9 Jan 2018
When was your first crush, do you remember? I remember mine: kindergarten, I guess somewhere between 4 and 6 years old? I can still recall his name and everything, and, bonus, the attraction was mutual! I wonder now if he was a “good” boy, I mean I think he was, I don’t remember him getting into any trouble or anything. If so, if he was a well-behaved boy, then I’m sad to say my first crush experience didn’t leave the psychological mark and the standard for choosing future men went straight down. And has stayed down.
Guess who might or might not have developed a crush of her own? At the ripe age of 7, Sofia feels ready. And as a parent, it’s undeniably cute to watch her writing little notes with his name on them, I won’t lie, it makes me smile and I pretend to take it very seriously when she confides in me (though I am sure, not all of it) but as a woman, or rather a controlling woman with a f-ckload of sh-tty choices behind me, I am not super chill about it. Firstly, there is a shortage of boy numbers in Sofia’s school year. There’s room for competition. Which is where I find my baby who is telling me that “another girl likes the same boy”, and now, apparently, he has to choose? What in the f-ck, I was so mad about it I spat fire a little bit. My daughter is not the one doing the choosing? If there ever was a conversation to be had it was going to be this one.
It’s parenting of the highest quality, at least in my book, when you are attempting to calmly explain to an enamoured seven-year old that it is time for her to “walk away” and leave the success and the joy of the first crush to her rival. It is the biggest going against the grain I have done yet because of course everything and everyone in (the school) society is screaming “Fight for him!”. And I know this scream so well, I have “fought for him” so many times that I have called my website Regret Everything. That entire bus ride I spent involved in an elaborate monologue hoping to hit home that Baby is the biggest perfection that world has ever seen, that her amazingness will always precede her as long as she keeps on working and taking care of the world. I have made a somewhat unfortunate analogy how she is not a produce on the market, therefore she doesn’t ever need to wait to be chosen. That there will be a boy who will see no other option but her. And if that doesn’t happen, that’s ok, too, just get paper, baby.
This situation is as unpleasant to me as it is fascinating. By the way, at the end of my complex mother-daughter talk Sofia began to cry, she really didn’t get the whole “walk away” concept, sh-t just made her sad and I am rolling my eyes in frustration as I’m typing this. Honestly, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who? “I am expected to make my life’s choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important… but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage but we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think could be a good thing, but for the attention of men.” THAT’S WHO.
My hope of course, and I sound like a broken record every Tuesday in my Sofia posts, is that she doesn’t end up like me. My hope is to be able to teach her decency and strength and kindness and, based on that, she would go on to make a choice that is, suitably, decent, strong and kind. More specifically, it would be lovely if she paid attention to that one nerd who keeps his head down because he is too busy and focused to have a social life, to that quiet someone who would want to make her, my baby, very happy. I can tell you now that my hope is NOT having a boy choose between my daughter and another girl. The society, and kids for that matter, can f-ck off. (Sorry.)