
But the vibe coming from Hollywood is always pushing young people to a lifetime partner when they are teens. Very few make that whole high school sweetheart thing work for 50 years. Hollywood make it look okay to have sex at an early age.
Just be a diligent parent. Helping her make good choices.

Karen Peterson said...

I think I was around that age when the "boyfriend" thing started. Worry if she starts talking about kissing without pretending to gag.

Stacy Uncorked said...

Princess Nagger (also 9) has mentioned a particular boy - a lot - lately. She says he's not her boyfriend, but I wonder how long it will be? It would kinda freak me out, though - not ready for her to grow up quite yet. ;) I like Emmy's advice! :)

Valentine’s Day, (Possible) Near-Sighted Princess, The End of a Crappy Schedule

Emily said...

I think it's perfectly normal to have a "boyfriend" that age. When I was that age, a lot of kids were "going out" at that age. I think the extent was hanging out at school, possibly calling each other on the phone and maybe, a big maybe, holding hands. I think it's harmless, especially since you know about it and are worried and are undoubtedly a good mom. :)

Diandra said...

Come on... they're only playing. Like kids with fake kitchens who make you eat invisible cookies. My 5-year-old niece told me, last fall, that she was going to marry my BF when she grows up. ^^

Mamarazzi said...

seems pretty innocent...keep the lines of communication open and listen more than talk, for now.

Shawn said...

I have two girls, 17 and 12, so I feel your pain. Do I think 9 is too young to have a "boyfriend"? Yes! But really the definition of a boyfriend to a 9 year old is very different from ours so I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. But an open dialog with your kids is the best way to make sure all id well. My girls tell my everything, some things I wish they would;t but at least I know what's gong on.

Thanks for linking up with us, IA and I XOXO you!


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