Motherhood

Who Was Your First Crush?

Anton

This weekend, five-year-old Anton asked me to help him write a note…

His kindergarten classmate, Ivy, had given him a broken toy plane that day, and he carried it around in his hand, gently, gingerly, like a treasure. Finally, before bed, he pulled out a piece of printer paper to write a special note.

Anton has always had female friends but this time he said he wanted to marry her. He asked how to spell each word. He then requested a “bracelet” (a black hair elastic) to give her and wrapped everything up in a business envelope. The whole endeavor was very serious. Even in kindergarten, their lives are so big and real! My mom always says, “Take your child’s joys and worries seriously,” and watching them navigate the world can be painfully sweet.

love note

Do you remember your first crush? Mine was also in kindergarten: Fabio Betts, the first person I ever knew with a buzz cut.

P.S. Toby and Anton in conversation, and 14 great reader comments on dating.

  1. Lulu says...

    Lou Diamond Phillips was my first crush. When the film La Bamba came out and the subsequent plane crash happened in it, I was too little to understand that they were actors and I thought LDP had really died. I was devastated. I still love him though and get a little girlish giggly thrill when I see him in anything.

  2. This is so sweet and heartbreaking (in a good way)

  3. Toby Carroll, kindergarten. When we used sponges to wash the tables after art projects, he would always write bad words with the wet sponge on the dry table, and then wipe them away with a mischievous grin…

  4. Kate says...

    Oh girl, this made me smile and giggle! SOOO cute! What sweet boys you have! <3

  5. Katie says...

    Eric England, 1st grade.

    Sidenote: I have a theory that all your classmates from primary school have spy names, case in point: Eric England. (I also went to school then with a T.J. Mahoney, Helena Hollis, and a kid named Jason Storm!)

  6. Jamie says...

    First off, crushing on Anton hard this morning. That boy just seems like he is one of those boys with a little something extra special in his heart. Big smiles and a few tears for his thoughtfulness.
    Second, it took me a few minutes thinking and then I remembered Rocky. It was first grade. He had a full head of big brown curls that were long and his hair was parted in the middle. He wore button down shirts to school. We liked to hold hands and run across the field at recess. I remember my family teasing me because I wanted to change my name to Cookie, somehow in my first grade mind that went with Rocky. We moved over the summer and I never saw him after first grade.
    Third, I was working as a barista at Diedrich’s Coffee and this little boy named Michael (he was 5 at the time) would come in with his Mom and sister frequently. I always took the time to talk with him. I can’t remember what prompted the conversation but over one visit his Mom sweetly told me he had been talking about me and professed his love for me. He brought me a picture he had colored as a gift. She smiled and said I was his first crush. Honesty, it was so innocent and he was such a lovely little boy it made my heart swell. I wonder if his partner today has blonde hair and hazel eyes.

  7. Donna says...

    My Kindergarten age daughter has her first crush! It is so sweet. She is normally very academic, but she has gotten in trouble twice recently in school: once for “petting his face” (really not sure what happened here but she said he liked it?!) and once for refusing to pass the ball to anyone else besides him in soccer! They are having a playdate today – she was so excited that she put on about 14 bows in her hair before going to school this morning!

  8. Monica B. says...

    Mine was Thornton – we exchanged valentine’s day cards in second grade – he said he liked me, and Kelly was his Texas rose! ;-)

  9. alex h says...

    mine was steve, he was also the first to explain to me what “breaking up” meant. it was kindergarten. we still laugh about it in our 30s.

  10. Lee says...

    Takashi. He lived down the street from me and had the most perfectly symmetrical face combined with a radiant complexion. We would write each other notes and put small trinkets in them – like Toby’s “bracelet” – and bury them in his yard, unread. Who knows why? It seemed so logical then. We just squirreled away all our sweet feelings deep in the dirt, for a darker day I suppose. I vividly recall how alive I felt when we’d go on our neighborhood expeditions for treasure – lost coins, bits of broken jewelry, a can tab. We shared some real magical childhood joy.

    • cmcd says...

      this sounds wonderful! i love the image of burying the letters.

  11. Em A says...

    My husband. We met in Kindergarten. I was his first crush too. Everybody (family, relatives, teachers, neighbors) could tell! We couldn’t even mention each other’s name or dare be seen near each other in grade school (because we used to get teased about it a lot by classmates and schoolmates) —but yes, somehow, we knew. It’s something we couldn’t (and still can’t) describe. It’s like we have our own language. LOL We became friends in Jr-Sr High. Bf-gf relationship in our 20s. Engaged for 2 years. Married for more than a decade now. There are so many sweet memories!

    • Cyn says...

      That’s an incredibly cool story!

    • Kristian says...

      What an incredible story!

  12. Rachel B. says...

    Martin in Kindergarten. He had dark hair, a friendly smile, and for some reason i remember his white shoes. He kissed me under the table once. Imagine my parent’s surprise one evening at dinnertime when the phone rang and it was Martin calling for 5-year-old me. My Mom still tells that story and I’m 32 and married (not to Martin).

  13. Karissa says...

    We were in kindergarten and his name was Justin and he had a mullet. He had a birthday party for his pet lizard. I wasn’t invited and was subsequently devastated.

    I moved on to Mikey from The Goonies.

  14. Emma says...

    Omg he wants to marry his best friend! He knows what’s up.

  15. April says...

    Mine was a boy named Shawn in 1st grade with nice brown hair and big brown eyes. I am lucky enough to still be Facebook friends with him–he’s a very handsome husband, daddy, and firefighter nowadays. And suspiciously, I married yet another boy with nice brown hair and big brown eyes. Apparently, I have a type that started in 1st grade! haha

  16. Anonymous says...

    His name is Charlie, he wore cowboy boots, colored eyes and spikey blonde hair. We were good friends in kindergarten. I remember he drew me a teddy bear, that’s when I started liking him, my 7 year old brother would tease me. My mom would drop me off at his house to play. He was raised by a single father, but was really nice. He was my first white friend I can remember. I ran into him again during high school and my early twenties. He is still a sweet guy and so is his father, but he has made some bad life choices.

  17. Laura says...

    2nd grade, his name was Patrick. It was mutual – he would say that we were going to get married. Our school did square dancing instead of gym class for 2 weeks out of the year and we would pick each other as partners. Totally lost track of him now, don’t even know his last name to look him up. Then, third grade I remember definitely being into this boy named Brandon. One time his coat fell off the hook and I hung it back up for him and kissed it subtly (LOL!)

  18. Claire says...

    My first crush was a boy in my preschool named Brian May. He had blonde hair and I was convinced that his Dad was Hulk Hogan.

  19. Marissa says...

    I love how his little hand is placed on the paper as he’s focusing on this to make it so true for her. This is so sweet and encouraging.

  20. kindergarten – Egon Ozer, blond haired blued eyed boy wonder with glasses with the sweetest disposition.

    i knew i loved him from the moment i laid eyes on him. we shared our first kiss that year, and then he moved away after 3rd grade. i carried a torch for him all the way through after college, even though we did not keep in touch. i googled him and he was in med school and with some fire in my pants i called him and he was again, so sweet and kind.

    the end.

