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Kathy Tofflemire, Published March 22 2011

Parenting Perspectives: Grandmother going girl-crazy

My older grandson, with his early-Zac Efron-like haircut, is a good-looking kid. And I don’t think that’s just the opinion of a prejudiced grandmother.

Obviously, I wouldn’t want him to be a homely child, but his mother has noticed that he is attracting the eye of middle-school females. Oh, dear.

A friend of his, who lives in West Fargo, has a girlfriend already, and my daughter doesn’t even want to think about that.

During middle-school orientation last summer, she said she and her son were greeted by a couple of girls who knew my grandson by name and who giggled and blushed as they handed him his paperwork. My daughter said she wanted to turn around right then and home-school him.

He’s not just a cute boy; he’s a nice boy. We envision him having to, as the old saying goes, beat the girls off with a stick.

He likes to hang out at the local roller-skating rink, just as his mother did some 25 years ago.

While skating with his younger brother, Mom realized a group of girls were talking and pointing across the polished floor at – her older son.

It’s not that my daughter has forgotten middle school, or what was in her day (and mine) junior high. It’s exactly the opposite. She remembers school-girl crushes, including one involving a boy who grew up to be a TV and movie actor: Josh Duhamel.

My first such crush was in seventh grade, but I aimed higher than a fellow student. I was enamored with my math teacher.

In junior high, I remember talking to boy friends, not boyfriends, on the phone for hours. But the phone was in the kitchen, so it wasn’t as if much privacy was involved.

Now with cellphones and texting, it’s a whole different world – a world involving kids who are moving more quickly than ever toward adolescence

Our church pastor noted that he had to have a discussion with the current confirmation class of middle-schoolers about “sexting.” I was afraid to ask why.

At 14 or so, I remember going to the local theater with a couple of classmates. We were “picked up,” if you will, by some young airmen from the nearby Air Force base.

In that darkened theater, I experienced my first grown-up kiss. It scared me to death, and I don’t believe I ever told my mother about it. I wouldn’t recognize that young man if he were standing in front of me right now, but years after the experience, a whiff of someone’s after-shave took me instantly back to the balcony of that theater.

I suspect if I had granddaughters, I’d be even more worried about the tween and teenage years.

Living through my daughter’s teen love life was enough.

Right now, my grandson expresses very little interest in the opposite sex. Now, if we can just get him to keep that attitude until he’s, oh, 18 or 20 …


Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5514