Tuesday, October 27, 2009

She can date, as long as she's home by curfew.

Why do parents feel the need to joke about their babies or small children having boyfriends or girlfriends? It's something I really haven't paid much attention to or frankly cared about until becoming the parent of a little girl and pregnant with another one. I'm having trouble understanding this need to pair off your children, even though I know it's often done in good humor. And if you can prove me otherwise, go for it. I'm just going with my visceral reactions here, and sometimes those reactions can be oh, so wrong.
Chloe had a swim lesson a couple of weeks ago, and it was just another boy and Chloe that particular day. The little boy's mom said, "Oh it's a baby date. Carter*, is Chloe your girlfriend now?" I tried to smile and blow it off, but it made my skin crawl. I said, "I've decided she can't date until she's a year old. We had trouble with her getting home by curfew a few weeks ago..., " or something stupid like that. Yes, I'm sure it was that stupid. But I know that my face said it all. It always does. I would not be good at poker. 

All I could think about is this sweet, little innocent girl. My little rugrat of a child who doesn't have a care in the world. Who wants nothing more than to play and to be happy. And then I think about her growing up, and I think about the day that she will want to date. That she will be interested in boys. That she will have boyfriends. And until that day, I don't ever want her to worry about having a boyfriend. I want her to have confidence in herself. I want her to have as many friends as she wants; girls and boys alike. I never want her to think that having a boyfriend is something that we praise or admire, or something that will make her more than she actually is. She's perfect just being Chloe. I always want her to feel that way. I want her to feel that way so when she does date, she will not find value or self-worth in it. She will find that in herself. 

Boys can wait. There's time for all of that. Until then, I want to protect her and give her the chance to remain a little girl. The word "boyfriend" will not be uttered in our house until the word comes out of her mouth. 

And I know this will probably be on her first day of kindergarten.

And she will have a boyfriend.

And this post will come back to bite me, and will be deleted immediately. 

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent. 


Dara said...

People always tell Ben that he's going to have to buy a gun when Aidan's older. I think that's so gross.

Jaime said...

I hate it from the other side. I have had parents of girls say stuff about my boys wanting to date their girls and they "better keep their hands off" kind of thing. And seriously I WANT to say, "Don't worry I don't think my boys like your bossy little girl." It really bugs...like they are already perverts or something just because they are boys! They are sweet and innocent too. Some parents just need to grow up. Thanks for letting me vent-it is a good topic, and one that has always bothered me too.