Too Soon to Crush?
When I picked my littles up from their second day of school, I routinely asked them how their day was.
My Kindergartner quickly replied his day was fine and asked to turn on the movie in the car. My first grader, on the other hand, started in on a long winded explanation (which is not out of the ordinary if you know him).
Aidan started in, “Mom, when you were a little girl, was there a boy in your school that was the most handsomest boy in school, and you wished you were the prettiest girl in school so he would be your friend?” I answered and said that yes, probably that was the case at some point in time (or more times than I’d like to admit). He then asked if I could tell him what to do, what to wear, what to say because there is in fact a girl that is THE prettiest girl in school. “She even has a pretty name…Grace” he explained.
Without wanting to get into the details of how incredibly uncool I was, or recounting the yearly group of boys that taunted and mocked me relentlessly, I tried to put myself in his shoes. I tried not to tell him about the year I decided I was going to try to wear makeup and went to school looking like a clown (thanks for letting that out of the house, Mom!), or the year I successfully got the entire school to laugh at me in one shot by telling them to vote for “Booty, booty, booty, booty, Boudiette!” for Student Council. I tried to think about what it’s like to be a First Grader.
What I do remember about First Grade was a boy named Justin. I remember he had red hair, but I don’t remember thinking he was “the most handsomest” as Aidan would say. I do remember liking him. I remember him being kind to me and knowing he was my friend. I remember actually bursting into tears when Miss Rogers assigned our seats at our classroom tables and finding out that she had not sat me next to Justin. I don’t want to promote throwing fits, or sobbing in public, but as it turned out Miss Rogers changed my seat and allowed me to sit next to Justin. I don’t recall much else about him that year, nor do I recall a developing friendship or relationship with him, other than a couple of activities where we probably played with the same set of Lincoln Logs during free time. What I do recall is that moment of sadness thinking that I wouldn’t get to sit next to this kind boy and wanting very badly to do so.
I could freak out about my six year old beginning to show signs of liking girls and be terrified of him growing up too fast, or I could accept it for what it is. There is something special about this little girl, and there is an affection Aidan has for her that is different from what he has for his male friends. I mean, he doesn’t blush when I ask about Jackson, or pause over every detail of the game he played with Heath at recess. When he tells me about Grace, he slowly and deliberately talks about her kindness, her hair, and the fact that she is not a skirt or dress kind of girl, but usually wears jeans and shirts. It’s very sweet, really.
I didn’t share with him any pick-up lines, or tell him to pen a poem for her and sneak it in her cubby. Instead, I reminded him that the best way to gain friends is to be a friend. I also reminded him that little boys should always be gentlemen to little girls, by holding doors for them or offering to do nice things for them. He interjected that we should always be nice to others, not say mean things, and share snacks. I concurred and told him he was probably on the right track to getting anyone to be his friend.
Aren’t crushes and affection essentially admiration for others and connection with people who are like us in some way or possess qualities we desire? If they are, I don’t see anything wrong with what my sweet boy feels for Grace. I think the line is finding a way to encourage kindness and friendship without teasing him about his new “girlfriend.”
What do you think?
See you around town!