The bitch gene
"Mommy, when you were a baby, did you drool?"
I get curve ball questions like this from my son all the time. So, without much attention to this one I answered, "Yes, I probably did."
"So then Maggie was wrong!" OK, now this is getting weird. "Maggie was talking about me drooling as a baby?" I asked. "No, she said 'Girls rule and boys drool,' but you drooled, so she must be wrong."
Aha. The problem is that the girls around him are growing up, and he's not yet. And so it begins . . .
See, Maggie has already turned into a bitch. She's 5. I've been told that this is when the mean girl gene is activated, and it appears to be true. My son, also 5, is still essentially a toddler. I don't think boys grow out of that until 11 or 12. (And then they finally hit their stride as middle schoolers, a stage that lasts until 30.)
I need to figure out how to help my son navigate this. I'm not allowed to tell him that Maggie is a bitch, and that one by one all the little girls he knows are going to turn into bitches. Some will grow right out of it, some might take a few years, and a few will stay that way forever. Even my own beloved daughter, at 3, is trying out her big-girl-bitch-pants. Lord help us.
Wait, are you upset that I called a five year old a bitch, and that I then called all little girls bitches? As a former little girl, I think I've earned the right.
I was a bitch.
I was surrounded by bitches.
We had bitchy sleepovers.
We had bitchy cliques that could suddenly turn on one of our own with no reason outside of our own catty bitchiness.
And we were bitchy to stupid innocent little boys who had no idea what was happening.
Bitchiness is like a gateway drug. It's provocative and addicting; it feels good and empowering. Most girls overcome the temptation eventually, but some sink lower into the depths of its malignancy. Soon it's a way of life. These girls grow up to be vindictive, nasty, vicious women (please refer to The Real Housewives franchise).
When faced with bitchiness, I feel my own latent bitch rear her fork-tongued head. Her power surges through me and it takes effort to suppress it. Like any drug, once an addict always an addict. It doesn't matter that I quit bitchiness at 17. Now that my kids are encountering bitches (and, in the case of my daughter, actually turning into one), I need to work doubly hard to keep my inner bitch down.
Note to self: You are not allowed to call a little girl a bitch to her face.