Two of my kindergarten students came into my classroom holding hands today. It was quite the big deal. (To me, at least.)
Their bus is always the first to arrive at school, so they didn’t have much of an audience. Just me and the other boy who rides their bus. (Poor third wheel..) But I gave them a plenty big reaction: GASP. “Are you guys girlfriend and boyfriend now??” Enthusiastic nodding.
A few weeks ago, we did a unit on “relationships,” during which my co-teacher slyly suggested the kids ask me if I had a boyfriend. They showed absolutely no interest in that line of questioning and instead began shouting out who their current boyfriends and girlfriends were. Not all of them seemed to grasp the concept of monogamy, but nonetheless, I found their confessions amusing. (Maybe confessions isn’t the right word. They were more like proclamations or territorial claims.)
Ever since then, I’ve been keeping tabs on who likes who, and I’ve noticed two things:
1. Proximity plays a large role in romance. Some unlikely attachments have formed simply because of table assignments.
2. Girls usually seem to go for the nice guys. There is one boy in my class who 3 or 4 (of the 6) girls claim is their boyfriend. His nickname is Henry Bear. Enough said.
However, the reason I got so excited this morning is that this particular girl and boy have a long history that goes all the way back to last year (before I knew them). It’s long, but not complicated. Basically, the boy has always openly professed his affection for the girl, and the girl has always rejected him.
Even though I suspected that she secretly enjoyed his attention (why else would she pick him to chase her around the circle during Duck Duck Goose?), it didn’t seem like anything would ever happen. Recently, he even seemed to have given up on her as he began professing his love to other girls in the class (i.e. his table partners). Writing their names in his workbook, yelling out to them from across the room, even kissing them. (It used to just be on the hand, but this week, he announced to me twice that he had kissed a girl on the lips… My reaction: “Eww, gross, Jake!”)
Anyway, I don’t know what happened on the bus this morning, but I got excited. This was more than experimental affection or a closeness brought on by convenience. This was something that had been fought for, waited for, dreamed of.
And maybe, just maybe, it gave me, a girl who always played hard to get and who never ever openly admitted to the boys showing her attention that she actually enjoyed it, a little hope in romance.