Childrearing

Help! My 4-Year-Old Is Apparently The ‘Class Girlfriend’

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children kissingEvery Tuesday morning, I head off to my daughter’s school and spend time helping in her pre-k class. This morning as we were walking in from the car, my daughter yelled a greeting to a boy in her classroom who was holding hands with another little girl as he got off the bus. He looked at the other classmate and said, “Sorry Emily, Brenna’s my girlfriend.” Then he ran up and tried to hold my daughter’s hand as the other child shrugged him off and headed into school solo.

It took me a second to register what had happened, but I quickly regained my composure and told the pair of children that there were no boyfriends and girlfriends in elementary school.

Of course I realize this is a lie. I was there, holding hands under the table with Kasey Polly in kindergarten. But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with my daughter following in those footsteps. And I’m sure my mother didn’t actually encourage the attachment when I was so young. I know that Kasey and I got in trouble for our transgression.

I was resolved to keep an eye on my daughter’s suitor as I helped in the class this morning. Like any mother, I didn’t trust this boy. When we walked into the classroom after hanging up book bags and getting out folders, a chorus of greetings rang out. Almost every little boy in my daughter’s class said, “Hi Brenna!” Multiple children told her that they had saved her a seat. She beamed and said hi and chose a seat next to another little boy. The first, the one who had called her his girlfriend just a couple minutes before, got upset and glared at the child who now got to sit next to my daughter.

Over the next couple of hours, I began to notice a pattern. Activity after activity, my daughter soaked in the attention as the boys in her class argued over who got to be next to her. She doled out praise to her favorites. One little boy told her that she looked beautiful and he even got a hug. One little boy cried when he didn’t get to sit next to her. I could not believe the level of intensity that seemed to spring up over night.

When the kids went to music class, I took the opportunity to ask the teacher about all of the “Boyfriend, Girlfriend” talk being thrown around the classroom. She nodded and chuckled and said, “It looks like Brenna is the ‘Class Girlfriend’ this year. There’s always one little girl that all the boys seem to fall in love with. Congratulations.”

That was not the help or explanation I was looking for. “What do I do?” I asked her teacher. She didn’t exactly assuage my fears when she she said, “There’s nothing you can do. You remember what that time was like. You tell her that there are no boyfriends or girlfriends and that we need to be nice to all of our friends and then you let the kids work it out themselves.”

It sounded so easy when she said it. It was much harder to try to calm myself down when two boys were scooting as close to my daughter as they could possibly get during circle time. I’m not sure how to stop the madness yet, but I know that my little girl and I will be having a serious talk about this whole “Girlfriend” business when she gets home from school today.

(Photo: Aliaksei Lasevich/Shutterstock)