Skip to main content

My Baby Girl is Growing Up, Despite My Best Efforts

My Baby Girl is Growing Up, Despite My Best Efforts

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

Earlier this week, my wife sent me the text message from Hell, the text message every father dreads getting. The words no father of a daughter wants to hear or read.

"Your daughter has a boyfriend"

My reply was calm, well-reasoned, and rational.


Every father with a daughter reading these words is silently nodding and thinking, "there's nothing irrational about this." Every father who only has sons is snickering, thinking I'm overreacting.

To that, I have two responses: 1) Try to remember what it was like when you were a teenager, and you'll understand my concern, and 2) if your kid ever pokes his nose around here, I'll return it to him in a box.

I immediately called my wife.

"I blame you for this, you know," I said.

"How'd you leap to that conclusion?" she asked.

"I've been very clear on several things she is not allowed to do. Talking to boys or being in the same ZIP code as boys are a couple of them. Now you're just violating those rules willy-nilly, letting her be in public, or go to school."

My wife said some things that were meant to be reassuring, but since none of them included the phrase "heavily armed response," I wasn't really listening.

But my wife told our daughter that if she wanted to continue to see The Boy, she had to tell me herself. (I call him The Boy because I don't plan on learning his name. I don't anticipate him being around long enough for me to care.)

"I have to tell you something," my daughter said when I got home that evening.

"What's that?"

"Other people might call it 'going out,' but I call it 'hanging out.'"

"Call what hanging out? And what am I going to call it?"

"Well. . ." The pause was killing me. "Well, I've been 'hanging out' with a boy." She even said "hanging out" like there were actual quote marks around it.

I started pacing around the kitchen. Outwardly, I was very calm and rational. Inside, I was still continuing my text back to my wife.


I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for this for the last 12 years. Even when my daughter was one year old, we had family friends trying to set her up with their own one year old.

"Look, they're playing together. That's so cute. Wouldn't it be great if they got married?"

"No, they're clearly just playing in the same vicinity, not 'together.'" I was very protective of her even then. "She's not getting married to anyone, especially someone who still wears feety pajamas and sleeps with a night light."

My attitude has not changed, but apparently all the rules have. And yet nobody told me about this. Nobody warned me that I need to beware of young men taking an unhealthy (for them) interest in my baby girl. Nobody told me my daughter was going to be interested in boys when she hit her teen years.

Or maybe they were, and I just wasn't listening. I'm bad about that.

I'm sure there are those of you who think I should have been prepared for this for the last 12 years, that I should have known this would come one day.

I have been. I read "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" several times. I even created my One Simple Rule for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

It's "NO!"

But apparently, this rule was ignored — it's simple, it's clear and to the point, I don't see the problem with it — because now my little baby is "hanging out" with The Boy.

Now, we've been very clear on what our daughter is allowed to do. No being alone, no kissing, and no actual dating until she's 16. And I've already begun devising a plan to frame her for some heinous family crime that will allow me to ground her for 14 years, so I think I'm set there. But beyond that, I haven't done much mental preparing, which is why this took me by surprise.

Why is it that fathers are so overprotective of their daughters, yet don't worry the same way about their sons? Why do we look at these young men as threats to our own sanity and family cohesiveness?

Is it because it means we're getting older? That our daughters are old enough to look to another male, and not us, as their hero? Or that in a few short years, they're going to be leaving the house and starting their own families?

I'm not that worried about it though. My wife owns a Remington 11-87 shotgun, and I'm not afraid to let her use it.
Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.


  1. I hear the membership numbers for organized religions are on the decline. Perhaps you can help out the Catholics by signing her up to become a nun?

  2. My 16 yr old son has been dating the same girl, I say girl because even though she looks like a young woman my son is still a boy, for just over two years now. This is his third girlfriend. The first who was a whole year older than him gave him a hickey the day before my father's funeral, my son was the only grandchild who spoke at the funeral. Imagine mom's horror when she was trying to show him how to tie a tie and she ran across this hickey. That was the end of that trampy little girlfriend. The one he has now is a nice girl even with the black make up and piercings. I don't worry about my son. I've educated him well on everything and I have made it clear that I am not going to be a grandparent for at least another ten years. No exceptions. I do worry about my six year old daughter who is as fickle as can be. Each week there is a different boy who catches her eye. Luckily the little boys don't have any interest in girls yet. I might have a few more months.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am accepting comments from people with Google accounts to cut down on spam.
Otherwise, spam comments will be deleted with malicious glee.

Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide


Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…