  21. Lola says...

    I do remember my crushes from when I was little, and now realizing my ‘crushes’ were sexualized– I wanted to kiss them! And did! But when my kindergartner came home with gifts and notes from a boy in her class– it felt very uncomfortable–he would tell her he loved her and play with her hair. She was very confused by it because I do think she enjoyed the compliments and attention but she told me she ‘didn’t want to be his girlfriend because she didn’t want to get married and have babies right now.’ Bless her heart. These situations are cute and sweet, but she was distressed by it. I told her little kids can’t be boyfriend and girlfriend. That is for when you are older. Now, you can just be friends.
    She seemed very relieved about that! I could tell that she was bothered months later when his interest faded. I think the feelings are there– they just don’t know what to do with them! As parents, we try our best to help them navigate through.

  22. Kerri says...

    I find it interesting that lots of people are saying it’s romantic but definitely ‘not sexual’. Kids are sexual beings, there’s nothing wrong with that. Obviously how that is expressed is different than adulthood. This makes me wonder if the comments are a reflection of a sex negative society. Or maybe it’s just further differentiating between the different types of feelings you can have towards someone.

  23. Nina says...

    Christian, in 3rd grade. He had very pretty blue eyes. Someone dared me to kiss him in the playground and I chased him around until I did…both of us laughing. Then he moved. sigh

  24. I love the idea of taking your child’s joys and worries seriously – from the mom of a 2.5 year old who get SO MUCH joy from reciting all the kids names in her class. Someone once told me to keep my little ones problems in perspective “little kids, little problems. big kids, big problems” but I love keeping in mind that those little kids problems feel big to them!

  25. DF says...

    Mine was in preschool at the age of 3 or 4. I vividly remember watching Joey sit on the floor playing with cars with the other boys. We both stayed in the same school throughout high school. One day, in high school, I got the courage to say that he was my first crush. He was also such a nice guy, and to this day he has a special place in my heart.

  26. Deb says...

    Ahhh…first crush was Toby Roth in Kindergarten. Cutest boy in class. My mom even kept for many years the valentine Toby gave me. He moved after that year, but we happened to cross paths many years later in High School (at one of those state conventions all high schoolers attend), and he remembered me. Still super cute. We sat together and talked at lunch one day of the convention, and it was pretty neat to see him again. I still remember that, even 30+ years after high school. Ah, memories.

  27. Jacqueline says...

    When my younger brother was 6 years old, he had a crush on a girl named Collette. He asked me to “approve” of the gift he was going to give her. It was a sweet little teddy bear with a $20 bill attached to it! Even as an 8-year-old, I knew something was wrong.

  28. Meredith says...

    Stoooop. This is so cute. My first crush was also in kindergarten. His name was Michael, and he wore Ninja Turtle shorts to school almost every single day.

  29. Kim says...

    My first crush was preschool. Jonathan was nice to all the girls, and I think a lot of us liked him more because of that.

    We kissed under a table during naptime once! The scandal. At four years old!

    I am very politically correct, but most of these comments mystify me. Joanna has explained Anton called it a crush. Crushes aren’t always sexual. Cis women often have what they describe as a girl crush on the latest celebrity feminist or whomever…

  30. Erica says...

    …I can’t be the only one hoping that Fabio Betts reads this.

    • Marie says...

      I was thinking the same thing! :)

    • Erica says...

      FYI, If you google his name, this article comes up. I hope he does. :)

  31. My 6yo told me that she has “ZING” (her word for a crush – thanks “Hotel Transylvania”!) for a 3rd grader in her school. She admires him, likes his curly hair and the way he is always kind and always follows the rules. I thought it was so sweet to hear the admiration, kindness and almost confessional tone of her voice when she told me . It is nice to find friends, and special people – no matter our age.

  32. Katie says...

    My first crush (Joey?) lived in the house behind mine and we shared a fence that we would chat over. I remember his upper lip was always stained a different color from drinking Koolaid. I was 5.

  33. Alice says...

    I remember when I was about six, my class teacher gently told us that we were all a little young to have boyfriends and girlfriends (which we had all been talking non-stop about for days). I VIVIDLY remember sitting there thinking “too young?! Doesn’t she realise we’re SIX now?!!”. Ahh, youth!!!

  34. It was Miss Hamby’s class, first grade. His name was Julian. He had a blond bowl cut and he could speak French! (On account of having French parents.) It was all very exotic for a public school in a farming town. Le sigh.
    I think it’s when my obsession of all things French began. I now live in the French speaking part of Switzerland, but I’m married to an American who does not have a blond bowl cut.

    • Sarah says...

      Suisse-Romande! My favourite place in the world :D

  35. Emme says...

    These comments are the girl talk I’ve been missing since moving to a new state xoxo

  36. Em says...

    If I remember him? Of course I do! I couldn’t even speak to him, I blushed heavily every time I saw him and just couldn’t speak! Legends said he would do the same, but I can’t tell if it is true, since just couldn’t look at him.
    Once, and I remember this as if it happened yesterday, it was my turn to tie the bibs to all the children in the class. When it was time to tie his, I saw the teachers looking at us and giggling and I got SO embarrassed and kept tying and at one point he coughed loud because he was nearly chocking. As a result, everybody looked at us and started laughing. You can imagine: I just wanted to disappear!! 

  37. Stasha says...

    Well, after Bo Duke (John Schneider) it was Jared Sanford, with whom I am still friends today at 44 years old. He wore checkered Vans and scribbled Van Halen logos on his folders – how could any fourth grader resist a guy that cool?

  38. Christie says...

    He used a rainbow pencil to write her name! So sweet.

  39. Hmm, I went to high school in England with a Fabio Betts. Wonder if it’s the same one?! :)

  40. Ashley F. says...

    My First Crush was in preschool like so many others. His name was Grant and we would play house each day together. I can remember having to kiss and hug each other because we were the mom and dad haha. In elementary school there were crushes too, both that I had on others and that others had on me. In third grade A boy brought me one of his mom’s rings to school so that he could marry me. He gave it to me in class and I remember being so nervous I dropped it down the sink. I then got even more nervous because I knew he had taken it from his mom and so I told my teacher. This led to the janitor having to come and open the sink. Long story short the ring was recovered and my crush got in big trouble. Oh sweet childhood memories…

  41. Lucia says...

    My first crush was Jeffrey, he was my preschool teacher’s son. We played Mary and Joseph in the nativity play and there’s a picture my family thinks is hilarious because we’re sitting side by side and I’m pointing at him with a huge smile on my face, like, get a load of this guy, he’s gorgeous!

  42. Kerri says...

    My first crush was in kindergarten on a boy who said “aminals” instead of “animals”. I thought it was so sweet and endearing. The last time I saw him he was arriving at the birthing unit with his wife (in a totally different city than where we met) just as I was was being wheeled out of my room after having my baby. I must’ve been pretty high on endorphins because I wanted to yell out “AMINALS!! HI! I totally had a crush on you!” But instead I said “oh, hey! Congrats on the baby.” Much more normal.

