Who knew that preschool was such a hotbed of romance and intrigue? On our way to school this morning, Noelle chirps from the backseat that Nico is her best friend and if he doesn't want to be friends anymore then instead of walking away, she'll stand next to him and they'll fall in love and hearts will come out of them.
Then she went on to list the other 'couples' in class: Sammy and Paige, Charlotte and John (or was it Jimmy) and Brenden and Braden.
We are nothing if not equal opportunity at this school.
I tweeted what she had said about her and Nico and her friend Sammy's mom replied that Sammy had told her that he (Sammy) loves Noelle and thinks she is so pretty but she (Noelle) is marrying Nico and Sammy is marrying Paige because he loves Paige the best and Noelle is apparently spoken for or I think it may have gotten all sister-wives up in this joint.
We all had a good laugh and 'whaaa?' reactions but then I started thinking; where are they getting these ideas about love and marriage? They are all the oldest in their families so it's not as if they are taking cues from older siblings and if they are anything like Noelle, the sophistication of their media consumption begins with 'Blue's Clues' and ends with 'Olivia'.
Dylan and I rarely watch anything 'mainstream'; our tastes run more toward 'Ghost Hunters', 'Leverage', 'Ghost Hunters International', 'Destination Truth', 'Ghost Adventures' and of course football though I will readily cop to loving questionable movies such as 'The 40-Year Old Virgin' and 'Team America: World Police.' And 'Real Genius' because DUH. We only watch TV after the kids are in bed so it doesn't seem like they are getting it from us. Maybe from books as Noelle likes princess stories but rarely comes back to the 'falling in love' part, she's more interested in the why: why did Cinderella's shoe fall off? Why were her stepsisters mean to her? Why did Gaston want to hurt the Beast? Why did Ariel want to be a mermaid?
Is this a comprehension issue? That at this age they don't know to express liking another person other than 'love'? Why the need to 'pair up' so young? I remember having two guy best friends when I was in kindergarten; we did everything together. In fact, my mom still has the ornament Ben gave me when I was 5 but I don't recall anyone labeling the relationship as 'love'. I don't remember anyone commenting on a 'boyfriend', they were simply my best friends.
Have we as parents been contributing to this by unconsciously labeling another child as a 'boyfriend' or a 'girlfriend'? Have we watched them play together and commented,' Oh, she loves him so much!' Are we projecting onto our children's playmates our interpretation of relationships or is this simply how we are all wired at that age; everything is absolute, love or hate, there is no in between, no gradations, shades of gray? Are they just trying to make sense of the world with the words and concepts that they have?
I think that Dylan and I will need to be more careful in what she is exposed to and help her better understand emotions and relationships though I will say, it does make me feel a bit better knowing who my future son-in-law is already.