Monday, September 20, 2010

What Happened to the Cooties?

When I dropped Princess D off at morning daycare today she was greeted by 3 boys. One with a head covered in sun-kissed wavy blond hair and a cherub face gave her a hug. At first I thought nothing of it until I heard another one of the boys say "She is cute!"

Wha? A 5 year old boy thinks my 5 year old daughter is CUTE and another boy is still hugging her? What was going on? What happened to "Girls rule, boys drool"? Or, boys have cooties?

I carefully looked the 3 boys up and down, asked them their names and what class they were in. One boy is in the afternoon Kindergarten class, but not the one Princess D is in. The boy who thinks she is cute is in the first grade. And, the little Romeo who had his arm around my daughter is in her class. I looked at the daycare teacher shaking my head and mumbled "This is happening way too soon."

The hug and saying Princess D was cute is totally innocent. Kids are exposed all the time in their animated movies and TV shows to physical attraction and falling in love. I remember when I was in Kindergarten a little boy named Marc Riggs kissed me. I returned the gesture by hitting him with a plastic banana toy. So, why was this situation with Princess making me feel like I needed to up my daily dosage of Lexapro?

We all know that 50% of marriages end in divorce, but a fraction of those marriages include small children whose parents are dating again. Princess D is witness to my long distance relationship with The Boyfriend. Apparently, her dad has had a woman sleep over (in his bed) on the nights he has our daughter, so I can only assume that is his "girlfriend". The concept of dating, falling in love and marriage is very real to Princess D unlike traditional families where if the mom and dad get a date night out is few and far between soccer practice and PTO.

So, what do I do about this? Do I talk to her teacher about keeping an eye out for too much hugging? Do I linger at the school during pick up to see if I can meet this boy's parents to have a chuckle about this "crush"? Is it time to have a G-rated "birds and the bees" discussion with D? Life is complicated enough trying to teach her how to read let alone trying to explain the difference between a "boy" friend and a "boyfriend" complicate it even more?

After school I asked her if she played with the little boy who hugged her today. She said "Yes, he was a prince and I was a princess and we got married ... but don't worry, Mama, it was just pretend." I asked her if he kissed her and she said "NO! I don't kiss my friends!"

Whew. I breathed a sigh of relief and said a little prayer that I won't have worry too much about this stuff for a few more years (or at least until the next crush).