I try very hard to be the kind of parent whose children feel like they can come and talk to you – about EVERYTHING. This requires that one keep a neutral unpanicked facial expression, even though inside, one may be screaming OHMIGOSH HELL NO! (That sort of honest response is sure to freak out the child and thus ensure an end to any desires to share their thoughts with you in the future.)
So when my 8 yr old Princess comes to me and asks, ‘is it okay to like a boy who’s older than you?’ I was smooth and suave. Calm, cool and collected. “Well, it depends dear, how much older than you? And really, its probably more important what kind of boy he is.” (Inside – “Are you nuts? What makes you think it’s okay to even know that boys exist as an opposite sex, you’re only a babe in the woods! Who’s this boy? Where is he? I’m calling the police. A hitman. A deadly assassin. A rabid dog. James Bond 007. )
Reassured by my soothing tone, the Princess continues. “I don’t think you know him mum.”
I continue to strive for nonchalance. “Is he a year above you at school darling? Or maybe a boy at church? In primary with you?” (Oh, Im gonnna know him. And he’s gonna know me. And there’s going to be some serious conversations happening when I get my hands on this boy.)
The Princess looks a little nervous. Bashful. “He’s A LOT older than me mum.”
(Oh man, now Im freaking out. Im thinking of all the potential suspects…boys in the 15 yr old’s class at school…the junior instructor at Judo – he is rather cute…maybe somebody at tennis class? That’s it, this child is never allowed out of the house again.)
“Oh really? Just tell me who it is and we can chat about whether its alright for you to like him, okay, come on now…you can tell me…I’m your mum and we’re best friends! Come on, tell me.” ( I feel like Im the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang…trying to lure skittish kids out of the gutter with a handful of lollipops…Children, where are you? Children? It’s alright, come out now! I have delicious lollies for you! I smile at the Princess bravely. Encouragingly. A smile that says, we are best friends. We tell each other EVERYTHING. Come on now….TELL ME WHO HE IS, NOW! BEFORE I LOSE IT COMPLETELY and forget that I am a new age modern mother who welcomes open channels of communication with my children.Before I regress to the stone age mother who wields wooden spoons)
The Princess heaves a deep sigh and forges ahead. “Okay, I’ll tell you then. It’s the lead singer of the Jonas Brothers.”
The. Lead. Singer. Of. The. Jonas Brothers.
Several things happen at once. First, I feel overwhelming relief. Ha. This love is doomed from the start. There aint no way in hell the Jonas Brothers are EVER coming to tour Samoa. I’ve totally been freaking out about nothing. The Princess is never going to meet Mr Jonas at RLS primary. At judo. At church. At tennis. Or at Luckys Foodtown. We are all safe.
Second, I am taken on a rush of unwilling nostalgia as I remember being…ummm…very young…and being totally enamoured of a boy band called Menudo. ( I will buy a Big Mac for any reader of this blog who actually KNOWS who that boy band is/was. I highly doubt anybody does and if they did, they will be far too ashamed to admit it! Big Macs can only get you so much information after all.) I confess I adored Menudo. They were adorable. And I whiled away many hours listening to their songs and imagining they were singing them all to me. SIGH. (Where are they now I wonder? If current trends in celebrities are anything to go by then they’re probaby all drug addicts/dead/in prison/OR parents of well-adjusted 8 yr olds who are pining for the lead singer of the Jonas Brothers.)
So, powered by sweet relief, I hugged the Princess and sat her down to tell her a story. About how her mother used to pine wistfully for a boy band called Menudo. And we laughed about how silly I was. And she told me all about the Jonas Brothers. And why she thought they were super wonderful. And I could afford to be interested and accommodating. Because an 8 yr old crush on a boy band is certainly nothing new. And because a crisis has been averted. Yay! I don’t have to lock the Princess up in a Rapunzel castle. Or stick her in a glass box protected by seven dwarfs. ( who does that?! I mean really!) Or prick her finger with a kuaniu so she will sleep for a hundred years. And we can still be super best friends. Who always tell each other stuff.
And then I sent her off to play Barbie dolls with the Beast. And me? Im off to google a boy band called Menudo.
Oh, and I want to check the Jonas Brothers touring schedule. Just to make sure there aren’t any Pacific destinations coming up anytime soon…