First up, a series of email exchanges from earlier this week:
From: Penny...So it begins. Matt didn't buy that enormous sword on our wall any too soon, I guess.
Date: June 11
Help! A boy named [redacted] likes me like a girlfriend! I don't even like him!
Subject: Re: AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date: June 12
That will happen, because you're pretty and smart and fun to be with. You don't have to be his girlfriend. Just be sure to be nice when you tell him you don't want to be his girlfriend, so you don't hurt his feelings too much.
Subject: Thats better
Date: June 12
Mom he dosen't have a crush on me anymore. :o Whew
I asked her about it later, and apparently the boy is changing the object of his crush on a near-daily basis between Penny and a few of her friends that she hangs out with at school. My suspicion is that he's just waiting for one of them to cave and agree to be his girlfriend. Whatever that means in the third grade. But that doesn't mean I don't have to take it seriously when I talk to her about it. I can remember having a crush on a boy in the 2nd or 3rd grade and trying to talk to my parents about it, and they basically laughed at me -- not trying to be mean, and I understand why, now... but at the time, it was a little hurtful and very unhelpful.
(Oh, and for the various friends who might see her in real life -- don't mention the episode to her. She finds the whole thing very embarrassing, and I'm probably a bad parent for having shared it.)
And just this morning, I had an email from a friend whose child spends a lot of time with Penny, who knew I'd be amused (name obscured to protect the, er, guilty, but otherwise this is a strict copy/paste):
Child said she was annoying Penny on purpose (which she admitted she shouldn't do)Well, she is her father's daughter. Um, and mine.
Penny said, "stop that or I'm going to have to say the H word!"
Child said "what's the H word?"
a little later Child started annoying Penny again on purpose.
Penny: "stop that or I'm going to have to use the S word!"
Child "what's the S word?"
a little while later Child was annoying Penny again on purpose.
Penny: "stop that or I'm going to have to use the F word!"
Child: "what's the F word?"