Friday, November 16, 2007

Movie Night

*Edited below!

I don't know what bothered me more about attending the annual PTA-sponsored movie night at my kid's school, the fact that my husband got out of it again, or the fact that I found myself sitting on the rowdy side of the gymnasium behind two fifth graders who were experimenting with their lips as the entire student body looked on.

At one point, the boy of the pair, a wise-cracking bully who has been on my bad side since he pushed McRae in kindergarten (I will never be over that), turned around and said to McRae, "Your girlfriend is jealous because I'm sitting with mine and you aren't sitting with her".

At what point is it appropriate for a mother to tell another person's child (and I use that term firmly, because at 10 years of age you are still a child, even if you make-out with someone) to turn around and shut up?

I did my best I'm-the-mom-and-I-don't-approve-of-what-you're-doing-or-saying look as I leaned over and told McRae "Just don't listen to him, he doesn't know what he's talking about."

But I would be lying if I didn't admit that a huge part of me wanted to pick the little squirt up by the ear and walk him over to his mother. Who was, of course, doing absolutely nothing about the spectacle that was being created.

What really bothers me about the whole thing is not the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing, surprisingly.

I had a "boyfriend" in the 4th grade and all we did was swing on the monkey bars together.

When McRae started pairing up with his "girlfriend" in the 3rd grade, I knew all about it. Of course, monthly scrapbooking with his teacher at the time also gave me an "in" into his social life, but more than that, he told me.

He told me that "girlfriend" to him, meant really good friend that's a girl.

He told me that it was the other kids at school who made more of a big deal of it than he and she did.

I was fine with it, especially since I spoke regularly (still do) to her mother and knew that there was no inappropriate behavior going on. They don't call each other. They don't have the need for cell phones, so there is no texting going on at all hours of the night. They don't "go out on dates". They are in the 5th grade, and if she wanted to come over and hang out, that'd be fine, but it hasn't happened, and that's fine too.

But the pressure that other kids bring to the table is a force to be reckoned with, and I never really thought about it until tonight and seeing just how focused they all are on what others are doing.

As the couple sat there in the brightly-lit gym, entangled in inappropriate cuddling, all eyes were on them. And I am not kidding when I say "all eyes". Kids kept coming up to them, whispering in their ears and then running off giggling. Each time they'd change positions, heads would turn. They kept going behind the folded up lunch tables with other kids and this sparked an outburst of chattiness among the 8 to 11-year old set.

The attention they were receiving was enormous.

And yet, the parental guidance was void.

My sons just rolled their eyes and shook their heads.

And in the car on the way home, I heard Wyatt say to McRae, "Do you know what I saw Josh* and Tammy* doing?"

And McRae said, "I know, you saw them kiss."

And I said, "That's disgusting!"

And they both agreed.

I just think the world is going way too fast for our kids. When are they going to be allowed to be children, if their childhood is gone in the fifth grade?

*Edited to add:

The more I think about this, the heavier it weighs on my mind.

This was a PTA-sponsored event. There were teachers there, attending with their own children, but no chaperonres to speak of. And there shouldn't have to be, other than the PTA members involved.


Because it was crystal clear in the flyer sent out that parents should plan on attending with their children, as this was Family Fun Night! It's not like we're dropping them off at a high school dance. This is elementary school, and it shouldn't even have to be clarified at this age that it is the parent's responsibility to chaperone their own kids.

Now, obviously, most level-headed parents would understand this concept, pack up their beach chairs and pillows, grab some candy out of the Halloween bowl and commit to watching a double feature in a gymnasium with their kids. Family fun, right?

But the audacity of the parents of the "couple", to just sit back and do nothing. To send a younger sibling in to break them up when the cuddling got worse - it's ridiculous!

I guess I'll have to rethink my attendence at the next PTA meeting, which I really don't want to do. I've been involved with them in the past and too many preschool board committees to shake a finger at, and for so many reasons, I choose to volunteer and involve myself at the kid's school in other ways.


And thank you -- all of you -- for your comments on this. Hearing from like-minded parents really helps and maybe I'll bring your comments to the attention of our Principal! Don't worry, I'll keep you anonymous if that were to happen.


Family Adventure said...

Oh I know what you mean...some kids are growing up waaay too fast. But then, I do think it was like that back in our day, as well. There were always some kids who were more 'aware'. It wasn't me, though! :)

But the bully, he has my blood boiling, too!


LindaJ said...

I'm sick of the sexual* pressure that is put on our kids in elementary school. And even more annoying is the lack of parent supervision. When is it okay for a 3rd grade girl to wear a tshirt to school that reads, " Your boyfrirend is a good kisser" Someone had to buy that shirt for her. Sluts I tell you.

Stephanie said...

I can't believe that no one did anything! Dude, if that happened when I was in 5th grade, a teacher or someone would have broken it up!

alice c said...

Don't they have the 'six inch' rule at that school? My children are at a mixed shool and there is general guidance that 'excessive displays of affection in public, going beyond normal greetings, are not allowed'. It becomes more difficult to enforce as they get older (i.e. 17/18) but there is peer pressure not to have inappropriate behaviour.

Kellan said...

Nooooo - this was not good. I'd have been over there (quick) talking to the "kissing" kids or finding a parent or teacher to do so! I think these kids are growing up too fast and it's not appropriate for that sort of behavior to be going on in elementary schools - especially at a PTA function. My kids would have been devasted if I had done something about it, but I still would have said something. That little girl needs to have a talking to (the boy too) - she's gonna get in trouble - she's well on her way. Good post - so thought provoking. Take care.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Holy cow! WAY too fast. I'm all about calling it out and stopping the behavior if mommy and daddy do not step in. If this crap happens in grade 5, we will be talking pregnancy in grade 7. I'm the evil mom that would be walking up and telling them to cut it out. One warning, then it is time to drag them out. A chaperone is necessary these days because parents don't want to be parents -- they often want to be their kid's friend. Sad.

Bananas said...

Ridiculous. But don't just not go to the next event. I really think you should bring it up to the PTA. I have to think that at least most of them would agree it was inappropriate, and then hopefully it can lead to a conversation about how to ensure it doesn't happen at the next event. Scary.

Kyla said...

5th grade? That is prepubescent for most kids! Ugh. It is really ridiculous that neither of their parents were present or chose not to step in to break it up. Those kids were setting and example to all the other kids there...and by the adults not breaking it up, they were basically stamping approval on it.

painted maypole said...

that is really disgusting. 5th grade? just think what they'll be doing in a year or two?

and the "parents"? wow.

you know, when I started reading this post and you wrote about "experimenting with their lips" i thought they were making fart noises or something. seriously. i guess I am still the niave mom of a kindergartener.