Two weeks ago, my daughter dropped the iPhone that her Daddy bought her for Christmas three years ago. The screen shattered, despite the hard case it was in, and with it being three years old, it just made more sense to get her a new one (from his point of view, anyway).
So off they went to the store, which was packed. Instead of waiting for someone in the store to transfer everything over for her, Dad took it home and did it all himself. The only problem is when he set up her original phone, he created an email address for her, and used that to tie to iMessage and outgoing mail.
He didn't remember the account info, and since her phone is tied to my Apple ID (we download a lot of the same music), he just set her default email as mine and that was that.
I started getting her texts (we have since fixed this), whenever someone used iMessage. Most of her friends text her through Kik, but on rare occasion, they use iMessage. I discovered this when I was sitting at work, and suddenly I got a flurry of text messages on my phone.
I almost never get text messages, unless they're from Anna, so I immediately looked away from my computer and picked up my phone to make sure there wasn't some kind of emergency.
It took me a minute to realize was I was seeing. My daughter's kinda-boyfriend (she won't admit he is but he is) was texting her. And it was adorable in its inanity. It consisted mostly of "What's up" "Nothin'" "Me too" "BRB" "OK" "What's up now?" "Still nothin'" and so on and so on. Finally, they decided to play "Questions and Answers".
Coke or Pepsi? He asked.
Favorite teacher? She asked.
Favorite subject? He asked.
Bacon or sausage? She asked.
Adorable. Finally, he asked her if she liked him. She told him yes and he liked her too and he asked her if he could ask her a question. She replied with "Sure" and he chickened out.
Nevermind, He said.
No, go ahead, She said.
He hemmed and hawed a bit more, and then finally he just asked.
How big are your..... He asked.
WHAT? Did this kid really just ask my twelve year-old daughter how big her boobs were? Really? My fingers itched on the keypad. I could easily, easily, break right into their conversation. But I also wanted to see what she was going to say.
Um....ew. She replied. Then she said:
Why do you want to know that?
He backtracked immediately with an apology, and told her he shouldn't have said it.
She replied with
It's okay I'm not mad. But I'm not going to tell you that.
There's more to me to know than that.
He finished off with
I feel so stupid now.
I put the phone down. And then I picked it up and re-read the exchange again. And again.
It surprises me not one bit that a twelve year-old boy wants to know how big my daughter's boobs are. She's been blessed with her paternal grandmother's genes and I bought her first bra when she was eight. She's also curvy everywhere a girl twice her age would be, and I can tell you, summer vacations at the beach are a nightmare of teenage and college-age boys who have no idea they're ogling a twelve year old.
So I do understand the curiosity. It's natural. But actually asking her? That's not acceptable.
And she told him so.
This boy she likes. Likes a lot.
Instead of telling him, or apologizing for being embarrassed to tell him, she took the bull by the horns, proverbially speaking.
And I was so fiercely proud of her, I packed up my desk and I drove home.
Her level of mortification upon the discovery of Mom having access to her texts registered somewhere on the Richter scale, I assure you. She began to immediately defend herself.
"Mom! I had no idea he was going to ask that! I don't know why he did! You have to believe me!"
I sat her down. "I do. I do believe you. And I want to give you this."
I handed her a $20 bill.
"What's this for?"
"For whatever. Maybe we can go shopping tonight. I just feel like you need to be rewarded."
"Huh?" She looked at me like I might just be screwing with her. But I wasn't.
"You handled him exactly right, Anna. You didn't tell him what he wanted to know, because he doesn't have a right to know it. You didn't freak on him and call him names. He's curious, and if you think he's the only boy in your school who'd like to know that, you're wrong."
She rolled her eyes. "I know Mom."
"What you did instead was turn his question back on him. You asked him why he wanted to know. Why it was important for him to know, when there were so many other, better, more interesting things to know about you. You made him realize that his question was disrespectful, and when he realized it, he felt foolish and awkward for having asked it. Maybe he'll think twice before asking another girl a question like that."
"It was just a stupid question, Mom. I didn't want to answer it."
"And you stood up for yourself and refused to have a conversation that made you uncomfortable."
"It was no big deal," She said, shrugging.
And I realized that it was utterly wonderful that it was no big deal. That it was just in her nature to say "I don't have to answer that. Not even if I want you to like me."
It was just common sense to refuse to be defined by the sum of her cup size.