Friday, April 16, 2010

what an afternoon

in the space of an hour i felt like i'd been on a roller coaster, the tilt-o-whirl and won the big teddy bear throwing darts at balloons. sometimes that's how it is when you live w/ a 13-year-old girl.

she came home from school w/ a twinkle in her eye, bounced on the couch and asked, "can i go on a date to the movies tonight?"

wait? what???

ah....the little boy (and i mean that literally because he's shorter than her) the girl has "dated" twice before (in 5th grade and briefly in 6th) texted her on the bus and said he liked her and could they "date" again. she texted back yes and then he asked her to the movies. i told her we'd have to talk to dad about it.

then she burst into tears and said she didn't want to go on her first date the very day they started dating. hold the phone--mom radar went up. something else is going on here. this having a boyfriend thing is something she's been pining for for...well, all year i guess.

we went outside to have a chat on the patio. she broke down in tears. at school today one of her teachers talked about something that happened in our community this week. a 15-year-old girl committed suicide because two boys had been bullying her, teasing her about being fat. the girl said it reminded her of the kids teasing her in 5th grade (not for her weight but anything and everything else). we talked about bullying and how it made her feel. we talked about how sad the girl's parents must feel, and how the boys' parents must feel and how there is nothing, NOTHING anyone can say to you that is worth killing yourself over.

then the girl skipped out into the yard to collect a handful of helicopters. she brought them back and proceeded to peel the outer shell off of them and tell me how one of her "friends" hurt her feelings today. this is the same girl that turned into the bitch after becoming a cheerleader this year. we've talked about this girl repeatedly. i honestly think the girl is lashing out because of the way her mom talks to her. i think the girl feels bad about herself and the only way to feel better is to put other people down. (god i know grown ups like that too). i explained all of this to the girl. i explained that she needs to stand up for herself and tell the girl that she's being hurtful. i think i should also tell her to tell that girl to fuck off.

back to the yard, she gathered more helicopters. do you think we can plant them and grow a tree? she asked. we could try, but we couldn't plant the tree because we have enough in the yard now.

back to the boy issue. why don't you want to go to the movies tonight? because i thought having a "boyfriend" would make me feel different, but it really doesn't. i don't feel all lovey dovey about him the way my friends talk about their boyfriends. mmmm...well, we've talked about this before too. the IDEA of having a boyfriend or saying you have one is a status thing and i think some of the kids are "dating" just to say they're dating. it's what they do. she said she didn't want to be that way.

she texted the boy back and told him she wanted them to be friends, not boyfriend/girlfriend, because in the past when they did "date" and then broke up they didn't talk to each other for the rest of the year. i told her i thought that was pretty mature. she shrugged her shoulders, like, yeah, no biggie, and then went back to playing w/ the helicopters.

sometimes i am terrified i'm giving her bad advice or that whatever i say isn't much help. i don't remember getting advice from my mom, i don't ever remember feeling like she helped me through difficult times. i think the hubs and i are better than many when it comes to communicating w/ our kids. they know they can talk to us about anything, at least i think they do. they certainly ask us a lot of questions, things i never would have talked to my parents about. i just hope and pray that whatever we're doing it's enough and it's working and i never have to know how the parents of that poor 15-year-old girl feel.


Hotch Potchery said...

Oh man. The suicide/bully thing was something I was always petrified of.

cheatymoon said...

You gave her great advice. I know it's so different from how our parents were, and we're sort of making it up as we go... but I think it's fine.
My child talks to me about stuff I would NEVER talk to my parents about. Fascinating.

Surely said...

I think it's wonderful she can talk to you like that & I think as long as she continues talks to you, you're good to go.

I wish you were my mom. (:-D

Gal Friday said...

I think it's half the battle right there--that your daughter at least opens up to you and you are able to talk.
I have been obsessed with that story about the 15 year old girl in Mass. who hung herself because of the bullying, but now I read that something similar happened to a girl in your community!? What is going on?!

Not Your Aunt B said...

I think you did great. It does make me feel queasy that this is in my future. I just want to do it right, especially since I felt like you that my parents were zero help.

Astarte said...

Wow, does this EVER sum up kids this age! Skipping, integrated with discussions on dating and suicide, followed by playing in the grass. Holy shit, what a mixed-up time!

One of Josie's friends, the same one who was picking on her about the book thing awhile ago, was at her again recently, just putting her down and rolling her eyes, etc. I think she thought she was being funny, because I know she really likes Josie. Anyway, after talking about it a little bit, I told Josie that the next time the girl did it, she should come right out and ask 'are we still friends?' in response. She told me afterward that she was scared, but that's what she did, and she said that the girl stopped immediately and was really, really nice to her for the whole rest of the day. I wonder if the same kind of bluntness will still help her in middle school? It's so hard to figure out ideas of what she can do, when I had no idea myself at that age! All I want to tell her is the same things you wanted to say to that bratty girl - tell her to go eff herself!

I think you did an amazing job, and she's so cool for being able to figure out what she really wants, and then act on it. That's a big thanks to you, girlfriend.