Remember naked Moana from yesterday? I’d be failing you if I didn’t tell you the whole naked Moana story. But first, some background.
It turns out that every Friday is show-and-tell in my 4-year-old’s preschool room. I didn’t know this at first, and once I did I was intrigued. What exactly was my kid bringing?
A recent Friday I asked if she shared anything.
“Yes, mommy of course! I brought a chip clip!”
Yes, a chip-clip! (That’s right, my four-year-old brought to school a bag-clip thing you use to keep your bag of Lays closed.)
I was a little worried.
“Oh wow a chip clip, huh? So what did your classmates say when you showed them the clip?”
“They said it was red!”
It was indeed.
This is where I should have known better to stay out of my daughter’s affairs. Let the child bring whatever object she likes! Stop worrying about possible frowns of her peers who maybe don’t appreciate the fine spring mechanisms of the chip clip. My commitment to raising a resilient child rather than a child protected from every hurt was thrown out the window. Buh-bye!
You know I meddled. After that Friday I started reminding her that Friday was show-and-tell day. Which brings us to naked Moana.
We were running late. What did she want to bring to show-and-tell? I started suggesting toys within my site: curious George? her toy camera?
She grabbed Moana. Moana was missing her skirt. Are you sure you want to bring Moana? I don’t need to tell you that Moana’s skirt was nowhere in sight.
I made a split-second decision. All children play with naked dolls right? I justified this to myself. Not my greatest parenting moment but whatever: we took half-naked Moana to school.
As we arrived in to class the other kids greeted my kid by lifting their shirts and exclaiming LOOK AT MY SWIMSUIT! Friday also happened to be “water day” where they could wear a swimsuit and play in sprinklers and kiddie pools. My kid lifted her dress and showed her suit to Miss M. Miss M. looked slightly horrified and said, they are always such exhibitionists on swim day!
Before I continue, let me tell you about Miss M. She is a grandmother of two. She loves to tell stories and teases the children that all birthdays are going to be cancelled except hers, which is met with roars of laughter and NO MISS M!! At a recent school event with parents, Miss M. read aloud a book a bunny and when finished said in a conspiring tone to the parents, “I have another story about a bunny–how my father once held a party for his friends and had someone dress up as a bunny to convince the drunk guests they were REALLY losing it, but that is a story for another day!”
So when I casually mentioned to Miss M that speaking of exhibitionists, “Oh hey, Z. brought a half-naked Moana doll for show and tell, aren’t kids hilarious?” I was not expecting her to freak out.
But freak out she did.
To make matters worse, somewhere between home and school, Moana’s bikini top flittered away and Moana went from being half-naked Moana to becoming Full Monty Moana.
I’ve never seen Miss M look so appalled. I was squirming now. Oh, well all kids end up playing with these dolls naked, right? I bet the kids won’t even notice. I laughed nervously.
Miss M’s face: still horrified.
“Oh, well you just don’t know what they will grab to bring for show and tell do you!” I didn’t even realize she grabbed the naked doll, silly me! (YES I TOTALLY THREW MY KID UNDER THE BUS.) I just kept talking and talking one tends to do when situations are awkward. I finally realized maybe it wasn’t entirely appropriate to bring this doll to show-and-tell. I asked Miss M if she wanted me to take it home – because really, I could – no problem!
No, no, it was fine, she assured me, still with a deer-in-headlights look.
This is the story of how I learned to BUTT-OUT-OF-SHOW-AND-TELL. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Sure, kiddo, bring more chip clips! (And hey, do you have an extra one? Maybe I’ll use one to keep my mouth shut.)
After all this I ran into another parent and mentioned the Moana incident. They laughed and said, yeah one day their daughter brought a zippered jacket to show the class. Huh. Turns out that four-year-olds know exactly what they are doing thank-you-very-much. Chip clips welcome. Naked Moanas, not so much.