**This image above is not my kid, or her crush
His name is Henry.
What kind of name is Henry anyway?
My 4-year old proclaimed her love for Henry in the car yesterday. We were driving home from pre-school (yes, PRESCHOOOOLL!!!!), and she says, "Mom, I have a secret to tell you. But you can't tell daddy."
Me, "Okay, no problem, what is it?" (I'm so telling her father!!!)
4-year old, "I ... I....I ....ummm, I love someone."
Me, "Okay, like your sister, me, daddy, Grandma??" (not a boy, not a boy, not a boy)
***sweat is forming under my pits and in my bra***
4-year old, "No, a boy at school." (Ohhhhh fuck.)
**cranks air conditioning**
Me, "That's nice, what's his name?"
Me: "Okay, what does Henry do that you love him, is he super nice, or funny??" (please don't say he's cute)
4YO: "Henry helped me put away the chairs in the classroom during clean up time.....don't tell dad. I need to tell dad myself."
While my first reaction was to break her little her heart and tell her no fucking way will she love a boy until she's 21. I stopped myself. Which is pretty shocking. I am usually unable to stop myself.
But, I kept thinking, if I act like her friend, someone she can talk to and trust - this will continue into her tween and teen years. I will NOT sabotage it right now.
Yes, I'm still jilted by the fact that my 4-year old has professed her love for a boy. I'm horrified actually. I sat in bed last night asking my husband, "what did I do wrong?!"
"Too many Disney movies?"
"Maybe we shouldn't show them our wedding video anymore?"
"Maybe we shouldn't kiss or hug in the house?" (riiiighttt, like we do a lot of that).
My point is - I don't know what I did to make my pre-schooler proclaim love for a boy at such a young age. Isn't this a little advanced? Inappropriate?
Do you know what happened when a boy said he loved ME in preschool? I actually have a very vivid memory of this.
The stupid boy fucking bit me. ON MY FACE. And it got infected.
And you wonder why I have men issues. Love biiiiiites. Or, is it a LOVE bite? Ugh. Whatever.
Anyways, apparently it's pretty common for kids at this age to have a crush. They're acting out what they've seen in movies or what they see at home. Playing house, if you will.
Dr. Ruth Peters, (who is now deceased), was a clinical psychologist and regular guest contributor on NBC's Today Show.
Peters said this about first crushes, "Early socialization promotes crushes, Media hype, Disney movies (who gets to have the prince?)"
She went on to say that the first crush is NOT, "true or erotic love- but another type of playing 'grown up' similar to pretending to be a teacher, coach or actor."
Here are tips that Dr. Peters wrote out for parents handling the whole First Crush situation:
- Don't try to dissuade your child or talk her out of her feelings, as long as the "crush" is moderate. Caring for a peer is nice- this encourages kind and thoughtful feelings and actions.
- Show reasonable interest - "Why do you like Jason so much?" "Is he nice to you?"
- Allow sensible responses and activities such as the giving of a Valentine or appropriate birthday gift. Discourage love notes, phone calls, or too many playdates to the exclusion of other friends.
- If the crush seems to be getting too intense (your child not playing with other children, obsessing on the friend, or getting feelings hurt when the crush is not reciprocated) have a frank talk. Focus on how it's nice to care for another person, but that a sure-fire way to lose a friend is overwhelm or to smother them. Also, discuss how it's rude to overlook the other kids in the class or to exclude previous relationships- feelings are hurt and prior friends may not be there when your child is ready to spend more time with them again.