    • Laura says...

      haha, this made me laugh! thanks for sharing :)

  43. Elizabeth says...

    I think it is so lovely that you are fostering a habit of your children sharing emotional truth. The world can be so hard and jaded and most children learn quickly to hide any vulnerability or softness – I love Anton’s note and heart-felt sentiments – that is truly a lovely gift that Ivy is receiving! I so enjoy noticing the little things that you and Alex do to parent your children in a loving, nurturing way – i’ve even shared it with my 19 year old daughter! She wants to be a teacher but is so dismayed to see how often little boys are parented with little compassion or desire to nurture tenderness in them. It is so nice to see those attributes on your blog!

  44. Erica says...

    I can’t be the only one out there hoping Fabio Betts sees this…

  45. Anna says...

    I have a five year old named Ivy and this is so sweet.

  46. SR says...

    This is incredibly sweet. My 7 year old daughter, talks about a boy (almost always blushing) in her school – “he is such a boy, ma! he makes us all laugh so much, ma!” and all that with the biggest smile on her face.. When i asked her if she like him she gushed out the biggest “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!” while her cheeks were deep red because of all the blushing..

    On an other note, i looked up Fabio Betts on facebook.. wonder how many others did too :D

    • Rachel says...

      I did!

  47. Janine says...

    So sweet!

    Even in preschool, I knew the difference between a crush and a friend. My best friend was Philip, but my crush was Todd. Philip was my Ghostbusters partner-in-crime, but Todd has a rat tail.

    Swoon.

  48. Nigerian Girl says...

    My first crush was a boy back in primary school. We were classmates, and he was one of the “baddest boys” in school. I was popular too, but the “good” kind of popular – good grades, good public speaker, good writer blah blah blah. I couldn’t possibly taint my image by being associated with him hehehe. I pretended like I couldn’t stand him in public, then pined for him in private and poured it all out in my diary. Years later, I went off to boarding school. My sisters found my diary (well, I did leave it lying carelessly around :)), read it, and shared it with my Mum! She didn’t care much for my severe case of unrequited love, but the poor woman was horrified by all the other terrible things I wrote in there. Oh, to be a child again.

  49. I remember going to Ryan Bettencourt’s birthday party in kindergarten and hoping so badly that he liked the Mork (of Mork & Mindy) toy I gave as a present. He was my first real life crush, but I admit to also having a celebrity crush at at a young age—Barry Manilow (what did I know?!).

  50. Kristin says...

    My two-year old daughter has a boy in her daycare class that is one month younger than her; they have been in the same class since they were infants and are inseparable. A couple of weeks ago their teacher told me that she had to tell them to stop kissing in the yard! My husband was a little shocked, but I reminded him that it’s just a peck and all she knows (because we taught her) is that kissing is an expression of love and she wanted to show love to her little friend. Of course we’re teaching her about respect, personal space, and boundaries, but I hope she’s always the type of person that expresses love to the people she cares about.

  51. A says...

    My first crush was in preschool – a boy named Jeremy. I named my hamster after him. Years later we ended up in the same high school drama class. I told him the hamster story because I thought it was so funny, but it totally freaked him out. He looked at me like was a serial killer and then proceeded to avoid me for the rest of highschool. Dodged a bullet with that one I guess.

    • Emily says...

      I named my dog (Maggie) after my kindergarten boyfriend’s baby sister that was born at the same time that I got my dog.

    • Robin says...

      This is HILARIOUS! (Not to mention adorable… nothing serial killer about it!)

  52. Nicole says...

    Oh, what a sweet note and story.

    I remember my first crush, Eric, who always wore penny loafers (complete with pennies). I also remember the utter mortification when I called him “honey” by accident. Oh, the pain.

  53. AJ says...

    Oh… this is just the best thing I’ve read all day :)

  54. Marissa says...

    I wonder why this is a crush and not simply a friendship? My 9 year old son has a friend who is a girl and they formed a friendship in kindergarten as well. Various adults here and there would label their friendship as a crush or little girlfriend/bf reading way too much into the friendship and making my son feel uncomfortable. So much projection! They like playing tigers and making each other laugh, get a grip people! It’s as if girls and boys can’t simply be close friends without a romantic insinuation being voiced by an adult. Even if it’s voiced or intentioned in a sweet way or meant humorously, I think saying crush alters the dynamic between the kids.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Anton has had mostly female friends his whole life but labeled this one as a crush himself. All good!

    • Leslie Sitzman says...

      I had the same thought. Where did he get the crush idea from? My kids were oblivious at 5. Still kind of are at 7 and 10. I guess all kids are truly different.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Maybe because I often say that I love or have a crush on daddy? Or because he is going through a normal developmental stage that kids reach at various ages, but most often around 5-6? I’m surprised by the thought that this is unusual or unhealthy, to be honest!

    • Jeannie says...

      Well, Joanna’s his momma and knows Anton well so I trust her when she says Anton himself is distinguishing this as a crush. I think it’s pretty innocent and normal, though your reaction is quite strong I suspect you’ve had some negative experience from other parents/adults in this regard??

      I totally had a crush in kindergarten! :) I behaved very differently about him than the other boys.

    • Kelly says...

      i distinctly remember being in kindergarten and having crushes which were very different from my friendships with other boys. My friends were similar and we talked about it all the time. And my 8 year old daughter has talked non-stop about various crushes since kindergarten, and also has lots of boy friends that don’t enter crush territory. i don’t think adults have to say a word, kids come into this all by themselves.

  55. Laura says...

    This is the sweetest! My first crush was in junior kindergarten and I did a very similar thing… I asked my dad to help me build him a toy car in his workshop! I left the car in his classroom cubby with a note. He left one in mine a few days later, politely thanking me for the sweet gift. Years later it turns out he’s gay, but hey, you gotta put yourself out there!

  56. Turtle Toms says...

    My first “boyfriend” was when I was a kindergartner. His name was Tiger MacKenzie, he had a blond crew cut, he was in first grade, and he rode me around on his bicycle handlebars. I loved being his friend because he was adventurous (at a 6 year-old level), funny, and kind. My dad was in the military, so when we transfered from Germany back to the US I left him and all my other friends behind, as all military kids do every 2 to 4 years. What’s interesting to me is that I can still so clearly recall him as a significant relationship in my early development. I can see him as clearly as if he’d just ridden by on his bike. I’m 62 years old.

    • Amy says...

      I love this Turtle! So sweet.

  57. Danielle says...

    Anton you are a cool dude and I would love a “bracelet” as a gift because I am forever losing mine!

    My first crush was a tall boy named Ricky and it lasted all of elementary school. I was 5’9” by 5th grade and he was the only boy as tall as me and didn’t make me feel like a freak.

    We lost touch when we were ten and then randomly ran into each other at age 24 and immediately recognised one another. Still one of the sweetest boys ever!

  58. Em says...

    I’m not crying! I have something in my eye, excuse me….

