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Dance, Babies, Dance

It was a rainy spring afternoon and I was beside myself with excitement.

I took extra care in my appearance, squeezing into a ridiculously tight green corduroy skirt and shrugging into a matching oversized green sweater. I fluffed my spiral perm until my hair resembled a glorious poofy triangle and lined my eyes with bright aqua green eye-liner I borrowed from one of my girlfriends.

I was twelve years old and about to attend my very first spring dance in the darkened gymnasium inside my junior high school.

To the adults around me, I probably resembled a ridiculous raccoon wearing a bad leprechaun costume, but in my mind I was half-woman, beautiful and ready to slow dance with the first sweaty palmed boy who asked me.

Sadly, I spent most of my time standing next to the gym wall watching all the other sweaty teens sway to the music. Sometimes I danced in a big circle of friends as the boys raced around the gym trying to snap the bras of all the blossoming girls around them.

I didn't have a bra to snap so most boys ignored me. I was still flat chested and pretending it didn't matter while secretly praying to God every night to grace me with a rack Dolly Parton would envy.

I never got that coveted rack, but I did get my slow dance with a smelly, awkward boy.

His name was Jeff and I had known him since grade four. He played hockey. He went on to play in the NHL. (If only I could see into the future...I'd have played my cards better. Heh.)

I was standing by the exit, trying to look cool and ignore the scent of desperation and body odour I oozed like pheromones from an elephant in heat, when suddenly Jeff appeared in front of me and asked if I wanted to dance and pulled me out onto the dance floor.

I don't remember what song was playing, but I remember the flashing lights from the d.j and the heat radiating from his sweaty skin underneath his thin tee shirt.

I remember placing my hands on his shoulders and wondering if I had sweat stains in my pits and praying he wouldn't notice if I did.

I remember the weight of his hands placed on my waist and wondering if he would accidentally touch my bum.

I remember wondering if I could convince myself to like this boy, whom up until that moment, I had no interest in at all. I was pathetic and desperate and wanting a boyfriend. Any boy with a pulse and testicles would do as long as he didn't have a pizza face.

(Thank heavens for high standards.)

We swayed to the music and suddenly one slow dance became two. I was in teen heaven. I was in the arms of a boy who wasn't too geeky (even if he wasn't one of the cool kids) and he wasn't trying to stuff me into a locker.

Next thing I knew, a couple of kids approached us with a stop watch and a dangerous glint in their eyes. Jeff nodded to them and before I knew it, he was kissing me.

Or, rather, he was slobbering all over me. Saliva was every where and he tasted like pepperoni pizza. My heart was racing like a dog chasing after a rabbit and I couldn't decide if I was thrilled or repulsed. I didn't get a chance. Before I knew it he was pushing his thick nasty tongue in my mouth and trying to eat my tonsils.

Just when I thought I was going to faint from lack of air, he released me from his vacuum-like kiss and wiped his slobbery mouth with his hairy arm.

My lips were chapped and cut from being ground mercilessly into his braces and I had saliva all over my very red face.

I couldn't look him in the eyes, as I was half mortified, half repulsed by what I had just participated in. Still, I wondered if I could like him enough to let him be my boyfriend.

It was hard to think while my lips throbbed and the taste of pepperoni pizza lingered on my tongue.

The circle of kids who stood around watching us trying to gnaw one another's faces off, clapped and announced we went at it like two hungry puffer fish for twenty-three seconds. Jeff smiled and I blushed and the crowd moved on to target the next awkward couple who danced in front of their path.

Jeff and I finished our dance and then my girlfriends rushed to my side and into the girls bathroom, while peppering a million questions at me.

"What was it like?"

"Did he stick his tongue in your mouth?"

"Do you like him?"

"Is he your boyfriend now?"

Jeff later asked me out, but I couldn't get past the feeling of his metal mouth grating my soft lips like cheese in a grater so I said no.

