F is five (and a half, she likes to point out) and has announced that she has a boyfriend.
Isn’t it a little early for this?
My heart kinda sank the first time she told me. I mean, I just feel like she is growing up fast enough as it is. I KNOW she is just having fun and testing out the terminology and trying to navigate new friendships at a brand new school and that YES, she really does like one particular male friend a lot, but, boyfriend? I cringe. I cringe, then I analyze, then I stress, then I start to panic a little, then I force myself to stop panicking, then I cringe again, then I call my mom, then I take a deep breath and realize I need to just relax. Right? It’s just a phase, right? Yikes.
One of my first thoughts was, where is this coming from? We’re actually pretty conservative about what we let F watch and listen to. I see those little girls on Ellen singing every word to Nicki Minaj’s latest song and I think to myself, so cute! But I would never let F learn that stuff at this age. PBS Kids and They Might Be Giants are about as crazy as we let her get right now. Though I did let her watch the “Ramona and Beezus” movie and Selena Gomez’s Beezus does have a boyfriend in the movie… See? I could guess all day, but I realize the reality is, she’s surrounded by kids now with older siblings and I don’t monitor her media intake 24/7 and and and… there are a million places she can pick up on stuff that I don’t necessarily think is age-appropriate. What’s a parent to do?
One thing we can do is talk to her about everything, and we do. So when she announced that she had a boyfriend, after letting her know that we don’t have boyfriends in kindergarten – we can have awesome friends that we like a lot, but there are no boyfriends and girlfriends in kindergarten – we talked about what boyfriends and girlfriends mean to her. She said, “Well, I have a crush on him, and he has a crush on me.” I tried to just listen and not let my face betray what I was really thinking. It wasn’t easy. But then she clarified:
“I mean, mom, I could just crush him,” she said with a smile, slapping a closed fist onto her other palm.