  59. Katie says...

    I don’t keep much stuff, but I know somewhere in an album is a letter given to me by a friend in kindergarten asking if we would be friends forever, signed with love. I moved away and haven’t spoken to him since then. Arguably this was only 15 years ago, but it’s precious and the way Anton writes just reminded me so strongly of it. Thank you for the memory.

  60. This is precious. Watch out! I married my kindergarten crush.
    We reunited on Facebook in our early 20s, he asked for my number and called me to reminisce then asked me on a date. I called my mom right after, “You’ll never believe who I’m going out with tomorrow. Little Matty from Kindergarten!” Both our moms remembered the other. At our wedding reception, we displayed our framed Kindergarten class picture where we are both standing next to each other in the front row. I’ve since found old notebooks or school projects from those days with “I love Matty” written on it. Now we have 4 little boys of our own. I just can’t imagine that it was all an accident.

    • Dee says...

      This is just so precious and I don’t believe it was by accident :)

    • Meaghan says...

      Similar story here! I have known my now husband my entire life. There are sweet photos of us as toddlers giving each other kisses (as toddlers do). In kindergarten, he told his friends that he had a “girlfriend who lived in California” (he lived in WA). Unbeknownst to me, I was that girl! In 2013, he moved to California, we reconnected, started dating, and got married two years later. Our son was born in 2016. Can’t be an accident :)

    • Kerri says...

      When I was 6 or 7 I met a little boy at a church Christmas concert who could sing so beautifully that from that moment on I told myself that when it was time to look for someone to marry they had to be kind and they had to sing. Thirteen years later I walked down the aisle in that very same church building to a song that very same boy wrote and sang just for me.

  61. Sasha L says...

    Oh how I love these sweet posts. What a kind and thoughtful little boy, he’s clearly picked up some lessons about what being loving and giving looks like. Thank you for sharing with us, made my whole day.

  62. Martha says...

    Third grade, AJ Borden! He found out because some girl told him even though I made her promise it was a secret.

  63. Erin says...

    Picture it: La Bamba, 1987. A 5 year old girl falls hard, grows up thinking her first crush was rock and roll pioneer Ritchie Valens, only to become an adult and discover that it was actually…Lou Diamond Phillips. :)

  64. Erin says...

    My first crush was in Pre-K, I was 4 or 5. His name was Jesse and we played “firefighter” together on the playground. I never said anything because I was painfully shy and now I can only vaguely picture him. I also remember my second crush was the next year in kindergarten. His family moved away to New York halfway through the year and on his last day at school everyone gave him a big group hug but I hung back, I think because I was nervous and a little sad. Even though these were just childhood crushes, the fact that I was too shy to ever say anything to them kind of makes me wonder how many people have silently admired all of us throughout our lives. Now I always make sure to tell people how I feel about them, what I like about them, etc.

  65. I have boy/girl twins and last year my daughter was in a wedding so she was asking a lot of questions about marriage in general. At one point I asked her if she wanted to get married and if so, who she wanted to marry. She looked at me with an expression I can only describe as world weary/ resigned and said “Luke, I guess…” and sighed deeply. Luke is her twin brother. She was totally under the impression that she was required to marry him. Cracked me up so much!

    • Allison says...

      Lauren, this sorry made me laugh out loud! I could hear the resignation!

  66. kathy says...

    a 5-year old swim class friend had a crush on my 6-year old. she was so totally oblivious. and the worst part was that she insisted she did not recognize him when he didn’t have his goggles on so he would wait sweetly for her by the pool after changing and she would not even acknowledge him because she said she wasn’t sure who he was.

    • Lyss says...

      Kathy, based on my own very vivid memories of not being interested in the boy who had a crush on me in second grade, I wouldn’t assume your daughter is oblivious – she may have just found an easy out to not have to interact with him when she didn’t have to.

    • kathy says...

      i know my daughter pretty well and we talked about him and i watched the interaction everyday, so i’m not assuming. i can totally see that it might be a strategy for other kids, but my daughter is not there yet. :)

  67. Teresa says...

    My first crush was Donny Osmond. I remember seeing him in the Donny and Marie show and I thought he was the most beautiful-looking person I had ever seen.

    • Shannon says...

      Me, too. I still kinda like him….
      And still have a strong desire to wear purple socks….

  68. Lacey says...

    My first crush was also in kindergarten! His name was Geoffrey and he had blonde hair perfectly spiked with gel. Be still, my 5 year old heart.

  69. Emily says...

    My first crush that I remember was in K. His name was Traver Lentz. We were buddies and would play together during free play time. I got annoyed when I found out he was older than me. We were in the same class till I left in 4th grade. I came back in 6th grade and was bullied in passive-aggressive ways that kids that age are so good at. But I remember he was always nice to me. The other kids were jerks but he was always kind. I think his parents raised him right. I’ll never forget him because of that (and his name…haven’t come across another Traver since).

  70. Kate says...

    A really important lesson for me was how to respond to boys who had crushes on me and who were completely, utterly heartsick about it. There were two in particular in grade school, and they’d write me notes (“will you be my girlfriend circle yes or no”) and sometimes it could get really annoying – I remember them getting into a fight over who got to stand next to me in the Christmas concert. My mom told me to tell them “I just want to be friends with you” and then to treat them just like I treated all my other friends, but that if they kept bothering me I should tell them to stop and that I didn’t need to like someone back just because they liked me.

    • celeste says...

      Love your mom’s response!

    • Erin says...

      YES. “You don’t need to like someone back just because they like you”. It’s amazing to me how many grown men (and probably not just men, this is just my experience) don’t understand this concept and think their feelings should ALWAYS be reciprocated.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s great, kate. love your comment.

  71. Danielle says...

    I love the comment that someone made about crushes being a longing for a connection when you are that age. I remember so much wanting to be friends with a girl in my class when I was young. It was definitely a crush although not romantic. We did eventually become friends and years later she was staying the night at my house and she asked me about a picture I had in my room of a boy that I’d gone to camp with. I breathlessly told her all about him because that was a crush with a capital “C”.
    A funny twist. She and I were only ever casual friends later on in high school. But years after we graduated she actually randomly met my camp crush and they are now married with a family. Worlds collide!

  72. Elizabeth says...

    Aaaaahhhhhh that is the sweetest, cutest note ever! I squeaked when I read it. What a delight!

    My first crush was Matt Hall from my second-grade class. We admitted our feelings for each other over our lunchboxes (mine, Strawberry Shortcake, his, Hulk Hogan) and then buried our faces behind the upturned lids and never spoke again. We went to school together for another seven years. His crush faded, but mine blazed on, through middle school and high school. I spent years standing on the edges at school dances, my heart leaping when he walked toward me, then sinking as he moved past me. I wondered what I had done to change from the girl he gazed at over his lunchbox to the girl he passed by without noticing.

    If I had the chance, I would tell my younger self that it’s a waste to spend time loving someone who doesn’t love her back. Men are out there who will love her back fiercely, and she’ll find them. I would tell her that she isn’t a market good and her value doesn’t fluctuate based on demand. I would tell her that the world is much larger than that school cafeteria in that tiny town, and someday she would be far away and very happy that she didn’t end up tethered there. I would tell her to buy bitcoin, and Amazon stock.

