March 9th, 2011

“Doing It” Junior High Style

Linda Kennard

Tanner’s got a girlfriend, Legs, and four months of his endless chatter about her is starting to get on Clyde’s last nerve. You can hear it in Clyde’s blase responses to Tanner’s updates. When Tanner announced that he “did it,” explaining that he’d “officially held hands with a girl,” Clyde rolled his eyes and asked, “What about Jay?”

“Okay, with a girl who isn’t my sister—or my mom,” Tanner shot back.

“Well then, congratulations . . . on those 10 seconds!”

According to Clyde, Tanner is always with Legs at school and they never stop talking. Legs is so special that Tanner passed up a slumber party with favorite twin buddies c&c. He wanted to be “well rested” for Legs and the ice skating date he’d planned for the next day. Clyde handled this reasonably well: “Seriously?!” But the post ice skating conversation was too much for Clyde.  The minute we dropped off Legs, Tanner reported to me and Clyde that he and Legs “did it,” which this time meant they’d hugged.

“Wow!” Clyde yawned.

Undaunted, Tanner provided a play-by-play account of every word and gesture that lead to the hug: they’d been thinking exactly the same thing, they’d both wanted to “do it” for a long time, and they’d jointly decided that our sunroom was the perfect spot. He described the awkward silence preceding the life-altering event, explained that Legs had later confessed that she’d bent “way down” to hug him because she was worried that his head might be lined up with her, “well, you know.” Finally, according to Tanner, Legs sighed and said, “Let’s get this over with.”

I felt privileged to hear this level of detail so listened intently and responded with encouraging smiles and nods. Clyde responded with a loud, long sigh.

Tanner turned to face him. “What?”

“Dude, it’s not that you said anything wrong or did anything wrong,” Clyde said. “It’s just that it’s so BORING!”

I was sniggering at this—until I saw Tanner’s face in the rear-view mirror. All that gleaming, happy pride had slipped right off.

C&T have been best friends for twelve years. It’s a gift that I don’t want them to lose but they don’t know they have. So I pointed it out to them: “You guys have a good thing going here,” I said. “Not everyone has a best friend—someone who will listen to anything you have to say without judging you, even when what you’re saying is boring or stupid. If you’ll always listen like that to each other, then you’ll always know that this, right here,” and I pointed back and forth between them, “this is your safe place.”

Clyde looked at Tanner and mumbled, “Sorry Dude.” After a moment of silence, Tanner carried on: “You know that hug? When we did it, it felt a little, hm, what’s the right word? Weird.”

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No More Icy Veins

Any kid will tell you, there’s nothing worse than cold snow creeping in between your mittens and coat, sending an icy chill right through all the veins in your wrist! But it ALWAYS happens. Solution? Take an old adult sock and put a hole in it for the thumb. Then put it under your child’s coat and mittens. Voila! Just the barrier you need.