"You know why I got my hair cut like this, Miss Pam?"
"It's because I thought it would make me look like a boy, and then [boy's name] would play with me. He won't play with me, even though I like him."
"You wanted to look like a boy?"
"Yeah, I won't buy or wear pink or purple any more either."
"But you wear dresses sometimes..."
"Oh, I'll get rid of those."
"But I like you just the way you are."
"I don't like the way I am."
And she bounced away.
The girl is five! Years old! And that just about broke my heart. My first thought was those Dateline specials where transgendered people say that they knew they were in the wrong body since they were, like, toddlers. I think what killed me is that she wanted to be this boy’s friend so much. And he’s a ringleader, so his opinion is important, apparently so important that she cut off all her hair and plans on acquiring a new wardrobe.
I just didn’t know what to tell her to explain that she didn’t need anyone else’s approval. And so young! Kids aren’t supposed to get mean until middle school! I couldn’t tell if these things were in fact more externally than internally driven (they seemed to be), but I don't think I've ever been more at a loss for words with these kids before. She wanted to change herself! At an age where she's not supposed to even consider that as an option!