And I have never eaten pepperoni pizza since.

Thus was my initiation into the world of teen romance, spring dances and french kissing.

Looking back, it was a time I wish I could block out. Almost as much as I wish I could block out the memory of losing my virginity. But that's a story for another day.

Flashbacks of wet chins, thumping music and the taste of pepperoni all flooded back the moment my darling children stood before me with hound dog looks on their impish faces, pleading for me to allow them to attend their very first spring dance.

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I immediately said no and my daughter yelled that "I am so unfaaaaiiir!" and then huffed into her room to cry a river of broken tweeny-hearted tears.

My son just shook his head, half relieved not to half to attend and half disappointed that he wasn't going to get the chance to snap some chick's bra.

How could they be at this age already, I marveled? Just yesterday, it seemed, I was potty training and washing out sippy cups. I wasn't ready to relinquish this part of their childhood and face the reality that my children are chaffing at the bit to grow up.

My husband pointed out the fact the dance was for 10-13 year olds at the local community hall and would be well chaperoned by teachers and parents.

He reminded me that he had some of his best childhood memories at those dark, sweaty functions in the very same hall and he didn't grow up to be some over-sexed horn dog who knocked up the first chick who would have sex with him.

That's when I pointed out, YES YOU DID, YOU ASSHAT!

"Ya, well, not at age eleven. And it worked out in the end, didn't it? Loosen up woman and let them have a little fun. Besides, it's a night free of listening to them bicker over video games," he urged.

That's when I hung up on him and vowed to find a good divorce lawyer. It's easy enough for him to give permission, I thought to myself, he's not here to actually see the aftermath. Bugger.

But listening to my daughter pout through her dinner and mope around the house while my son acted all put upon and hound-doggish, was more than my mommy heart could take.

I snapped like a dried twig and caved to their wishes.

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She's thinking of romance and he's wondering if they will have rootbeer available. I love my kids.

Suddenly it was rainbows and moonbeams under my roof as my children rushed around to get ready for their big night.

Me, I was still trying to swallow the pepperoni vomit that threatened to spew out.

My babies are growing up and I am powerless to stop it. I am simply not ready to know that my daughter is swaying in the dark with some sweaty palmed punk while my son runs around trying to find a victim to slobber all over.

My head just exploded into a million pieces and splattered my computer screen as I typed that sentence.

So I did what any good mommy would do. I sucked it up and took a million photos. I inspected the premises, talked with the chaperones and publicly humiliated my children by threatening every little boy and girl I came across to keep their mitts off my children.

I stalked the parking lot, giving the stink-eye to all the preteen demons who made eye contact with me until the dance chaperones found a willing father to lift me up and forcibly stuff me into my vehicle.

Apparently, I was freaking out all the kiddies.

Still, as I drove away, while the chaperones blocked the door to make sure I didn't change my mind and charge back into the building, I felt a twinge of pride. My kids are growing up. Just like they should be. Even with me as their mother. Doing everything in my power to screw them up.

Later that evening, I picked up my children. They were red faced, sweating and smiling so hard I feared their faces may crack. I noticed my daughter was now sporting lipstick and eyeliner.

Flash back to my own tween heaven. Good times.

Fric and Frac chattered happily about the dance and who danced with who and I smiled grimly and kept my mouth tightly shut, just happy to note there was no visible signs of road rash on either of their faces or dried saliva.

Halfway home, Frac piped up and asked why I was so quiet. Was I upset they went to the dance?

"Oh, I'm not upset at all. I'm thrilled you all had a great time," I honestly answered. I was. I really was. My babies are growing up and I'm dealing with it.

(Picture me later that night with a bottle of red, dealing with it.)

"I'm just making mental notes about all the kids you danced with so that I can terrorize them the next time I see them," I cackled like a crazy woman.

"MOOOOOM!" they cried in unison.

