this doesn’t mean I’m HAPPY about the BOYS, just for the record

One afternoon recently, Maggie and I were working on her Valentines for her school party next week (or rather, I got her started, then I snuck off to do some work while she wrote out the names on the cards. heh) But eventually I took a break from work and headed back into the dining room to help her with the folding and the stickers.

While we were working, we chatted. This is the best part of having a kid who is almost 6. We can just… TALK. I find us having more regular conversations as opposed to one-sided, demand-laden interactions (“put that down” “stop jumping on the couch” “quit picking your nose” – though, full disclosure, those interactions DO still happen sometimes, obviously.) But having a kid who can have a near-grown-up conversation with you? It’s kind of cool.


As we sat there at the dining room table working, it somehow came up that one of the little girls in her class was her “really good friend”, someone Maggie claims “I tell all my secrets to!” I smiled and asked what kind of secrets she had, exactly.

She grinned shyly and giggled a little bit. “Um… *giggle* like… *giggle* who I have a crush on…!”


But I didn’t let my shock and fear and ZOMG! reaction show. I couldn’t. I knew that this was one of those moments. A moment when everything can change. It SEEMS small and minor to us, but for them? This is when it starts. This is the age where things can change, and we need- *I* especially, as her mother- to be careful to make her comfortable talking to us. About EVERYTHING.

So I took a deep breath and held back every instinct of Being Her Mom and telling her NO CRUSHING NO NO NO NO YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, CHILD! And instead, I asked her who she had a crush on. I asked her in an excited, silly, breathlessly-curious kind of way, the way a friend would ask.

And she told me.

(I also asked her what she meant by “crush” and she said “it’s someone you’re in love with but don’t want to tell anyone” and OMG MY HEART YOU GUYS. MY BABY.)

The boy is not important. She’s five, after all. But when she’s 15? I want her to want to tell me who that boy is. I want her to want to talk to me about the Stuff in her life- the crushes, the heartbreaks, the first kisses (OMG HOLD ME). I KNOW there will be a time when we’ll both be stewing in Teenager/Mother silence, angry with each other over whatever drama we just had between us. She may even storm off to her room and give me the finger through the wall (NOT THAT I EVER DID THAT TO MY OWN MOTHER. AHEM.) But I want her to always feel like she can share these things with me, talk to me, and I won’t judge (too much) and I’ll give advice if it’s wanted. And yes, I’m her mom first- always. But I also want to be her friend, at least on some level.

It’s a tricky balance, but looking ahead I feel like now? In kindergarten? This is when it starts.

Very Important Work happening. Do Not Disturb.

Fake lips


  1. Jesabes

    February 9, 2013 9:58 am

    It starts in KINDERGARTEN?? I just…nooooooo. I’m still reeling from our “how do babies get out of mommies” talk this week.

    (Also, now that I think about it, I can remember my kindergarten crush. Quite clearly. It lasted all year.)

    (Looking into homeschooling now.)

    • Jen

      February 11, 2013 1:51 pm

      SERIOUSLY! I can remember a boy in first grade who made me cards and gave me little presents… then of course in high school we cracked up over that because we were good friends. So, I guess it DOES start young. EEEEEK.

  2. Mel

    February 9, 2013 10:00 am

    I think you did an awesome job. :)

  3. HereWeGoAJen

    February 9, 2013 2:32 pm

    I love this. Because yes, exactly.

  4. Kate

    February 9, 2013 10:20 pm

    This is a slightly different relationship but I have a cousin who is 14 years younger than me and I remember her telling me way back when she was Maggie’s age about her boyfriends. I tried to always listen to her and to refrain from the “you’re too young for that” talk – even through high school, when a lot of the family was thinking it, if not saying it. And guess what? Now, she’s in college and she tells me just about everything – calls me when she’s having girl problems and tells me about all the boys. Of course now I do a lot of “Don’t drink and drive,” “Never go to a party alone”, “don’t have s*x with him” and she kinda laughs at me, but I know deep down she’s listening and I think that’s because I tried hard to listen to her when she was little. :)

    • Jen

      February 11, 2013 1:53 pm

      See, this is awesome. I hope that even if my girls (and my boy) don’t feel comfortable sharing EVERYTHING with me (which I totally get, begrudgingly) then they’ll at least have someone ELSE grown-up they can talk to. It’s so important. SO IMPORTANT.