  73. Julia says...

    I think this is cute, as long as adults keep an eye on what’s happening when the other kid is uncomfortable. Some boy had a crush on me in elementary school. He gave me little gifts, followed me around, etc. I said it made me uncomfortable and I didn’t like it, but he wouldn’t stop. I was teased about it by other kids, and the adults took no steps to reign in any of it. I guess they thought it was harmless, if they were even paying attention, but it made school really dreadful for me for a while.
    So I hope parents use this sort of stuff as an opportunity to teach their kids both how to reach out, and how to back off if the attention is unwelcome.

    • Kate says...

      YES. I made a similar comment but you explained yours a lot better! It could be so annoying. My mom told me to tell them something like “I just want to be friends with you”. I definitely remember being teased about the crushes, and the only way I knew how to deal with that was to be mean to or tease the boy who had the crush, then I felt bad for hurting his feelings!

  74. Rita says...

    I have a two year daughter. In Portugal, kids get asked if they already have boyfriends and girlfriends all the time, and I really don’t like it.
    But I think when they learn it from their environment, it is not only because there is this pressure, but also because it is the way they see grown-ups (i.e. mostly in monogamous settings). I think it is very natural for them to try out ideas and concepts and emotions based on what they see.
    So I think one should not pressure them to have crushes or boyfriends and girlfriends, but it would be so sad if they tried it out and we tried to talk them out of it and tell them it was just friendship…
    I think Johannas mother’s advice is spot on: take kids’ emotions serious, even if they are just trying them out!

    (Love the note, as I loved Toby’s dates)

    • Emily says...

      Rita,

      My family and I will be in Portugal with our 2.5 year old for a month next year. I’m so curious what life is like there for children that age, what they do for fun… We’re really excited to visit but have no idea what to expect!

    • Rita says...

      Which part(s) of the country will you be visiting?

    • Emily says...

      I think we’re going spend some time in the North, undecided still, and some time in Faro, probably two weeks each. I’m just starting to research and plan it :)

  75. Laura C. says...

    How sweet he is. Love it.

  76. Lily says...

    Gah! Literally brought tears to my eyes 😭

  77. Marlena says...

    My first crush was in kindergarten with a boy that I can’t remember his name – but honestly he was just a side character in a bitter jealous love triangle with another little girl named Ashley. I said he was my boyfriend forever and I loved him the most, but she said he was her boyfriend and don’t laugh when I tell you that years later, in high school, when I ran into her at a basketball game, I actually got huffy and puffy inside. Like that old rivalry over this silly boy, who has ended up nameless in my memory, lived on! It also still cracks me up that I can’t stand the name Ashley (sorry, any Ashleys out there, I’m sure you’re absolutely lovely).

  78. I used to think I didn’t get my first crush until I was in the 8th grade when a new boy moved to town from Alaska. I was super into him.
    But then once I realized I was bi (only a few years ago at the tender age of 33), I can look back and name crushes that I definitely had waaaay earlier than that.

  79. Kate says...

    His name was Michael and our parents were friends. We went to Kindergarten together, and he is the reason why I voted for Michael Dukakis in the Kindergarten Presidential Election in 1988, thus setting me on my way of being a lifelong Democrat. :)

    • Katie says...

      omg I love it

  80. E says...

    My mom has told me a million times that, when she picked me up after my first day of kindergarten, she asked me if I had made any friends. My reply was simply, “His name is Garrett.” Garrett and I were connected at the hip for years and we would proudly announce to anyone who would listen that we would be married someday. I remember sitting by each other waiting for a moms to arrive in the carpool line, spending many afternoons eating after-school snacks on his trampoline (the fact that he had a trampoline made him very popular), and holding hands in the back seat of his mom’s car on the way to the zoo. We went to a tiny private school so we were in the same class together for thirteen years. He is still a wonderful human being and is married to a great guy. We don’t speak often but now I feel like I should reach out to him just to say hi and laugh about our young love.

  81. shannon says...

    Awwww he believes a black hair elastic = bracelet…wonder where he got that idea? 😂😭😍😍😍

  82. Sydney Burniston says...

    Josh, the name of my gr 1 crush, is still messily scribbled in red pencil crayon on the back of my childhood bed side table. I had forgotten about it entirely until I watched Ladybird and saw her writing her crushes’ names on her wall. I guess writing it in a diary just isn’t permanent enough.

  83. Toni says...

    My first crush was a little boy in my pre-school class named Matteo. Our moms took us to the beach one day with our siblings for a “date” and we ate french fries and played in the sand. There’s an amazing home video of Matteo stuffing his tiny swimsuit full of sand while I built a sandcastle next to him. His mother approaches and asks him what he’s doing. He points to his brother and says “he told me the girls like it this way”…the chase that followed between Matteo’s mother and brother and all of the laughing sunning people in the background is priceless.

  84. Sara says...

    oh yes, Christian LaFreniere. His big sister and my big sister were best friends and they were actively trying to betroth us =)

  85. Laura says...

    I don’t really understand what’s happening here in this comment section. I know I had my first crush in 2nd grade, and I know it was a crush, because I experienced it. I don’t think I even told any adults so I know it wasn’t something adults told me I had.

    • Marlena says...

      I was thinking the same thing, Laura. This comment section has me scratching my head. I’m not sure at what point we’ve abandoned our understanding of basic biology (and the natural chemical releases we experience, even at very young ages, that have to do with connection to certain other people) and replaced it with “yuck” and “ew” and “gross”. Children can and do connect with other children in a way that mirrors how adults connect to each other, just without the overtone of overt sexuality. They meet a person who gives them butterfly feelings and therefore, they want to give gifts to that person. It’s an occurrence that happens in the animal world, that we are a part of, every day.

    • t says...

      Agree completely Marlena! My 5 year old came home from school one day and told me that a 4th grade boy made her stomach hurt. It took me a long time and a lot of discussion to realized that the 4th grader with whom she had been paired up for a reading lesson gave her butterflies and that she liked him. She didn’t use the word crush because it wasn’t in her vocabulary but by the end of the discussion I taught her the word and explained that it was a completely natural feeling. None of it is sexual because she is 5.

      Why so many readers are suggesting that children shouldn’t feel something completely natural doesn’t make any sense. And my kids have two moms so we certainly aren’t perpetuating societal norms or expectations regarding genders (or at a later point sexuality).

  86. Wendy says...

    I was an early-bloomer and I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, so my first crush was in pre-school, when I was 4 years old. My Dad came to pick me up one day, and I told him I wanted to introduce him to my future husband. I introduced him to David, and grabbed David’s hand and yelled, “we’re getting married!!!!” David had no idea who I was, and scream-cried until my Dad carried me away.

    David, if you’re out there, I’m still waiting.

    • molly says...

      Wendy, your comment made me laugh out loud.

