Thursday, February 25, 2010
on dating... no, no... not me..
Amanda has a boyfriend.
-insert really loud screaming here-
I don’t even know what to say about that. I mean, I knew it was coming. I knew the day would come when my amazing little girl would find out that there is this whole world of boys and dating and butterflies in your stomach.
I knew it was coming.
But honestly, it wasn’t one of those things I was preparing for. I didn’t have a plan.
So I think I've talked about Cody before. He and Amanda met in daycare when they were just wee little things and became friends. My mom knew his parents because they are bar dwellers, as is my mother. One day, Cody’s family moved him away. I think Amanda was in third grade and she was just devastated.
The following year my Mom talked to his Mom (who he wasn’t living with) and got an address. Amanda wrote to him and we mailed it but never heard back. Then out of the blue last year, she gets a call from him. Our home number had been passed down the grapevine. He was living in Eldorado (about three hours from us) and had tracked her down.
It was kind of sweet.
Anyway, she was freaking thrilled. She was so thrilled in fact that when they talked she neither gave him her cell phone number nor got his in the midst of her excitement.
This I was able to tease her endlessly about.
So anyway, this year, he moved back in with his mom who lives right down the road from us. And he started school at Amanda’s school, one grade above her.
And I started hyperventilating.
Here’s the thing (and maybe I am just one hell of a bleeding heart but) he has a crappy family. Like, if he were from normal family, I think I would be so much better at dealing with all of this. BUT he is from crappy, drinking, hang out at the bar with your kids, let your kid sleep in a camper behind your trailer, fight over which parent has to take care of the kid family.
And it breaks my heart.
He is a good kid. He’s smart, he could totally do athletics, he’s nice. But NO one has his back. NO one gives a shit about whether this kid makes it or not. Which splits me in two because on the one hand, I want to believe in him... I want to have his back. I want to be someone that he can talk to who gives a shit. Because really, when you come from jacked up family stuff, sometimes all you need is one person who cares about you. BUT on the other hand, he wants to be Amanda’s boyfriend and what does he have to lose? His family doesn’t care if he has a girlfriend. They don’t care if he is holding hands or sneaking out or all the stuff that comes after hold hands that I am not ready to say out loud yet. If he does any of that stuff, all his parents are going to do is shrug their shoulders and Amanda will hate me for not allowing her to see him.
This part of parenting BLOWS.
So, anyway, when he first moved back, they were “going out” and I let him come over to my house a few times to hang out. In the living room. Supervised. So that they could see each other and I wouldn’t have to worry that she was making out with him in some grungy trailer.
Oh my god.
-insert barfing here-
Well, that lasted a few weeks and then they decided to just be friends (read: they broke up because he was the shiny new toy on the playground and all the girls swooned over him) and they weren’t really hanging out anymore. And I was SO UNBELIEVABLY RELIEVED. BUT I am a realistic. The first dude won’t be the last dude so I really, REALLY, had to start thinking about what I was going to do the next time she liked a boy.
What were the rules going to be?
What kind of boundaries was I going to put in place?
How was I going to handle it all?
Because I don’t want to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to this.
Well the next boy was 15, his name was Gabe.
He is dead now because I killed him. I’m just kidding ;-)
Anyway, Gabe was kind of a nerdy kid who Amanda rode the bus with. They weren’t in the same school (BECAUSE HE WAS IN FREAKING HIGH SCHOOL) and he didn’t have a cell phone (THANK GOD) so she only saw him on the bus and that was it. And guess who else rides the bus? EMILEE
(Today, the part of Emilee will be played by the nosey younger sister who wants to get her older sister in trouble.)
The Gabe thing went off and on for a few months. But nothing serious. They were never “going out” because Gabe was catching too much flack for liking a seventh grader from the ninth grade girls. This gave me the perfect opportunity to talk to Amanda about how she doesn’t want a boyfriend who is so influenced by ninth grade girls and so worried about what everyone thinks and if she wants to have a boyfriend it should be someone worth having who cares about her and doesn’t care what other people think about it.
In the meantime, she is still in the loop about everything that is going on with Cody and she had told me that he had gotten in some trouble for getting into a fight with some kid who was picking on him. Another conversation we got to have about holding people accountable. Every time she told the story about Cody getting into a fight she wanted to make it sound like it wasn’t his fault, that he had no choice but to get into the fight. And EVERY time she said it, I corrected her.
HE is responsible for his choices, DO NOT give him an out on that.
So anyway, last week, her and Cody started talking on the phone pretty much every day again and it was becoming fairly evident that they were starting to like each other again. Emilee confirmed it a few days later by letting me in on the bus gossip. Which only gave me a limited amount of time to figure out how I was going to handle it all.
So sure enough, Amanda comes into the kitchen over the weekend with her Sweet Daughter Face on which made me immediately know that she was up to something. She starts helping me with whatever I was doing as she broaches the subject of how her and Cody could manage to spend some time together, primarily Sunday (so this must have been this past Saturday). I told her I needed to think about it but that he wasn’t coming over Sunday at all because I hadn’t had enough time to make up my mind about how to handle the Cody Situation.
She and I sat down on Sunday and I laid out the rules.
-Both of them have to have all grades over 80 on their report cards to be “going out” and especially to see one another in person. (This will be grades over 85 on the next report card… Hey, I figure they are both MORE than capable of making those grades, may as well use it.)
-They need to be working on Cody’s science together because he is having a hard time there and Amanda is a Science WHIZ.
-They aren’t allowed to be in her room or ANY room that has a closed door.
-They have to spend at least half of the time he is over hanging out working on college stuff. Looking into colleges, researching what colleges have the best programs for what they want to do career wise and where they are located. This is going to be like freaking homework for them. I am getting a notebook that they can use for notes and pros/cons, etc.
-He has to be held accountable for his actions. So if he gets into another fight or other kind of trouble and his parents don’t give a shit about grounding him, he will be grounded from Amanda. They won’t be allowed to spend time together or talk on the phone for whatever amount of time I deem acceptable.

That’s all I have for now but I think I will be adding to it. I’d love for them to start a language program together or something. He is interested in learning languages so it may help me get Amanda better interested.
He was over last night. They rode the bus home together and he is shy. He doesn’t say much to me. We have a little neighbor boy (Justin) who is friends with Em and who hangs out at the house ALL THE TIME and he is SUPER chatty with me, he talks as much as Emilee does (which is a LOT) . Anyway, Justin was over and hanging out with us last night too and being his normal talkative self so I am hoping Cody will see that he can talk to me. I fed him dinner with the kids and then his mom picked him up around six. Amanda texted me this morning and said he was going to ride the bus with her again and stay until 5:30. So today I am going to make an effort to talk to him. To try and get him to actually start talking to me. All of the girls friends (male and female alike) talk to me. I am The Cool Mom. All the kids like me, the parents like me. So this little dude who wants to spend time with my daughter is going to like me too. And then I am going to try and handle the whole him liking her thing while helping the both of them continue down the path to college.
But so help me, he had better keep his hands to himself.

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 1:02 PM
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