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I'm So Not OK With Our Preschool's Wedding Tradition

It's spring and that means that it's going to happen again. The thing I dreaded the first time around.

Preschools are getting to the end of the alphabet.

They've covered G for giraffe, M for mother and Q for Q-tip. Next up, W, which, once again, is for Wedding.

In preschool.

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(Window, whipped cream, wiggle—all really great W options, by the way.)

To demonstrate the letter W in my older son's preschool, they staged weddings between the kids. Girls wore white dresses, and some boys even wore those adorable tuxedo-print T-shirts (or borrowed ties from their dads). They paired the kids off (or, married them off, I should say) and then created a tiny wedding ceremony for each kiddie couple.

They were 4 years old.

All of the parents thought it was so cute, these sweet little mini-weddings, tiny celebrations, but there was one mom who didn't like it at all.

Me.

My friends all thought I was insane—was I so uptight that I couldn't enjoy this adorable tradition? I guess I was. I still am.

I don't understand why adults seem to think it's cute to have kids model adult behavior. They'll be adults as soon as we turn around. What's the rush?

Sure, I like a little boy wearing a tie just as much as the next person. I get it. It's adorable. But these miniature weddings are taking things a step further—they're teaching kids about a relationship they can't possibly comprehend.

But more so than that, why are we teaching kids that they are just like adults? They're not. Why are we teaching kids that they can do what we do? They can't. They shouldn't. Kids should stay kids for as long as they can. Why are we pairing them off at four years old, talking about "girlfriends" and "boyfriends" pre-high school, pre-Kinder even?

Sure, I like a little boy wearing a tie just as much as the next person. I get it. It's adorable. But these miniature weddings are taking things a step further—they're teaching kids about a relationship they can't possibly comprehend.

And they're pushing them into couples, very traditionally defined couples at that. In an era that has seen great progress for marriage equality, boy-girl pairings seems pretty presumptive. Anyway, what if a kid doesn't like the kid they're paired with? What, exactly, are we hoping to teach them here?

W is for wedding is fraught with so many complications, too. Kids were encouraged to bring in photographs of their parents' weddings. What happens to the kid in class whose parents are divorced? Who never got married? Who have a non-traditional family structure? Weddings in real life are complicated and messy and create so much stress. Just like "W is for wedding." I'd rather see us put that kind of effort into snack time and reading circle.

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There are plenty of other ways to focus on the letter W. W is also for water, I dare say a more kid-focused option. Think of the different activities teachers could do with water: a classroom fish, using dye to show the water change color, a water table for kids to play with. W is also for white. This could be a great way to teach opposites—white vs. black—or talk about colors. W is for wish. Kids could create a wish list of things they want for themselves or to give to friends.

The list is endless.

Other moms may be into this annual kid-wedding tradition, but I'm not. This year, when it's announced that W is for wedding, I'll be RSVPing no.

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