  87. Sharon says...

    My son is five and has a next door neighbor who is six months younger than him. They’ve already announced that they will marry when they grow up,

    I do remember my first crush (which, btw, I’m surprised to learn has a much stronger sexual connotation outside of the US judging from the comments on this post) from first grade…but I also remember an intense and immediate connection to some girls in my class, which I think is more accurate at this stage than an adult-equivalent romantic crush.

    Regardless of what we call it, that immediate rush of human connection and bonding is something we as parents should cultivate, while guiding them gently on the proper etiquette of expressing that bond and connection.

  88. Colleen S says...

    His name was Brian. He was blond, with a kind smile and personality, and he had a rattail. In 1990, when I was seven, I thought this was an endearing feature. The vivid memory I have of him is when I was allowed to sit with him at lunch in second grade, and he killed a bug that had landed on my chest. He moved to North Dakota at the end of the year, and I was devastated.

  89. Sarah says...

    They definitely have crushes and romantic thoughts this young! A boy at school gave my 4-year old daughter a bracelet. His mom told me that he had asked his older sister to make it and when asked what color, he had replied “Rainbow!” which is what my daughter had entered in their class book as her favorite color. Both my girls wear the bracelet all the time!

  90. aran says...

    either jose borrell or alicia cabezas……bi repping ever since i was 5, haha

  91. Maggie says...

    My first crush was in grade 1, on a boy named Martin. He wore a Montreal Canadiens sweater with navy blue sweat pants to school every single day. I thought he looked so handsome. When I told my mum how much I loved him, I remember the look of shock on her face, it was as though I had told her that I was about to elope at age 6! At the time, I made a note to my future mother self, not to have a reaction like that with my own children if they shared their hearts with me. I have boys, and my 10 year old, Henry, has developed his first crush. He keeps the class picture on his night table, doodles her name on scraps of paper, and last week wrote in Sharpie on his bed frame – “I love Maddy so much, and i think about her all the time!”. My reaction has been embrace his feelings, and when his crush changes, I have a mr. clean magic eraser at the ready. My husband has responded similarly, except he asked that next time we’d appreciate it if Henry kept his feelings off the furniture.

  92. D says...

    Yeh I avoid talk of crushes with my littles (it has an overtly sexual connotation here in the UK) but my daughter does have a best pal at nursery called William although they are both aged just 20months. They follow each other around and have spontaneous hugs- no one has any clue why they are so taken with each other but it is super cute!

  93. Sid says...

    Thank you for sharing this sweet, gentle story. I needed this today. So nice to read about parents working hard to raise good, kind people full of love.

  94. Maggie says...

    Totally remember my first crush – Steven Miller, 1st grade! The other year I was cleaning out my old room at my parent’s and found my first grade yearbook. I had drawn 2 hearts above his picture in sparkly, purple glitter pen, with the word “dreamy” sloppily spelled underneath. HILARIOUS.

    I happen to be married to my (even dreamier!) high school sweetheart, Lars, whom I started dating at age 14 (we’ve also never broken up!). It’s been challenging to navigate both being the oldest siblings in our families and wanting to reassure our younger siblings through the years to not stress too much over their young/high school relationships since they can point at us as a direct example or how sometimes that relationship is the real deal!

  95. Laura says...

    This is such a sweet post! When my son was about six years old, he told me there was a girl named Rebecca in his class who made his tummy jump and feel funny when he saw her. I thought it was a perfect way to describe that physical feeling of a crush!

  96. Mrs. A says...

    My first crush was a 1st grader who would push me on the swings at school and sing “Lay Your Head on My Shoulder” to me. I think his name was Gordon . . .

    • Marlena says...

      This is my favorite comment here. :) What a sweet and tender memory.

  97. Chrissie says...

    I can’t remember who my first crush was (although I know I had one in kindergarten) but I do remember thinking about kissing and hand holding A LOT in kindergarten. It wasn’t sexual but I was intrigued by love and romance (and I think that’s developmentally normal! Little kids are small humans trying to figure things out!)

    I remember going to bed at night and daydreaming about my older brother’s cool friends (they were probably 15ish but in my 5 year old mind that was an adult) going on dates with Barker’s Beauties from Price is Right!! I would picture them holding hands and making out. I would also daydream about Cheetarah and Lion-o from Thundercats getting married! Haha. (And don’t get me started on what my Barbies were up to!!)

  98. my first crush was also in kindergarten and lasted 5 years! his name was scott and his initials were “S.B.” i wrote in my diary “i love sb.” it was quite shocking when, upon discovering my childhood diary in a box when we moved into our first house, my husband saw it. his name is scott, and his initials are also SB. destiny!

  99. Betsy says...

    Oh, Jo — this is TOO SWEET. I have two 16 month old boys and they have lives at their daycare that I just love to hear about. One little girl has a crush on my J, and his name was one of her first words! My other little guy is admired by another girl in their class; his dad calls my husband her ‘future father-in-law’. I am so amazed when I learn about their friendships with other kids; to think that they can feel so much and make a strong impression on those around them, even at such a young age, is so heartwarming. Anyway, as a fellow boy mom (of somewhat younger kiddos) I love hearing about your boys!

    • molly says...

      Very sweet Betsy, sounds like you are raising two kind gentlemen.

  100. Rachel says...

    Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez from The Sandlot

    • Amanda says...

      I second this.

    • Rachel says...

      3rd!!

  101. Mimi says...

    Oh my heart! My 5 year old fell so hard for a girl in his class.
    One night he asked, “mom, she said she’d marry me after she dies. How can you get married after you die?! You’re already dead.”
    It was cute and heartbreaking all at the same time. If that’s not a brush-off I don’t know what is!

  102. CB says...

    Jacob Hawkins, in kindergarten. One Saturday, he sweetly left a message on our answering machine asking if I wanted to go see Shrek at the movies with him and his parents. I think I remember hearing the message that night and being nervous and asking my mom to just delete it! Totally ghosted him.

  103. Alyssa says...

    This is so sweet! My first crush was Chris Mecleary in 1st grade. I had a crush on him through 3rd grade (though we NEVER spoke) and then I switched to having a new crush every week. Oh to be young and innocent. Grateful to now have a permanent crush on my boyfriend. <3

  104. Jill Vecchio says...

    Trying to be politically correct ALL the time and not offend anyone is exhausting!!
    Anton, you be you.

    • anna says...

      in fact, it’s not about being politically correct.
      it’s about kids living in an environment in which their experiences are filtered through some adult prism and then reflected back at them. Amazing that in this me too moment that we’re not a bit more reflective about childhood experiences.

    • Sid says...

      So sad that some adults can’t read a lovely story like this and not apply their own warped filter to try to ruin it for others.

    • Emily says...

      Agree with Anna. I’m a mother of 2 young girls and this entire post and comments get my mama bear hackles up.

    • Kara says...

