Raising a Pint-Sized Casanova

I have a first-grade, first-class little lover on my hands. My six-year-old is obsessed with girls. Thankfully, he is kind to the girls he likes — unlike his father, who kicked the girls he liked on the playground.

Last year in kindergarten, D told me about his first girlfriend. When I asked what he liked about her, I was relieved to hear lots of good things about her personality, although he did comment that he liked her braids and Minion clothes (turns out he meant overalls…hahahaha).

Around Christmastime, I found a sweet, hilarious and terrifying top 10 list about how to get a girlfriend that he had written and hid under his bed. The list finally explained his tattered kindergarten yearbook that he paged often before bed (seriously). After reading his list, I couldn’t help but feel a small sense of relief that it included many items that gave a hint that some of our parental teachings were sinking in (be yourself, be kind, be helpful). I have to say that “roll with it” is my favorite item on the list!

This list will be infamous.

The icing on the cake was a series of interactions during an evening school event where D and his girlfriend sat together and took selfies (???!!!) and he occasionally hissed at me to make friends with her dad so they could have a playDATE. I was stunned and overwhelmed.

I’m glad he likes his life. 🙂

Since puppy love has started blossoming much earlier than expected in our household, we’ve been scrambling to leverage teachable moments to guide not only the way D treats girls, but to frame the way he and his younger sister think about love overall. This is intimidating stuff! Like all of the other parents out there, we want to raise good human beings who find happiness. All of this puppy love business is increasing that pressure and our worry that we’ll mess this up.

There are things I know and things that I feel clueless about (that’s where you all come in).

Here are my “knowns:” our evolving Klenotic family’s love lessons:

  1. Be yourself: Don’t change for someone else
  2. Respect everyone: Don’t touch (or be touched) without permission (including K-I-S-S-I-N-G), be a defender of the weak, treat others as they want to be treated (the Platinum rule)
  3. You love who you love: Not everyone will love you back. Some girls love girls, some boys love boys and some people both boys and girls
  4. Love changes: There’s plenty of time to find the person you want to marry. For now, have fun (but treat others’ feelings with care)
  5. Trust us and we’ll trust you back: Confide in us; let us help you when you get stuck trying to figure things out. The truth is always the best choice

Here’s where I’m clueless:

PlayDATES: I remember boy/girl parties around fifth grade (that I was never allowed to go to). During what age do boys and girls start mixing? I don’t want to lock our kids in a tower but saying no for five more years feels exhausting.

Kissing: Holy hell did I not know what to say when D asked me if he was allowed to kiss a girl. I panicked and went into the whole “body boundaries” spiel. Help!

I think my mind will explode if I try to document any additional overwhelming unknowns. Please share your advice on those two topics. You’ll have my gratitude!

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Christina Klenotic

Christina Klenotic believes that you can be nice and successful in your career (screw mean people). She also doesn’t believe in having more kids than arms since she’s frequently toting both of her toddlers around Cleveland’s neighborhoods. Or, biking with them both on her mamacycle (baby seat in the front, tandem in the back).

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Oh, Christina! This is so cute but I can totally understand why it’s terrifying. Our Casanova didn’t appear until much later so sadly, I’m not much help. But I think you’re doing everything right. The most important thing I know (now) after raising two kids is that they need to talk to you. It looks like communication is flowing in your household so keep it that way. We made sure our kids knew nothing was off the table. Ever. They could talk to us about anything and we weren’t going to freak out. Keep that going - and I’m sure you will be sweating through some more conversations - but you will continue to raise kind human beings:)

  • Too funny!! I read this headline in my email and I immediately thought - I should share this with Christina! Then I realized you’d written it 🙂 I have no good advice really - Cam’s best friend is a girl, but they don’t ever (yet!) talk in terms of dates, kissing etc. I think he just sees her as his best pal. We have had one sleepover which I wasn’t sure about, but figured they were 7 so we went for it 🙂 You guys are amazing parents and have lovely and loving kiddos!

  • Oh lady how I love this post and sweet D! Ryker had a girl play date over spring break. Her mother said she wanted to play with Ryker so his classmate, her mom and two siblings came here. We spent most of the day outside together. In my opinion, better to be there observing, getting to know D’s ‘girlfriend’ so you are able to help him navigate his feelings.

  • I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (and lock my daughter in her room forever and ever)…thanks for sharing!

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