  5. Melissa

    February 9, 2013 11:11 pm

    This is really sweet and someday she will read this post and thank you for it. I think you handled it perfectly. (Although I totally get the !!!!!! you must have been feeling!)

    Meanwhile, I get told about who burped loudest at lunch and who’s the fastest runner in Oliver’s first grade class. lol :) And honestly, I’m okay with that right now–having many, many talks with him about death last year really exhausted me in the Grown-up Topics category for a while. Otherwise I have no idea what to expect later, with boys… It will be different for sure (and they’ll probably confide more in George as they get older), but I really hope that we can still have our own kind of awesome mother-son relationships. And I hope I won’t get too heartbroken if/when they shut me out…! :(

    • Jen

      February 11, 2013 1:54 pm

      My guess is that the “girls” subject will come on a little later for the boys, you know? It seems to take a while before boys notice girls as anything beyond someone to play with on the playground. ha I just hope all of my kids feel okay with talking to us about stuff. I always felt (mostly) okay with it growing up and I know that made a HUGE difference in how I turned out!

  6. A'Dell

    February 10, 2013 10:03 pm

    Ack! This is going to happen soon? For serious??

    Although…my first crush was a boy in Kindergarten so it totally makes sense.

    (Oh, Robbie Walker, from Floyd Winslow Elementary, 1985, where are you now?)

    • Jen

      February 11, 2013 1:57 pm

      It will happen sooooon. Even at age 4, Maggie always talked about how funny a certain boy at preschool was (he’s a year old. FIRST GRADER, NOW. SHE SAW HIM IN THE HALLWAY LAST WEEK.) (He’s not The Boy in this post.) When I asked why he was so funny, she said “Because he tells jokes about boogers! hahahaha!” So, you know: obviously they’re headed for marriage. LOL

  7. Susie

    February 11, 2013 11:32 am

    I REMEMBER my first crush, my first elementary school boyfriend. His name was Sean and he gave me stickers and then he moved away, and I was heartbroken. I was five. I also remember my second grade best friend Patrick, who teased me and teased me until one day he told me he was in love with me and then embarrassed me in front of EVERYONE by stealing my lunch card.

    Surely my daughter will wait until at least middle school, though, right?

    • Jen

      February 11, 2013 1:55 pm

      aaah, young love. LOL I had a boy in first grade who made me cards and gave me little presents. My mom still had them when we were in high school together! We got a good laugh over them because we were friends then. So yeah, it starts young. SCARY. GAH!

  8. red pen mama

    February 13, 2013 12:29 pm

    This is my post tomorrow. I’m having the same issue with Flora (and with girl secrets, although that resolved itself). This is when I wish they were still small. The conversations are awesome, I just would rather them be about what the closest star is (aside from the sun) than about buying pokemon cards for a boy.

  9. Sunshine

    February 13, 2013 1:19 pm

    Sophia tells me that Charlie is SOOO cute. KILL ME NOW. Isaac, on the other hand, would rather play kickball than care about girls. He says they talk too much anyway!!

  10. Pris

    February 14, 2013 7:35 am

    I remember Jada’s first crush in kindergarten so yes, it begins. She still talks to me about her crushes. (yes, she has a crush on two guys, though they don’t return the same feelings :/ ) So, you are on a good path with your little talks. Though it will change a bit over the years, this is a great foundation to lay.
    Sunday I had the pleasure of having a conversation with her about boys and as she is a teenager, the sex talk. I didn’t go into details because at this point, I don’t think she needs it. I just told her that she needs to be wise and not do anything with a boy just because they tell you they like you, love you or that you need to if you want to be their girlfriend. She hasn’t had her first kiss yet but we all know how it is in 7th grade, right?! ;) Those spirit dances can bring about first kisses very easily ;)

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