      There is no such thing as “politically correct.” There are people who care about the lived experience of others, and those who do not. The narratives that children learn directly and indirectly from the adults in their lives shape how they form relationships and treat other people. It’s important to take that seriously.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for these notes! i’m glad to hear everyone’s thoughts, and gender norms and natural unhurried childhood developmental steps are something alex and i think deeply about as parents. in this case, anton announced that he had a crush and wanted to write her a note. we try hard to treat our kids’ wishes and thoughts with respect, so i helped him spell the words he wanted to say. then he popped it into his backpack, and we went to get ready for bed and read about the titanic. i’ve read that ages 5-6 is very typical for first crushes as a developmental step (totally non-sexual, of course). as a parent, i think this is totally fine. thank you!

    • Jill says...

      actually I was trying to say that Anton and his crush is so innocent… lets just take it for what it is and not assign anything more or less to it.

  105. My first crush was in third grade…..for Bobby Killum. I left an anonymous “I love you” note on his desk! But he like Diane, another girl in the class.

  106. Maia says...

    Ohmyheart. This one made me sob. It’s been a long, painful day at work and your innocent, sweet, little boy’s wonderful gesture made me cry.
    How do you bottle up this innocence and not have the world ever taint it? Every time I see a kid with a big heart on his/her little sleeve, I wish so fervently that the world will let them stay that way for a long, long time. Hug House Plant for me, please.

  107. Nancy says...

    My first grader was telling me who had crushes on whom so I asked him if he knew what a crush was. “Yes, it’s when you like someone and want to hold their hand.” Be still my heart.

    • Kate says...

      That was my definition of a crush but I think I also included “and you want to sit by them on the bus or at lunch” :)

  108. Susan says...

    Joseph in kindergarten. He was blonde and blue eyed with a big smile in a school that was 100% Chinese students in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown. He was seated next to me and it was love at first sight for both of us. We talked so much that the teacher had to separate us, but we still spent recess and lunch times together. At the end of the first day, his mom came to pick him up and he grabbed my hand and ran over to her. “Mommy, I have a girlfriend and we love each other!” He also had a little dog which made me love him even more. Unfortunately our love was short-lived (2 weeks) as his parents transferred him to a Catholic School as soon as they realized he was the only non Chinese child in the school He did not come to school one day and since we never got together outside of school, I had no idea where he lived. I stood by the cyclone fence looking for him for days on end and looked for him throughout the neighborhood. gosh, I have not thought about Joseph for years. Thank you for the opportunity for a sweet memory to bubble to the surface.

  109. Charlotte K says...

    My first love was a boy in kindergarten named Philip. I am happy to say that our mothers arranged play dates for us, even though this was way back in the early 1960s when little boys and girls were not necessarily encouraged to play together. I wish I could remember his last name.

  110. Maggie says...

    My real real first crush is from fourth grade – Phil! We skated at the 4th grade roller skating party – and we held hands! We were the talk of the student body haha. He’s still in my phone as Good Phil (we shall not speak of bad Phil, circa 2012).

    • Cait says...

      The last part of your comment made me laugh so much :)

  111. annie says...

    Why does this have to be a “crush”? Isn’t it just a friendship?
    I don’t love that we do this to our kids’ early relationships. This boyfriend/girlfriend business. It sexualizes these interactions in a way that I do not find “sweet”.
    It makes me sad.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh it was Anton who said he had a crush, actually! I’ve read that ages 5-6 is the typical age of having a first crush, and it’s not sexual at all — just a natural developmental step. Thanh you! Xo

    • kristy says...

      is a crush sexual? seems like a difference between the feelings of romance and friendship which is absolutely a natural development step, but certainly not sexual! it’s more weird that adults take it there ;)

    • Dee says...

      I definitely had a crush when I was four – David Brookes. He smelled nice and he always sat next to me for milk and cookies time at playgroup. I felt special when he sat next to me. I stopped liking him when the teacher forgot to give him his cookies one day and he cried… I was like, ugh what a baby :-)

    • Carrie says...

      Childhood crushes are completely normal….happening since the dawn of time. It’s actually not complicated, and definitely not sexualized

    • Steph says...

      I have to wonder how many of the “but don’t sexualize it” commentators have kids. I have three and around 5/6 all were able to distinguish between friendship and loving someone in that context and having a crush. Jo, good for you for enabling his self-expression. (And thank you as the mom If daughters 😉.)

    • Kelly says...

      i had a crush in kindergarten and I definitely thought about kissing him ALL THE TIME. And it made me feel what i now recognize is hot and bothered in, yes, a sexual way.

      if you read the book ‘your 6 year old, loving and defiant’ – it covers this topic. totally normal people! we are all sexual beings.

  112. Emily says...

    Melt my heart.
    Mine first crush was in kindergarten, and his name was Donovan. #childofthe70s

  113. Tessa says...

    My first crush was Prince Eric off of the Little Mermaid. He was an animated young man with flowing dark hair, blue eyes, and a perfectly tailored white shirt. Unfortunately, he wasn’t great at two-way communication.

    • Haylee says...

      Amen to that! Shame it didn’t work out for us.

    • He also had a ship AND a dog! He was the whole package.

    • cs says...

      YES! I will forever maintain that Prince Eric was my first love.

  114. Mac says...

    Fabio Betts—how could you forget him with a name like that?
    My first grader had her first crush last year (her best friend’s sweet big brother “I just think he’d be a really fun dad!”). But this year—“Mom, I have a crush on Cadin, and he has a crush on me, and that just doesn’t happen very often, you know? It’s pretty special.” ❤️😂

  115. Arielle says...

    Stephan Haller in preschool into kindergarten. I would drop puzzle pieces onto the floor so he would pick them up for me. I remember thinking that he was a gentleman. I still work on jigsaws to this day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Omg sweetest!

  116. Sarah says...

    Doesn’t it make you wonder if YOU were someone’s first crush? It’d be fun to know :)

  117. Carol Hinz says...

    What a sweetheart! This past weekend, my own 5-year-old son labored over a letter . . . to his 8-year-old big brother. It began with, “I love you.” Oh, my heart! These boys alternate at a shockingly rapid speed between getting along and fighting, and I hope that it’s the things like this that stay with them when they’re grown.

  118. Carrie says...

    The picture of him writing the note…!! It’s too much to handle. What a special capture.

  119. R says...

    Genuine question (because I have often wondered this): why are you viewing this as a crush and not just a friendship? If it was another boy who had given him a plane/he had responded with a letter, would that still seem crush-like, or just like a budding 5-year-old friendship? I truly don’t mean to sound curmudgeonly (or a killer of all joy – this is totally sweet!!). I also don’t have children. It’s just something that has really struck me, the differences in how we frame same-sex versus opposite-sex friendships among children.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Because he said he had a crush on her :) but I am always careful about those cues and when we play games I’ll have two wooden figures be husbands or I’ll tell the boys “when you grow up and if you have a husband or wife…”

    • deanna says...

      agreed. and with respect to Joanna’s comment below – fine. but i would expect that he’s saying it’s a crush as he’s picked up those signals from home or other friends: ie “aren’t crushes cute”? “aren’t they sweet”? yuck.

    • R says...

