parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Monday, February 12, 2007
    My ride down the Nile has come to an end.
    Yesterday was a big day for me, parenting-wise. With both kids.

    One great thing was realizing how much I have a true partner in my Beloved. He has strengths in places I do not, and he is more than willing and able to take on certain parenting issues with love and kindness and fairness. He took the driver's seat with J.'s issue, and did a great job and he rocks. And all is well.

    I, however, was the one who was confronted with the fact that E. is at that age. The age where her concerns have opened up to the Wide World of Attraction. I first heard that there are some boys (notice the plural?) who "like her." When I then brought up the issue as a "oh, I hear that this stuff is starting to go on with kids in 5th grade, if you ever want to talk about it, I promise not to make a big deal of things or make fun of the situation." (Or something like that), she did actually take the opportunity to confide in me.

    Everything is perfectly age appropriate, with no concerns about it crossing any lines. However. I don't know how to parent in this landscape. I know how to talk about friends, and how to help them negotiate difficult personalities, and I know how to encourage them to act with dignity and forethought in platonic relationships ... but I don't feel equipped to start handling the romance aspect of life with my kids.

    I feel like I need a book. Is there a book? That will teach me how to be a parent to a tween? (Agh, what an awful term. I hereby vow to never use it again. That was disgusting. )

    I am done. I am done telling other parents that "E. isn't ready for that kind of thing yet" and done thinking that I have another couple years before she starts thinking about boys.

    One fun thing she told me ... E. has consistently been friends with boys. She has been teased for it on and off since 1st grade, but that hasn't deterred her (and the teasing has always been minor). She told me last night that last year, there was this "big clique of girls" and then a "giant group of boys" (I thought it was funny that she defined the girls as a "clique" and the boys as a "group"), and they would all sit around and titter about each other (she is not in this "clique" of girls), but that THIS year, the two groups are mixing all together and hanging out as one group instead of two, and it actually makes HER life easier, because before, when girls weren't getting along with boys, she (E.) was more likely to get teased for her friendships. Now, everyone takes it in stride, and she can be friends with boys in peace.

    I can't help but to wonder what it will be like for J. when she gets to this stage. She is not friends with boys, and avoids them like the plague. The only male persons she has any tolerance for are Beloved, her cousin (who we're seeing in 4 days!), her father and her grandfathers. The end. This is according to her (and this is also the order in which she listed these acceptable males).

    Eh. Maybe she won't like boys at all. Ever. I guess we'll see.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:36 AM  
    • At Monday, February 12, 2007 3:31:00 PM, Blogger LawSchoolMom said…

      "Becoming Preteen-wise" is a good book for this age.

      Also, I think "Everything You've Ever Wanted Your Child to Know About Sex but Were Afraid They Would Ask" is probably a good parenting handbook. I checked it out, kept it a couple of months too long, without ever reading it, and was forced to finally return it.

    • At Monday, February 12, 2007 3:38:00 PM, Blogger Zuska said…

      Oooh, I remember the Babywise books causing quite a stir when my kids were babies. I will say I ended up taking a very different approach to my babies than was advocated in that series. I'll check it out when I head to the bookstore, though.


      And I am not taking my head out of the sand about sex yet. She is TEN!! TEN!!

    • At Monday, February 12, 2007 6:45:00 PM, Blogger LawSchoolMom said…

      My head is in the sand, too! I'm not ready to think about my daughter having sex, either, but the book - the parts I skimmed - gave good advice about talking to my child about sex in an age-appropriate way.

      Sort of like what you posted - boys are beginning to notice girls and (maybe) vice-versa. So, we can talk about intimacy or what it means when a boy "likes you."

      You know, I think you're doing a great job so far. Your daughter is already comfortable talking to you about this stuff. That's three-quarters of the battle right there! Now, if I can only get over my own embarrasment and talk to my daughter. Ack!

    • At Monday, February 12, 2007 7:04:00 PM, Blogger Zuska said…

      We've actually talked about sex. Not in a "when you are ready for this" kind of way, though. More in an abstract way - but not only mechanics. It's the personalized, "when you have sex, you need to use a contraceptive" or "you aren't ready to have sex until _____."

      That's what freaks me out. The idea of the kids taking what I say as a truism for their lives. I don't remember ever having that with anything my mother told me.

    • At Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:51:00 AM, Anonymous Meg said…

      My mom was a sex educator, and I heard about sex (the mechanics, emotional aspect, EVERYTHING) probably from the tme I was eight years old on. Regularly. Throughout high school. My mom was really open about everything, and my riends talked to her, too. She kept a box of condoms in her hall closet and lectured my friends that they shouldn't be having sex at all, but if they did to use condoms. (We were maybe 14 or 15 at the time.)

      I didn't have sex until I was 20, I think in large part because of how open my mom was about it all. I never felt the need to experiment because it was already out on the table, as it were.

      Just my experience. Kids are going to learn about sex somewhere, and earlier and earlier.

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