I signed and sent in Emily’s paperwork today to get her enrolled in middle school.
I’m a ball of nerves over it. A fleshy bag of conflicting emotions. I stood in the shower this morning and cried thinking of how little she once was and how much I miss being able to hold her that way.
I think she’s excited, though focused more on things like having a locker, getting to choose electives, the broader range of food choices in the cafeteria, and older boys. While I, however, am frightened by things like bullies, protecting her academic record, that she’ll start her period at school suffering great embarrassment, and older boys. Older girls, too, because sometimes those older girls wield a power greater than any other. The influence they can impose upon our sweet, innocent angels, and the knowledge they can and do impart may very well be at odds with what we think is right and/or age appropriate.
I’m dumbstruck sometimes by what I hear my kids have learned/read/heard at school; whether it’s something that came out of another kid’s mouth or ended up on the side of a bathroom stall. I’ve always been a fan of educating my kids and not keeping them in a bubble so that they’re well-prepared. With things coming at them so quickly, my fear is that I will miss something. I simply won’t be able to stay in front of it.
Speaking of staying in front of things, I’d like to say a special THANK YOU to T-Pain, Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen for prompting an important conversation with Emily about the word “horny”.
The girls like the song 5 O’Clock by the aforementioned artists so I usually let them listen, but I do my own censoring if the radio station isn’t kind enough to do it for me. They’re usually pretty good about it, especially in that after school time slot. The girls all think its funny when I censor stuff, and I’m sure it creates more of a buzz because then they all wonder what the word was that was so bad that mom had to turn the radio down. But I like the song, too. I’m not so old that I can’t/don’t still appreciate good music.
Anyway, the other day in the car after school it was on the radio and I must’ve been doing something else because I forgot and at the last minute rushed to turn it down. I looked over and caught Emily giggling beside me in the passenger’s seat. So of course I realized right then that she knew what the word was and apparently it was funny to her. So I made a mental note. By the way, the other girls – clueless.
A week or so later, it was just Emily and me in the car going through the McDonald’s drive thru and the song came on. Instead of reaching for the volume to censor it, I just let it play on and seized the opportunity. She asked,
Emily: Why didn’t you turn the volume down?
Me: Because I know you know what the word is. Do you know what it means?
Emily: Well, yes, I think so.
Me: How do you know what it means? Where did you hear it?
Emily: A boy at school.
Me (internally): WTH???!!!
Me (externally): And under what circumstances did “horny” enter your conversation?
Emily (completely embarrassed): Well, he told me that when his brother looks at me he gets horny.
Me: Ew, that’s disgusting!
Emily: I know!
The conversation went on and started to spiral downward, but I managed to save it by back-tracking a bit on the “Ew, disgusting” comment, and by saying something about it not being disgusting in the right context. And then we discussed what the right context would be. So I think she’s got the point now that it is a totally normal, natural thing.
I’m, frankly, relieved to check this off the list of things I need to cover with Emily. Never in my life did I think I’d be having a conversation with my 12 year-old about such things. At least not until middle school…
P.S. I googled the word when I came home just to see what she would’ve found had she done the same. Reading the entry in urban dictionary was so frank it made me blush.