I've hinted at this topic in the past. Well, I've skirted around the issue, really. But now, as my son Kyle begins his last month as a fifth grader I feel compelled, once again, to beg the question:
How young is too young for a girlfriend?
Back when I was young and it wasn't uncommon to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex walking down the street, dating was for teenagers, about 16 (on the average) at the very youngest, I'd say.
In fact, my siblings and I weren't allowed to start mingling with the opposite sex until just a few years ago. We're all in our 40s, btw.
But, what I'm hearing from my 'tween son - when he can pull himself away from returning texts from about 47 different little girls daily - is that he and all of his buddies have girlfriends.
"As in, friends who happen to be girls, right?" I said, my throat beginning to close as beads of sweat collected on my brow.
"Mom, please, you're being ridiculous - and a little weird," Kyle said, completing sloughing off my question.
My breathing became labored.
It was then that I began taking close note of precisely how many calls from girls Kyle gets on our house phone per day. I lost count - and consciousness - after about 72.
What do these little girls want? Are the evil little vixenellas after his lunch money? Perhaps they're looking for someone to transport their books to and from their lockers? Are they after candy? Flowers? Gulp, jewelry?
My new pal Nancy Haskins of Liberty shared my terror.
"Oh, it's ridiculous. Why are these girls calling and texting our sons all the time? Why aren't they busy at their own houses?" she said, feeding my furor.
Yeah! Are these wily women trying to weave their spells over our innocent young sons? I pictured the Lady Gaga wannabes sitting around in their stilettos and fishnet, plotting how they'd manipulate our doe-eyed boys.
And just as I was gasping into a paper bag in response to thoughts that Kyle could show interest in a Haley Reinhart-typed harlot rather than a down-home sweetie such as Lauren Alaina (OK, America, I'm still ticked about Haley making it into "American Idol's" top three over James Durbin, but I digress), Dad chimed in on the matter.
"Patty, calm down. Texting is just today's version of passing notes. You're making a big deal of nothing," came the irritatingly calm voice of my husband Kerry.
Did I mention that he was a Casanova of the first order back in his youth - a technique which began when he got in trouble at nursery school for napping on the same carpet square as his "girlfriend" Billie Jo?
Kerry and I aren't speaking right now.
How I long for the good old days when girls were terrified to call boys. Laughed my sister Gina, "I know. If we ever got caught calling a boy, Dad would've started lopping off fingers, right?"
Listen Dad, I know that I fought you back in the day, but only now do I see how right you were. And I have lived a very full life without that pinky finger, anyway.
But speaking of my father, I must give him a quick shout out. Happy birthday, Pop - I love you!
And Kyle? You're grounded until you're 40.
----- Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.