"Hey, it's all part of growing up. You get to go to spring dances and have fun, and I get to stay at home and polish up Daddy's shot gun." I smiled at them.

"It's a win-win for everyone."


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Enjoy your kids while they're little. Because before you know it they're getting ready for dances and telling you to hurry up and take the damn picture already.
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Reader Comments (35)

So, I need to know:

1) Jeff who?

2) What kind of shotgun?

3) If you will go back in time and dance with me at the community hall.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBackpacking Dad

"Any boy with a pulse and testicles would do"

The sad thing is there wasn't enough girls with those kind of standards when I was young so I had to wait until we were old enough for the magic of alcohol to replace the girls common sense before I got to have any fun.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTravis Erwin

HAHA You are so funny! But I am SOOOO glad you are not MY mother. LOL Although my dad DID clean his guns in his GUNROOM while talking to my future boyfriends. And he also told my husband, when he asked if he could marry me, that if he hurt me he would hunt him down and he really meant it. LOL

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Girl, you make me LAUGH!!!

My dad used to conveniently start cleaning the shotguns (all 12 of them!) anytime any guy would come pick me up from his house ... whether it was a date or not!! In retrospect, we much have had the world's cleanest gun collection for about 4 years there. Hmm ...

I remember the junior high dances with a mixture of nostalgia and ... well ... horror. The bad clothes. (Doc Martins with white socks and short skirts? Really?) Dancing to TLC and Bone Thugs 'N Harmony (and we were all really white!), and slow dances to George Straight, Garth Brooks, Clay Walker, and Boyz II Men. (What right did 6th graders have dancing to a song names 'I'll Make Love to You'???) And I distinctly one dance where my fingernails were painted ... gulp! ... LIME GREEN!!! I had a matching shirt. Oh, it was so very, very, VERY bad.

But good for you for letting your kids go to their dance. I've already decided that when my oldest turns 8, we're moving to a fortified compound deep in the country, and cutting off all contact with the outside world (except maybe for my hidden laptop!), and doing the whole arranged marriage thing, so I'm lucky, really. I'm not going to have to worry about my kids getting into trouble when they hit puberty. Heh.


May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrea in Texas

Do NOT get me started on losing-our-virginity stories, PLEASE. This post totally took me back to the seventh grade! Except I wouldn't dance because I was way too self-conscious. Silly me, I missed out on (almost all of) the groping.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAssertagirl

I think you pretty much described my first kiss at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School - good times indeed.

Luckily for me my son will be too busy curing cancer to think about girls until he's at least 30.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDon Mills Diva

Why do you black out your daughter's eyes and not your son's?

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPhilly

Good old Jr. High dances. I remember those days so clearly; and every time I hear UB40's "Red Red Wine" I go right back to that time.

Thankfully I was way too much of a geek to have some loser smush his braces all over me at the age of 12. High school though was a different story...

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSleepyNita

Oh geez, Misterpie might buy a gun just for the purpose of polishing it visibly when Pumpkinpie gets to that age... He will be freaking out worse than me, and I was already a touch squirmy, watching her and the neighbour boy push each other up the slide by the bum the other day.

luckily, I was nto the girl you'd just grab and kiss - I was shy and soemwhat serious, and was always girlfriend material, so even the loss of virginity story is sweet, not regrettable. Still. Maybe I missed soem fun, maybe not - who knows?

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkittenpie


I black out Fric's eyes because she has asked me to, while my son, Frac doesn't care about appearing on the internet.

Frac is much like his mother, while Fric is her father's daughter all the way.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Mommy

Frac is cute! (Er, don't tell him I said that! He's at the age where he will not appreciate that!)

Man, you just took me back to the smell of the cafeteria/gym (milk-about-to-turn and sweat socks, with a hint of last Tuesday's fishsticks) and the sweaty, breathless way my heart turned over when a certain guy moved (or breathed. Or OHMYGOD was he LOOKING at meeee?) and wishing that Heaven by Bryan Adams would SLOW DOWN and NEVER END.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdaysgoby

Ah, those were the days. The first time I got Frenched, I thought that it was the most disgusting thing, well, ever.


