young love


My Daughter’s First Crush Isn’t Pulling Her Hair — He’s Helping With Her School Work

Jun 22, 2018

I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found out that my 8-year-old daughter had a crush. I remember the mini crushes of Grade 3. Instead of calling out numbers in the game SPUD, we called out the names of our crushes. Nonetheless, I was a little bit late to realize that my daughter had it — bad.

I was ill-prepared for this parenting milestone because my son, at age 11, still wasn’t particularly interested in anyone in that way. 

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I first began to suspect something was up when my daughter dropped a boy’s name into a conversation about a run-in with her “frenemy.” Apparently “J” (not his real name, not even his real initial – are you kidding me? I am sworn to secrecy on this one!) had stuck up for her, or played a small role in the classroom drama. It struck me as an odd reference, and one not necessary to the story. In the back of my mind it smacked of “mentionitis.” That’s the condition when you can’t help but mention the object of your affection ad nauseum, even when the conversation has nothing to do with said person.

I decided to wait it out. It didn’t take long. A short time later, my daughter was leafing through the yearbook and showed me a picture of J. So that night we had a talk.

“Do you have a crush on someone?” I asked. She hid her face in the covers but I could see her nod. “Is it J?” Again, a nod. And then she appeared from under the covers.

“How did you know?” she asked.

In the back of my mind it smacked of “mentionitis."

“A lucky guess. Tell me about him.”

And so she told me how nice and funny he is. She told me how they sit next to each other in their table groups in class. As I listened, I was trying to figure out how to respond. With my friends, we would have analyzed texts and their timing. We might have discussed outfit choices and encouraged coffee chats. None of these applied here. She was 8. What did either of us expect the outcome to be?

So rather than hope for a successful first date — or any kind of date for that matter — I delved into my own experience with work crushes and other daydreams in which you don’t really want anything to materialize.

“It’s nice to have something to look forward to every day at school, right?” I finally commented.

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She nodded, seemingly relieved. I hadn’t steered her in a direction, or reprimanded her. I tried to validate that special feeling you get when you anticipate seeing someone, especially when they’re a nice person.

I’m not planning any weddings. I don’t ask about J every day. I have had to curtail her brother from using his knowledge of the crush as a form of blackmail to make his sister do his bidding.

But when I heard that J had given my daughter a penguin for her diorama of the Antarctic, I knew she had given her heart to someone kind and worthy. And I reinforced that now, and in the future, anyone would be lucky to be the recipient of her crushes, likes and loves. I also told her that no matter how a crush responds, she is an amazing person, more than worthy of red roses, songs written just for her or a beloved plastic penguin.

Article Author Janice Quirt
Janice Quirt

Read more from Janice here.

Janice Quirt is a yoga teacher and freelance writer who lives in the beautiful hills of the Headwaters in Orangeville, Ontario, with her blended family of seven. With kids spanning a decade in age, there are always some shenanigans on the go, and she loves being in the middle of it all. Janice loves sharing nature, eco-living and new experiences with her family and friends, as well as a fine cup of coffee and a good book.

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