Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Boy Situation: An Update

The Boy situation has been handled...at least, for now. On Thursday, I spoke with the afterschool program's assistant director and explained what had happened. I asked that the counselors make sure to keep an eye on H and The Boy during the free time they have on the playground. Since their interaction is limited to the afterschool program, the asst. director felt like it was their responsibility to contact The Boy's mother and inform her of the situation. After hearing this, and considering my usual Wait 24 Hours Before Making a Decision Policy, I decided to wait and see how their conversation with her went. As hubby pointed out, if The Boy's mother took my call the wrong way, there may be the risk of some sort of retaliation against H, especially if The Boy got in trouble.

Thursday evening, I sat H down for an informal talk while hubby was in the other room, hoping that his exclusion would help her feel comfortable to say whatever she needed to say. I didn't give her the chance to deny asking The Boy to "go out." Rather, I simply asked why she did it. She said, "Because I thought I was old enough." Yes. That's the best she had. I explained that she was indeed not old enough. Nowhere near old enough. Then, I asked her if she knew what kissing "French style" meant. Here's the exchange:

H: "I don't know."
Me: "Really? You don't have any idea? What do you think it might mean?"
H: "Maybe the way they kiss in France?"

Yeah, I'm not buying it either. If she knows - and there's a good chance she knows - she clearly wasn't comfortable talking about it. Or, she simply doesn't want me to know that she knows. Either way, just for good measure, I made several things clear:
1) she is no longer allowed to pass notes to The Boy

2) she should tell me or her dad immediately if The Boy says/does anything that is hurtful or inappropriate. This is the only way we can deal with the situation in a timely manner and find a solution

3) kids who are caught kissing in any "style" at school have major consequences.....like suspension, so this is clearly not a wise idea

4) talking to me about things like this is the only way I can help. As long as she's honest with me, we can work together to solve problems, and not telling me about this disappointed me and made me feel like she was trying to hide it.

The next day, I checked back with the ass. director. He reported that The Boy's mother was equally shocked...ahem, bullsh*t...and couldn't imagine where her son had even heard of such a thing....(Gee, I wonder...). She asked him to apologize to me on her behalf, explained that she'd be picking The Boy up extra early this week to allow some separation time, and requested that the counselors work to keep the two separated when possible. She also said that should I (or H) have any future problems with The Boy, to feel free to call her and let her know. This was exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for, so I was glad that I waited and let someone else make that call to her.

I know The Boy situation is larger than this particular boy. I know that sometime between now and the end of next summer, H and I will have "The Talk" because I want her to get that information from me first (the school shows a video in 4th grade). But for now, I'd like to enjoy a few more months of my child being a child, protected from all the details, conversations, and playground antics that work to sexualize children as young as 8 and 9 years old. I want to savor the time in which I'm the one she comes to with questions, problems, and concerns. The Boy situation will be much larger soon enough.

1 comment:

mgm said...

I'm glad to hear that things seem to have come to a resolution. Luckily, H is young enough that maybe she be less embarrassed by the conversation with you than the fact that you are disappointed in her. If she were 13, she might be more resentful.

And, you know, in that mom's defense, maybe she was really shocked and didn't have a clue where her son learned the phrase. I have a cousin who is a year and a half older than I am. He taught my younger brother and me lots of things that my parents were completely unaware of. I never told them, either, so maybe this young boy has learned from a similar source. That's not to minimize the fact that we need to be aware of our children's sexual awareness, but it's probably really easy to ignore the fact that children "mature" faster these days than when we were youngsters.