May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Yep, you're on the right track with sticking with the red wine. TRUST ME. Keep it stocked in the liquor cabinet.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMocha

That took me back to my Jr. High dances!

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabelle

Kids dress much cooler than I ever did back in jr high.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBlogversary

Junior High...ah yes, tween HELL. If you had boobs you did everything you could to hide them and if you didn't have boobs you did everything you could to convince your friends that you did!

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Too funny! Yes, these dear children of ours grow up in spite of us...and way too darn fast...although when their going through certain stages it can seem like forever. Oh the fun of torturing our children!

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLori

Yep. They grow up fast.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ Juggling Life

awwww, and soon enough they will be old enough to have sex legally.

I know I say this all the time babe, but shit I can't handle it! Giving you the heads up so you can stock the wine cellar.

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

My dad would show off all of his guns.... then offer the guy a beer. I would leave with said boy and he would say "your dad is the coolest. I want to be his friend." So much for scare tactics.

And your kids are adorable. Start on the good wine now. Soon you'll be on the look out for whatever wine is available..... fast. :)

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Kitty

Aww, it brings me back to my terrible first dance and kiss! You always make me smile

May 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina

Thanks Tanis, I understand, was just wondering.

I'm glad you let them go the dance, it's part of growing up !!

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPhilly

Ten! Ten year olds! Oh, eek, that's next year.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbeck

When I was 12, I had a seven inch growth spurt in the span of one school year. I went from 5' 2" to 5' 9". Dances were not fun that year. Well, the boys quite enjoyed it, considering their eyes were right at my boob level.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMomo Fali

Oh, I am so not looking forward to this. But my maiden name is the same as a rather famous manufacturer of semi-automatic rifles, so mayble I'll just take the gun-cleaning route.

Good for you though for letting them go. I have the toughest time doing that.

Your kids are gorgeous.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFishyGirl

The only memory of any jr. high school dances for me was meeting Mrs. Joe for the first time. I danced with her friend and not her. I wonder what that friend is up to.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAbove Average Joe

I CAN'T! I WON'T ALLOW IT! There will be NO pre-teen angst in my house! There will be no MORE growing up! They are 6 & 5 and as far as I'm concerned they can STAY that way --- or they will be grounded for the rest of their natural lives.

My girls know they aren't allowed to grow up, yet they grow taller and smarter, and more and more into pre-teens every day! UUUGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

yep. totally. i so get this. my older children (boys) didn't affect me as much as watching my now-13-year-old daughter (the baby) graduate from middle school (omigod, the dress! for the graduation dance! must be perfect!) and move onto high school.


May 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthe planet of janet

So what you are saying is: buy stock in red wine, stock lots of red wine, and deal with it.

And dude, do you know how much it makes me giggle to know you have TEENAGERS - holy f*ck.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermotherbumper

My first French kiss was from the weird girl down the street. I was completely grossed out. More because of the the whole tongue thing rather than the girl thing.

Great story! My oldest turned 10 today.

May 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterslackermommy

"You get to go to spring dances and have fun, and I get to stay at home and polish up Daddy’s shot gun.�

I love it. Gotta keep 'em on their toes! ;^)

May 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Just wait until you attend their wedding! I almost drowned in my own tears when my oldest got married. And I panic everytime my 18 year steps out the door! Good Times The Are A Coming!!!!! AH HAHAHAHAHA!!!

May 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjustmylife

Awww, sweet kids. poor mommy. Awwww, sweet mommy, poor kids. I remember his thingy getting hard when he kissed me & I freaked! And Hello! I was 16 before I was allowed to go to a dance.

May 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLindy

Why do dads get to be the laid back, cool ones?!

May 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthat girl

they are so LOVELY! :)

May 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHaley-O

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