Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I just found out from my seventh grader daughter (who has shown no interest in boys) that my fourth grade son has a crush on a girl in his class! I don’t know whether to be relieved that he has no weird Oedipal tendencies (I have a few ‘different drummers’ on my side of the family tree) or ticked off that some 9-year-old tartlet has stolen my son’s heart. He actually asked me the other day “When did Dad first tell you he loved you?” I was speechless, which is a rare occurrence indeed.
How should I respond to this budding romance? Nip it or humor it?
Whatever Happened to Mama’s Boy?
Nine years old, huh? That’s what we in the Big City call a “late bloomer.” I’m not even going to try to guess what’s going on with your crush-less daughter, but I would recommend that you keep an eye on it, and unless she starts crushing and soon, report back to us for further guidance.
I think it’s sweet that your son has a crush and that he’s seeking your advice. He looks to you and his dad as role models and that’s wonderful. So although you may be tempted to respond with “Daddy said he loved me after he finished college and his mother was dead and buried” to his question, I’d suggest humoring him with the truth.
Don’t lay it on too thick. When my kids hinted at the crush-word, I went all out. I started with a brisk discussion about different types of love, segued into all sorts of feelings that people may have towards each other, peppered it with “you’re absolutely normal” and other statements of healthy validation and finished and warnings about safety that may have done permanent damage.
I’m guessing by their never mentioning any crushes since and avoiding all eye contact with me means I overdid it.
So in the grand tradition of “Do as I say and not as I do,” I suggest that you answer your son’s questions honestly and let him know that you and his dad are available if he wants to chat more about it. And keep an eye on his beloved. My cousin met his future ex-wife when he was eight. You never know.