We just don’t do that.
Boy is first grade different than Kindergarten! A few days in to the new school year, Belle exchanged phone numbers with a boy in her class. I didn’t think much of it at the time-she said she wanted him to come over to play basketball in our driveway, but rarely follows through with this sort of stuff. I was rather surprised that the little boy (we’ll call him Dodger) called the next day to speak to Belle. They didn’t seem to talk about much, at least Belle didn’t. Mostly “Yeah” and “What?”. A few days later he called again. We weren’t home so he left a rambling message. I didn’t tell Belle about it as we were rushed to eat dinner, take baths, read books and get to bed. Which, in my opinion, is how children should spend their evenings! Except without the rushing part, but hey, we’d driven into town to pick up the coveted soccer uniform.
At 7:40, just as I was pulling everyone out of the tub, he called again. I told Belle she could talk for just a moment, but to tell him it was almost her bedtime. She did, and they chatted a few minutes while I dressed Little Lamb and Little Bear. Then I heard her saying “No, no, no, no, no…We just don’t do that.” My ears perked immediately.
I kept listening, having never strayed far from Belle, and she repeated, “We just don’t do that.” I told her it was time to read books and she needed to get off the phone. She told Dodger she had to go and then I began questioning her.
It turns out Dodger has an older sister who was saying that Belle is Dodger’s girlfriend. Belle knew that wasn’t ok with J and I, and I’m so proud of her for speaking up. I quizzed her a bit more to see if she might have wanted to be his boyfriend, but said no because of me, and she said “No! That’s gross! And we’re too young for that.”
I gave her a huge hug and told her how proud I was of her for knowing the right thing to do and say. I was hoping that might be the end of the story.
We left town for NC Friday and returned Tuesday evening. There was the usual backlog of messages which I expected were mostly hang-ups. Little did I know that Dodger had left 5 messages for my sweet Belle, 3 in one evening, all ramblings about how he was about to go to the store. Except in one message, he said “My sister says I love you, and I really do love you.” A first grader pledging love to my sweet Belle???? There is something very wrong with this picture!
J wanted to call his parents right away. I suggested Belle tell him he couldn’t call anymore the next day at school. As fate would have it, Dodger called just a few moments later. J intercepted the call, asking to speak to his mother or father. The father got on the phone and J nicely asked that he speak to Dodger, asking him not to call anymore. He seemed nice enough on the phone, even called back a few minutes later to say that he had indeed spoken to Dodger and it should be taken care of.
Only we didn’t think to mention to tell him not to talk about it to everyone at school. Belle’s teacher is pregnant and has had some swelling. There’s been a sub in the class since Tuesday. Behavior was not at it’s best Wednesday, and it seems Dodger spent a good bit of the day telling classmates that his sister says he and Belle “hooked up”. This embarrasses poor Belle and angers J and I. I wish the teacher were there to help squelch things.
I don’t yet know how today went, but I’ll be asking her soon. Man, I don’t want this to go any further! Do we call the parents back? Do we talk to the counselor at school? Ugh, I really did not want to have to deal with this crap this young!
Yes, I do realize that many parents laugh off the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing with kids. But that’s simply not the standard J and I want for our kids. And she’s not even interested in it either! [Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord!]
As for the phrase “we just don’t do that”, it’s something I started telling Belle early on about what we felt was appropriate and what was not. I don’t even know when it started, really. But boy am I thankful! It totally takes the pressure off her to have something to say, and it feels much more like a joint decision rather than “my parent’s won’t allow me to…”.
Please share your thoughts, even if you think I’m overreacting. I don’t personally think I am, but you’re welcome to think differently! Oh, and I’m sure there are tons of mistakes in this, but I’m just gonna hit publish and maybe look over it later. So forgive all those typos, mmk? Thanks!