Full Monty Moana (A show-and-tell cautionary tale)

 

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 day in my 4-year-old’s preschool room. I didn’t know and I was intrigued. What exactly had my kid bringing to class show-and-tell these last few weeks?

A recent Friday I asked if she shared anything. “Yes, mommy of course! I brought a chip clip!”

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’ve known better and stayed out of my daughter’s affairs. Let the child bring whatever object she likes! Stop worrying about the potential frowns of her peers who perhaps 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 suddenly thrown out the window. Buh-bye!

 

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Good-bye good intentions!

After that Friday I started reminding her that Friday was show-and-tell day.  Which brings us to naked Moana. 

We were running late that particular Friday. I reminded my daughter it was show-and-tell day and I started suggesting toys within my sight: how about curious George? Or her toy camera?

She grabbed Moana. Moana was missing her skirt. Are you sure you want to bring Moana? Yes, she was sure.

(I don’t need to tell you that Moana’s skirt was nowhere in sight.)

I made a split-second decision–we would take (half-naked) Moana to school. I mean, all kids play with half-naked dolls, right?

When we arrived to preschool 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 her teacher, 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 about how 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 about 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.

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Say what.

“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 as one tends to do when situations are awkward. I finally realized maybe it hadn’t been entirely appropriate to bring this doll to show-and-tell. I asked Miss M if she wanted me to take it home with me– because really, I could, no problem!

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OOPS. me channeling Jennifer Lawrence but with less awesome hair. (Giphy image)

No, no, it was fine, she assured me, still with her 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.)

Epilogue

After all this transpired I ran into another parent and mentioned the Moana incident. The parent laughed and said, yeah, one day their daughter brought a zippered jacket to class show-and-tell. 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.

 

 

 

The contents of her Frozen backpack (age 4)

  • A naked Moana doll (they are always naked)
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Poor moana is always missing her clothes. (Photo found online.)
  • oak tree twigs of varying lengths (quantity: 2)
  • a penny (she loves coins)
  • a small glass jar for placing her collections

File this away to Things I Don’t Ever Want To Forget about My Daughter at Four.

I’ve got (pancake) skills

I made the mistake a few weeks ago of making bunny-shaped pancakes at Easter and now my four-year-old thinks I’m capable of great pancake feats. Hence her request today for a “horse-shaped” pancake. She even wanted it to have “nooves” (she was struggling to remember the word hooves.) 

Hooves?!

Well, my lil’ cowgirl running around naked in her red cowboy boots was too hard to say no to. I cautioned that the hooves might be a level of detail not capable with the pancake medium. She shrugged and was like, ok but please still make a horse pancake?

You all, this might be stating the obvious but it’s hard to make pancakes look like horses. 

Me to kid: here is your horse pancake! Just know that it kind of sort of looks like a horsey.

Kid: I see it!

Me (not believing her): yeah!?Where do you think the tail is?

Listen you guys, she found the “tail”!


I have officially won motherhood today.

UPDATE: I forgot to add that after she ate her pancake she brought over a plastic toy horse and said, “Mommy, this is what a horse looks like!” Like I didn’t know. Like my pancake didn’t look like a horse or something. 

“I am the cheese monster!”

As my four-year-old stated last night (at 4am): “I am a little bit tired and a little bit awake!” She was very excited because grandma and pop-pop arrive today and arecheesemonster staying at our house for several nights while the husband and I go to KEY WEST to celebrate ten years of marriage! So exciting! I look forward to the sleep that I get there.

p.s. I seem to be accumulating posts dedicated to middle-of-the-night conversatons with my daughter–I think it warrants its own category.  Today, the category “4am kid convos” is born!

4:02 a.m.

Child climbs into bed with me. Husband is blissfully asleep in guest bed “getting over a the stomach flu.” Please, you know he is psychic and predicted this event transpiring.

4 y.o.: “It is dark!”

Me: “Yes Z, it is the middle of the night.”

4yo: “I AM THE CHEESE MONSTER!”

Me: perplexed. Laughs.

4:23 a.m.

4 y.o.: “I bet Jupiter is GLOWING!” (She is referring to a model kit of the planets that my husband bought her and is not-yet-assembled.)

me: “It doesn’t glow honey. You have to paint it to make it glow.” ( The kit comes with glow-in-the-dark paint you can put on the planets.) 

4y.o.: “BUT DADDY SAID THEY ARE ALREADY PAINTED!”

Me: “Yes, they are painted, but not with glowing paint. You need to paint them with the glow paint.” Thinks to self, why am I having this conversation??!

4:53 a.m.

4yo: “Will grandma and pop-pop be here soon?”

Me: “Not until you sleep!!”

5:01 am.

4yo: “I found Jupiter!!! It isn’t glowing.” Holding a model of Jupiter. Definitely not glowing. 

me: “You have to paint it.”

4yo: “But daddy said it is already painted!”

I give up. 

5:09 a.m.

4yo. Starts to slowly breathe in that “about-to-fall-asleep-nobody-make-a-damn-noise” way.

Smart dog: “Ouuurrr. Ourrrrrrrrrrrr. Ouuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” Standing by the lanai door. Wants out. 

Me:  mutters under breath. Takes dog outside. Beautiful night! Should be sleeping though! Dog pees. Return inside the house. 

4yo: AWAKE AGAIN. Yes, predicted that. 

5:12 a.m.

4yo.: Twitching in that “about-to-go-to-sleepyland-nobody-move” phase. 

Smart dog: “uuuurrrrrrr. Urrrrttt! Urrrrrrrrrrrt!” Standing by his empty water bowl. 

