Last Updated on February 18, 2020 by World's Okayest Mom
Watch out Rikki Lake! My Girl, at the wise age of eight, should have her own talk show.
(I just referenced Rikki Lake. My sister-in-law (ten years my junior and who didn’t know who Rob Lowe was) would say I’m showing my age. So who else could I use? Delilah After Dark. No, that’s probably an even older and more obscure reference. Remember Delilah After Dark? On the radio? With the soothing voice? She hosted the real-life Sleepless in Seattle self-help radio show. Remember? Anyone? Bueller? There I go again… So many 80s/90s references I can’t stop myself!)
Anyways, the point is, that My Girl should have a talk show where she gives self confidence advice to preteens with lime green hair and black lipstick who need to hear the myth dispelled that boys like you when they are mean to you.
Because My Girl – still struggling through 2nd grade – is an expert in heartbreak.
I’d like to say she’s too young to have a boyfriend and a heartbreak, but I vaguely remember my first “boyfriend.”
My first heartache
It was probably about first or second grade. He was adorable with the Zach Morris spiked hair. Much like My Girl, I had an early trauma of the heart when he decided he liked my best friend better at the time. Who could blame him? She was tall and blonde and very model-like (still is, actually).
But karma is a bitch. He dumped her (a trauma that she remembered well into our high school years) for my Sister. And again, who could blame him? The Sister was in fifth or sixth grade at the time, and also blonde and beautiful. Even as a seven-year-old, this boy had a preference.
My Girl and Her Boys
So My Girl comes by it naturally. I’m also not surprised because she’s had a fondness for boys that already worries The Husband immensely.
When she was four years old, she started taking cues from the many Disney movies she watched. My Girl would say she wanted to “kiss like a princess.” For awhile we didn’t know what that meant, until she grabbed Papa’s (my dad) face with both hands, tilted her head to the side and smacked him on the lips. For about ten seconds. He was cracking up laughing the whole time, but she wouldn’t let go of his face.
After that, when she wanted to “kiss like a princess”, The Husband would come sprinting from the other side of the house, jump across a coffee table, and haul her away. He wasn’t taking any chances of her finding a prince too early on.
But she’s found a few princes in her short eight years. There was The First Crush in kindergarten. A week before Valentine’s Day, she decided she was in love. The First Crush was a jovial, sweet boy from her class. She just had to (italics with emphasis on the “had”) to get him a special Valentine’s Day gift. So we scoured the local grocery store and ended up with candy and a homemade card.
His response at these heartfelt gifts was as to be expected: “Thanks” and a shy duck of the head. Thus ended her First Crush.
Then came the first boy she was going to marry. I still hold out hope that this dream comes to fruition as this boy is the son of Leslie Ann. We’ll call him Doogie, since he’s is a boy genius like Neil Patrick Harris’s character and just as adorable. She talked about marrying Doogie for about two years… until about the time she met The First Boyfriend and she decided that girls were Doogie’s “mortal enemy.” I’m still unsure if those were his words or My Girl’s inference.
Then came The First Boyfriend
He was in her first-grade class last year, and she decided he was her boyfriend halfway through the year. I have to give the girl credit for choosing wisely. When I asked her why she liked The First Boyfriend, she said because “he is kind and a gentleman.”
Who can argue with that? Isn’t that what we all want? She told me later the story of “how we met.” He stuck up for her during recess when some other boys were picking on her. I believe teasing regarding her cowgirl boots was involved. Again, can’t blame her for her choice. We all want a boy who will stick up to bullies and support our eclectic style of dress.
All summer long, My Girl talked about The First Boyfriend – missing him, hoping he would be in her second-grade class, making future plans for them (which involved living in a tree house in Africa). Once we saw him at the post office, and both shyly waved to one another. Ah, young love.
My Girl’s prayers were answered and The First Boyfriend was placed in her same class.
One day, while trying to get My Girl to stop wiping her snot on her shirt (obviously, I told her that The First Boyfriend might think it’s yucky, thus hoping to convince her to stop; no judgment on my parenting methods), she dropped that bomb that she didn’t care what The First Boyfriend thought.
“I broke up with him,” she said.
When I asked what happened, she replied:
“He said he didn’t like me anymore and that his likes someone else. So I broke up with him.”
That’s an excellent reason to break up with him, I admitted. I love her spin on this heartbreak.
It’s all coming together now. After a few days of unbelievably good behavior in school, My Girl was sent home with a bad report. It was short and to the point:
“Threw water bottle, yelling, wouldn’t sit down.”
After a little digging, it came out that the heartbreak and the negative points for classroom behavior were the same day. Apparently, My Girl is not going to take rejection lying down. Yelling. Yep, been there. Throwing things. Uh huh. Refusing to “calm down.” I get it.
I am not Rikki Lake
What I don’t get is how to talk to an eight-year old about heartbreak. (To be completely truthful, I don’t know how to talk to full-grown adults about heartbreak.) I thought I had more time to prepare impactful speeches chock full of inspiration and wisdom. I need to rewatch all episodes of Full House and Boy Meets World before I have these conversations.
But here I am, caught unprepared with a heartbroken second grader.
“He just doesn’t see how special I am,” she said.
Right to the gut! I was blown away by the sadness and wisdom in that statement. We talked a little about how she changes which stuffed animal is her favorite on a regular basis, especially when there’s a new toy involved. Maybe this other girl is just the new stuffed animal. I’m pretty sure Danny Tanner and Mr. Feeney never compared a classmate to a stuffed orangutan, but like I said, I was unprepared.
Then all my motherly self doubt started the set in. Did I just set the stage for all future mother-daughter talks? Did I give sufficient advice so she is sufficiently confident in my abilities? Or did I blow it? Did she leave the conversation, thinking: This is who I have to lead me through my troubled teenage years? Seriously? I’m screwed. ??? It’s possible.
I apparently didn’t need to worry much. While My Girl is a believer in Prince Charming, she’s also not one to let things get her down. The sunny disposition is hard to overcome, even in the face of her first heartbreak.
The next day, when I asked if she was still mad at The First Boyfriend, her very telling answer was, “Nah.” Then the Rikki Lake wisdom came shining through. She said:
“There are many boys out there. I just haven’t met them yet.”