The other day a friend told me that my 6-year-old has a boyfriend. Her daughter overheard this from a classmate at lunch who was sitting at another table and may or may not know the deal. Questionable intelligence, but still.
I couldn't be sure where my super gregarious but also sensible daughter stood on the "relationship" continuum. And what does a first-grade relationship look like anyway? Is it a name-only thing? Is there hand-holding? Seat saving? More?
The whole concept of kids having so-called boyfriends and girlfriends has always been ridiculously adorable to me. A close friend of mine has twin boys slightly older than my twin girls and from birth we've been talking up their Brady-Bunch-style double wedding. When they were infants we'd line them up on the couch, their heads uncontrollably leaning on each others' shoulders, and take tons of semi-embarrassing pictures. We'd joke about our shared grandchildren.
Recently, though, we've had to stop. Once the boys hit kindergarten the whole "girlfriend" concept made them burst into tears. It was like a super gross insult. On the other hand, I know some 5 year-olds who seem as slick and confident and interested in the ladies as Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused.
At dinner I brought it up. "Ugh, mom! Why is everyone asking me that?" she said sounding way too much like a 15-year-old. It seems she does have a boyfriend -- her old pal from preschool. But she's been really upset because the girls in their class -- the girls! -- have been relentlessly teasing her about it. One of these girls has been directing a play at recess and she cast them as a couple so she could make them kiss. The drama! I was riveted. She kept eating and shrugged her shoulders. "It's fine, though," she said, breaking into a devious smile. "I came up with a great idea. I'm making a pair of paper lips! Our paper lips are going to do the kissing for us."
How old was your kid when they had their first boyfriend or girlfriend?
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