I am one of the lucky moms. My daughter talks to me. Every Friday, or over the weekend if it’s a school holiday or she has a sleepover or something, my 5th grader phones me and we spend at least an hour talking about the things that happened in her week, my news, and the things she thinks about and worries about. I love that she shares so much with me, and I love our sense of connection despite the 3000 miles between us. I know her friends’ names and personalities, their little peccadillos. I know what she loses sleep over. I know what her dreams are.
Two weeks ago, we missed our Friday talk because of the school dance. For 4th and 5th graders. What the — ? And also: the hell?
I walked to school through six feet of snow, uphill both ways, back when I was a kid, and golly gee whillikers, looking back I see that 7th grade seemed a mite young for lovin’ and touchin’ each other. I had no idea then what to do with the feeling that I should be doing SOMEthing. So what makes us think that 5th grade girls — these are eleven year olds, most of them — know any better than I did at twelve? (For those doing the math, I skipped a grade. Had puberty a year after everyone else. Oh yay.)
True, my daughter neither dressed up much for this dance (”it was so hot in there, I wished I wore a tank top and shorts”) or, apparently, actually interacted with BOYZ during the event. I think they did the limbo. And there was food. But what message are we sending our daughters when we send them off to act like mini adults?
I don’t even want to talk about the number of my kid’s classmates who have boyfriends. She has been saying since she was seven that she will never get married so I extrapolate that she intends to remain celibate indefinitely, which at eleven is fine by me. Let’s talk again in five years. But for those other kids? What does having a boyfriend actually mean? And if it means as little as I suspect it does, what’s the point? Why are we rushing things?
School dances in elementary school: yea or nay?
[photo: Divine in the Daily]