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Home » 9to5to9, School days

The birds and bees and ABCs

Submitted by on Friday, 21 January 2011 No Comment
My only consolation as I read the note from Boots' teacher is that he wasn't the one in trouble this time.

Please talk to your children about not having boyfriends and girlfriends at school, she wrote. Some are trying to kiss and hold hands to the point where it's becoming a distraction for the class.

Boots went through his bout of this at the beginning of school, landing in trouble one day for trying to kiss a classmate. It was a variation of a problem we had in preschool, where he ticked off kids and worried parents with his hug-happy ways. He's not completely broken of it - various teammates still want to deck him because of his unwelcome embraces - but at least he's behaving himself in school.

Yesterday, though, I had to have The Talk again. Keep your hands to yourself. Don't kiss your friends - just Mommy, Daddy and your brother, and best of luck with the last one. You're not allowed to have a girlfriend until you're 30.

Sheesh, whatever happened to girl cooties?

I certainly wasn't thinking of boyfriends in kindergarten. First grade, yes, but not kindergarten. His name was Greg, and he used to slip past his grandmother every afternoon so he could walk part of the way home with me. It was a secret from our friends, though. At recess we still were on opposite sides in boy versus girl tag.

Fast forward a few decades, to when tag is banned at some schools (it was where Big Guy went to kindergarten) and kindergarteners try to cozy up in class. I suppose I should be happy that it's not as bad as what allegedly happened in a second-grade class in Oakland, where officials say students were naked on the playground and pleasuring each other in class. Or in Atlanta four years ago, when kids not much older than Big Guy were accused of rape.

I'm careful not to overreact because I know that kindergarteners don't view their actions through the adult lens. I say "boyfriend" but Boots hears "boy friend" and gets confused.

"So A can't be my friend? I can't have any boy friends? Or girl friends?" he asks.

"Of course you can have friends. You just can't have friends  you hug or kiss or hold hands with."

"But A and I hug at his house."

"And that's OK at his house - just not at school."

"Well, that's a silly rule."

"Maybe so, but it's a rule. It's the same way at work. You don't have boyfriends or girlfriends at work either."

He heaved an exasperated sigh and moved on. I reached for pain reliever.

I'm guessing that his classmates are just as clueless as he is, and I understand how these things get started. One kid has a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend," and it's monkey see, monkey do from there on.

Still, I hate that incidents such as Oakland and Atlanta - Denver, too, where a kid was reported to social services for saying a classmate had a sexy booty - make these conversations more of a minefield than they have to be.

I hate that a friend's 2-year-old knows who Hannah Montana is, and I hate that the show considers 6-year-olds as part of its demographic. Big Guy's been watching that show and other Disney fare since the fall, but only after being reminded that these kids are older and if he started talking about girlfriends he'd be cut off.

I hate that Boots somehow learned the word "sexy" - I can unequivocally say that didn't happen here - even though he has no idea what it means. I hate that an 8-year-old taught Big Guy about "hot babes."

And I hate that a kindergarten teacher is having to deal with topics that waited until high school when I was a kid.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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