A few weeks ago Little Man came home from daycare and he was super excited. The source? He had a girlfriend.
Me: How do you know she is your girlfriend?
LM: Because we played Mummy and Daddy together.
Me: Who was the Mummy?
LM: Poppy was.
Me: Were you the Daddy then?
LM: No, Charlie was.
Me: So who were you?
LM: THE DOG!
I have to add that his face was beaming so hard and his chest was puffed up with pride! Oh how joyful and innocent the conversation was. Over the subsequent days, it made the people I told laugh out loud and tilt their head that way where the eyes say “ahhhh.”
Earlier this week, Little Man once again came home and declared he had a girlfriend. Hubby asked his son a question.
Holly’s son Billy got an achievement award for having the right school shoes. Is this getting out of control?
How do you know she is your girlfriend?”
His reply was quick and blunt.
“You just tell her.”
At the time I joked that we should probably have a conversation about consent. As Hubby and I sat there while the giggles slowly died down, it became awkwardly obvious that yes, we did have to.
It wasn’t a big thing because we didn’t make it that way. We just explained to our boy that you can’t make a girl your girlfriend unless she wants to be.
I can hear the disbelieving cries from here. Yes Little Man is only four. Yes he still has innocence and yes he doesn’t fully grasp what the word consent actually means. But isn’t childhood where we lay the groundwork for relationships and how we should treat others and want to be treated ourselves?