I sent Zoe back to school today after her week at home to recuperate from eye surgery. She was so ready to go. She’s been for several days when she gets to go back. The surgical strips covering her stitches have fallen off. The bruising on her eyes has gone from purple to yellow to pink. The swelling has subsided. The stitches are still there–the doctor said they’d fall out in the next week or so.

I asked her if she was excited to go back and she said yes. She said “I have this idea that when I walk into my classroom everyone will come up and hug me!” I said that sounded like a nice idea, but that I wasn’t sure if everyone would hug her. I said maybe some people would be busy but some of her friends might hug her. She listed the friends she thought were likely candidates. I hope they hugged her.

Then she said, “for some reason E always wants to kiss me!” Oh? I asked if she didn’t want him to kiss her. She said, “no, I don’t want any boys to kiss me until I’m a woman.” OK.

On the way to school we talked about how she might respond if curious but not necessarily polite kids ask about her stitches or bruised eyelids. I imagine her classmates–who all made beautiful get well cards for her–will not ask rude questions, but other kids might. After we discussed that, I asked, “what would you say if E wants to kiss you?”

“DON’T KISS ME!” she shouted. I asked if there might be a calmer alternative. “I don’t want you to kiss me, E, but I’ll give you a hug,” she offered. I thought that sounded reasonable.

I will remind her when she’s 12 or 13 that she does not want any boys to kiss her until she’s a woman.