A few nights ago I am pretty sure I had my first talk about boys with my almost 9 year old daughter. The discussion centered around a few girls in her class who were "in love" with one of the boys in her class and what was being done about this critical new development in third grade social organization.
One of the girls had apparently professed her love to the boy, getting nothing in return from him. Another girl convinced my daughter to walk by him and flip her hair a few times. I'm guessing this was an attempt to test the waters and see what his emotional climate was, vis a vis girls in general. Of course, at this point, I had to ask the obvious question: was my daughter "in love" with this boy too? The answer I got was a way too vehement no, followed by obvious blushing. I knew then to just let it go, but inside I was giggling.
We went on to discuss boys, girls and the way they interact at this delicate age. My daughter had many questions for me. Who was my first crush? What did I do about it? Did my friends know? I answered all her questions honestly, telling her all about the humiliation of one of my friends going back on a promise not to disclose my feelings for a boy in third grade and subsequently destroying recess for me one sunny day. My daughter listened and I listened. The more I heard the more I couldn’t help but smile and at the same time get a little bit sad.
Sitting on my daughter's bed, I realized what an in between age she is in right now. She chases her 4-year-old brother around the house, watches cartoons and needs me to tuck her in at night. But she is also acutely aware of fashion trends, knows the words to all of Taylor Swift’s songs and apparently, likes a boy. She is too old for me to baby her, but not too old to need a cuddle and kiss when she's had a rough day.
I fear the day when my daughter will reach those horrible teenage years that will include slammed doors, silent treatments and the knowledge that absolutely everything I do is wrong. Until then, I will relish every time that my daughter feels comfortable enough to tell me anything and I will listen without judgment.