Me: DAMNIT DOG! I fill the water bowl. 

4yo: You guessed it: awake.

5:20 a.m.

The-less-smart-dog: “Rrrrr! Rrrrrrrrr! RrRRRRRRRR!!!!!” Standing by the bed. Too fat or old or duffus-ey to figure out how to jump onto bed. Need to purchase dog ramp. Not yet ready to remove his last shreds of dignity. 

Me: Mentally muttering swear words. Lifts dog onto bed. 

4yo: Laughs and laughs and laughs. Is this funny to you kid?!

5:55 a.m.

4yo.: Snores/drools.

Me:  Snores/drools. 

7:00 a.m. (sharp!)

Alarm clock: “EEEP! EEP! EEP! EEP!”

Me: (Shaking fist into air) “Darn you husband!” (He forgot to take alarm clock with him to other room.)

Time to make the coffeeeee!!!

 


Did your cheese monster let you sleep last night? Feel free to share your own stories–but not until you make the coffee. 

The Post-Easter 3:01 a.m. Sugar Hangover

3:01 a.m.

4-year old: “Maaaaaaaah-meeee, it’s time to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!! Time to make the caaaaaaaaawwwwfeeeeee!”

me: “No, it’s definitely not. Go back to sleep.”

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Still learning the lesson that chocolate contains sugar and CAFFEINE. (Photo credit: “Easter Bunny!” Photo by Sarah-Rose, Creative Commons license, at https://flic.kr/p/9DkYVa.

4:22 a.m.

4YO: “It’s getting light out!”

Me: “No, it’s definitely not. Go back to sleep.”

4:48 a.m.

4YO: “Mommy, how do bats see in the dark?”

Me: “I don’t know. Go back to sleep.” (Meanwhile, thinks to self, hmm, bats have poor vision right? But they echolocate. . . why am I thinking about this.)

4YO: “I’ll ask daddy!” (runs to daddy, who wisely retreated to the guest bed to avoid this nonsense.)

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“Kid, we don’t see in the dark. But if we did, we would fly to your bed and tell you to go the Fork to Sleep!” – Sincerely, batty. (Photo credit: “DSC_0530” by Bat-Wrangler, Creative Commons License at https://flic.kr/p/5EkDf4.)

4:49 a.m.

4YO: “THEY ECKA-LOKAY!”

Me: “Yes, echolocation. Go back to sleep.”

6:22 a.m.

4YO: (Snoring.)

Me: (Snoring)

7:01 a.m.

4YO: “Mommy it’s light out! Time for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!”

Me: “Time to make the caaaawwww-feeee.” (Yawn.)


How did your child’s chocolate hangover go? What’s that, you wisely did not let your youngster consume copious amounts of chocolate late in the day?? *All hail your wise parenting choices!*

Whatever makes your heart sing

I’m feeling a little rusty. It has been a long slog of a month, and quite a while since I’ve found myself in my most favorite of places: in front of my computer ready to write with coffee by my side (Cuban, my favorite) while my daughter hangs with Curious George cartoons.

Nothing like a disruption to routine and upheavals in your household to make you grateful for the little pleasures of life.

My wish for you today: a version of coffee+computer+cartoons. Whatever makes your heart sing.

 

A return home

Last Friday I returned to my home-state of Michigan to attend my 20th high school reunion. I flew out of SW Florida as the hurricane was approaching Daytona Beach and watched news coverage from the airport. If you looked outside of its floor to ceiling windows you would have seen less wind and rain than a typical day during our rainy season, which is just wrapping up here.

Now I am back in Florida, back at my computer with cold Cuban coffee and listening to one of my favorite Detroit radio stations online, a station I was stunned to discover is still broadcasting (and as awesome as ever!). I listened to it while driving my made-in-Detroit rental car north on U.S. 23, fighting the familiar traffic that flees north on weekends, all while soaking in the beauty of a Michigan fall day with its grey clouds, blue sky, and bright sun peaking through to light up trees that were just starting to turn yellow and red.

Michigan in October

So much filled me with joy this weekend. Seeing friends who knew before I could read or write. Friends who saw me exactly for who I was in the way that only five-year-olds can. We swapped stories. We mused about what ever happened to this person or that who moved away in elementary school never to be heard from again. We tried to remember the name of our elementary school secretary (she was very much called a secretary then), and then finally remembered. (It was Dorothy.)

Mitten-State Love

The weekend closed with me sitting in a Detroit terminal eating a coney dog and Better Made chips, reading a copy of the Freep, the Detroit paper. I took a picture of these objects, that is how happy I was to have them in front of me. The only way to top it would have been to wash it all down with a Vernors pop. (And yes it is pop, not soda.)

There are other things I want to write about but can only do so in my journal. As I stood with a friend who has known me since I was five we nodded heads talking about how hard and complicated home can get when you are very much a grown adult. I thought about this as I stood in the local neighborhood market, staring at the back entrance where it used to house rental VHS cassettes, and then possibly DVDS, swapped now for shelves that sell craft beer. The butcher department still smelled of fish but strangers walked the small, neat aisles.

driving on US 23 in Michigan

As I drove south to the Detroit airport for my return flight, I found myself glancing at the Michigan highway ditches, half-expecting to see egrets hunting for fish instead of the goldenrods that were in bloom. Now I am home. Florida-home. Discussing the hurricane that has passed. Eating leftover take-out Caribbean food. But I am listening to the Detroit radio station, now available online, still as awesome as ever. And it turns out that U.S. 23, the road that leads to home in mid-Michigan, also goes all the way south to Florida, too.


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