      Thanks, Joanna. I appreciate the response! I remember being little and definitely “feeling” a difference between thinking of someone as a friend vs. a crush. It’s interesting to me to learn how parents navigate this/other developmental stages.

    • DC says...

      Just curious Deanna, why do you think crushes are yuck?

  120. Kate says...

    My kindergarten crush, Kyle, ended up being the first guy I ever made out with when I was 15 or 16, and boy howdy was he a good introduction to the world of kissing!! It was like he was put in my path for the sole reason of teaching me what makes a good (great!!) kiss good. It didn’t go any further than that and I don’t think we ever even hung out after that awesome afternoon, but I am eternally grateful that he was my first kiss! (20 years later the memory still makes me wobbly in the knees)

  121. celeste says...

    Oh yes, Scott Kilgore in first grade. His family moved away. He was blond. We had our first kiss on the playground.

    (My daughter, 10, has told me she’s “not ready” for crushes, way to know yourself :) and my son, 8, is super involved in sports and may not know girls exist yet).

  122. Clermont says...

    Fernando in kindergarten. His family had recently moved to Florida from Venezuela and he was learning English. We were partnered together to dance in some silly school performance and I had butterflies in my stomach.

  123. Meghan says...

    I was in kindergarten and his name was…Victor? It definitely started with a V because my best friend and I both had a crush on him and would fight over whose favorite letter in the alphabet was V, haha.

  124. Lindsey says...

    Kyle Berger was my first grade crush! I had it bad. So bad, that one time, when he forgot to have his mom sign his reading sheet saying he’d done it, and he asked me to forge his mom’s signature, this goody-two-shoes happily obliged him! I remember making the K in his mom’s name with a super curlicue K and thinking it was cursive. Hahaha. Pretty sure the teacher knew it was forged, but he didn’t tell on me. We thought we were being so sneaky!
    Also, I had a couple hardcore movie crushes from around that age: Harrison Ford in Star Wars, Christian Bale in Little Women, and Jonathan Crombie in Anne of Green Gables (may he rest in peace). I still get butterflies when I see them on screen!

  125. Oh my goodness, my almost-five-year-old (WHAT? on Wednesday,) is having a similar experience. Its so almost, painfully touching and sweet. Oh these dear boys…
    Thank you for the reminder.

  126. Hope says...

    I had my first crush in kindergarten, too! His name was Jake, and 7 years and 2 school changes later, I’d share my 8th grade English class with him! I still remember on school picture day, being 5 years old and standing in line with my class in the gym waiting on my name to be called, and tucking my hands in the pockets of my jean jumper because he had his hands in the pockets of his jeans and I thought it was SO cool! Haha!

  127. emily says...

    Oh that is SO sweet, my day is made!!

  128. Jill says...

    Tommy Labay in second grade. He gave me a paper flower that he made himself. I still have it — and that was over 50 years ago. I just can’t throw it away.

    • Lindsey says...

      Oh my gosh, that is the sweetest thing ever! I had a boy give me a seashell as an apology for pushing me, and I kept it for many years, before I think it got lost in my parents’ house.

    • Kate says...

      That is so sweet!!

    • Paula says...

      that is TOO SWEET! I love it.

  129. Erin G. says...

    Oh, I love this. My 5-year-old, kindergartener also has his very first crush! He met her at a Halloween party, and then they reunited at a Gingerbread House making party this past weekend. He ran to me, put his small hand on my arm, and whispered, “Mommy, she’s HERE!” so excitedly my heart burst. On the ride home he sweetly asked me, “Mommy, how do I ask her mom for her phone number?” and I had to try so hard not to giggle/cry.

    Also, you’ve reminded me of my first crush (first grade): Tyson Byrd! The fact that I recalled his name so easily, and the feelings I felt, have reminded me to take my sweet boy’s feelings seriously (and get that girl’s mom’s phone number!)

  130. Andres Guerrero, first grade.
    Our teacher (Hi, Ms. Yee!) took us all to Brigham’s for ice cream and Andres and I sat together and it was pretty major for young Rachel.

  131. Colleen says...

    So, so adorable. And such great advice. My friend, Jen, wisely counsels that you have to listen to all the small stuff if you want them to tell you the big stuff.

    • Sara says...

      Great advice, thax for sharing, Colleen!

  132. Steph says...

    Yes, Elvis at 5 years old. Instead of cartoons I watched (obsessed) over Elvis movies: Change of Habit and Girl Happy being my favorites.

    It may have been doomed from the start, Elvis being dead, an adult, a drug addict, etc., but my little 5 year old heart wasn’t too worried about facts.

    • Meredith says...

      Yes! I had a GIANT crush on Elvis when I was little, too. I was convinced I was going to marry him and absolutely devastated when I learned he died of a drug overdose.

  133. Alison Doherty says...

    Not to be too much of a teacher – but his letters are fantastic!

  134. Lauren says...

    I love this so much. Your mom’s advice is gold. Do you remember your big worries as a child? I remember feeling anxious for legitimate weeks of my life in fourth grade because I had lost a mechanical pencil I’d borrowed from a seatmate and didn’t have any way of replacing. I still remember the pit in my stomach telling her I didn’t have it, and she’d ask me every single day when I was going to replace it. Why didn’t I just ask my parents to buy a few? It was like being approached by a bookie every day at school and instead of asking for help I just felt so worried for weeks.

    Isn’t that sad/funny the things we carry as kids that seem INSURMOUNTABLE.

    I have a 4 year old (4.5, mom!) and a 20 month old and it’s so true, a lost toy or a friend being unkind is what their days are made of, and their feelings about them are as real as any of my worries. And Lord knows, if someone told me to calm down about something I was feeling, I’d let them have it. Haha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “It was like being approached by a bookie every day at school” = hahaha

      when i was five, i was SO SCARED that when i got older and had to take the bus to school that i wouldn’t be able to get my foot up on the steps. finally, i told my my mom and she told me that by the time i was older, i would be tall enough to climb the steps. it’s hard to be little!

    • When I was in kindergarten, I dressed up as Snow White for Halloween and wore my costume to school. At some point, I saw a teacher from another class had dressed up as the Evil Queen from Snow White — I genuinely still remember the absolutely sheer terror I felt as I hid under my own teacher’s desk! I then refused to go to the school costume “parade” for fear of running into the “queen.” I’m certain both my teacher and my parents tried to explain that we were *both* just in costumes and it was all pretend, but the terror was still there nonetheless. It really is incredible how big our feelings, fears, and joys are at that age — logic be damned!

      Oh, and my first crush was a boy named Jacob (I think?) from preschool. Arguably he was my first boyfriend, too, haha, because we were always companions in play — my sister and best friend at the time also had boys they regularly partnered up with like I did with Jacob! It was all very serious.

  135. Snezana says...

    My heart.

  136. Mel says...

    Be still my heart, sweet little Anton! My first crush was a red head named Fletcher in nursery school. I remember trying to get his attention all the time at 4 years old! Fast forward to high school and college, we had a few drunken make out sessions. And he’s still one of my best friends. <3

  137. Paula says...

    My heart!!! <3