In the not-too-distant future, our six-year-old daughter may be the one that finally makes my entire hair go grey (not that it's going to take much to get me there but still).
She is sweet, affectionate, beautiful, full of personality and charisma, and very kind but she also has a bit of J-Lo (circa In Living Color) "fly girl" within her that surfaces from time to time.
This is the same social little girl who is already wearing a training bra with nothing to train, just because her ten-year-old sister wears one. And, at times dances around the house like she's auditioning for Beyonce's Single Ladies video (fortunately, sanz the stiletto high heels).
Last week, my wife gets a call from a friend, who is part of her women's church group and the mother of a boy at our daughters’ school, to tell her that our sweet and innocent kindergartner has been playing what we would later find out is called "The Kissing Game."
In it, girls chase down boys and restrain them, so they could forcibly (in a playful and gentle sense of the term) kiss them during recess. Say what? My little girl?
The call was not to alarm us, or to make a stink of the little playground fun, but just to inform us because they can get into a lot of trouble if they are caught. I don't think the Carmelite Sisters that run the school would take kindly to kindergarten girls rough housing with boys and kissing them (not that I take too kindly to it myself!).
Later that night, the "victim" boy's mother, who is also a friend, called to say that it was not a big deal for her or her son but just wanted to touch base with us so that we are all on the same page and avoid our kids getting into needless trouble.
Ok, so how do we handle this? My initial response is to call our little Princess Fiona, who looks like the day version but apparently acts like the night-time ogre in the schoolyard, and ask her in my very gentle and politically correct tone, "What's wrong with you girl?" However, my wife suggests we take a more cautious approach and not make an issue of it (Ok, I'll go along).
We sit her down at our dinner table and ask her what happened. Immediately, she says it wasn’t her (sounds like a lawyer in the making). What she meant to say is that the "other girls" were the ones holding the boy she likes down (and much to my chagrin, calls her "boyfriend"). All she did was kiss him.
So, let's get this straight. The other girls helped her hunt down the boy she likes, wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down, to the point of sitting on him, and all she did was kiss him (Whew! As a father, I feel so much better).
I don't know what is worse, the time my older daughter, at about the same age my younger daughter is now, was bitten by a boy, who was unsure of how to express his affection, or my younger daughter and her posse rounding up the boys to kiss them.
"No, more playing that game!" I blurt out sternly. "Do you understand? I don't want you or any other girl playing that game anymore. And, no more talk about boyfriends; six-year-olds don't have boyfriends or go around kissing boys!" (Of course, I was making an issue of it; what do you expect from a dad?) She nods, as she looks down trying to avoid eye contact with me.
Part of the problem is that she wants to act older because of her sister and, although our ten-year-old is still quite naive, she is already getting into boy conversations with her friends, which our little one overhears and wants to emulate (not that Hannah Montana and other teenybopper Disney shows help any. I know, our bad as parents. Remember, when Disney stood for family values?).
"How about if the other girls want to play the game?" she asks timidly.
"No more playing that game! You tell them your dad doesn't want you to play it again. Got it?"
"Yes, dad," she says reluctantly.
I'm sure she doesn't understand my reasoning but, despite her playful and gregarious nature, she is very obedient; much more so than our older daughter. In fact, despite her tender age, she is also more spiritually inclined and prayerful then her older sibling, who is quiet and shy (Come to think of it, my older daughter is quiet, shy, less obedient and less prayerful. Maybe, she's the one I should be concerned about putting me over the edge in the Steve Martin hair look!).
Oh well, hopefully, it seems for now, we put the reins on our daughter participating in the kissing game (for now, being the operative phrase).
It's going to be a rough upcoming couple of decades…