You might have picked up on this if you’re a long term reader of my blog, but Tracey is much better at this parenting gig than me. We can both look at the same situation and come up with totally different solutions.
Our second youngest was displaying her flexibility on Nanny’s lounge room floor, which wouldn’t have warranted a second look if that was all she was displaying.
“You know I can see your undies?” I said to her as I walked through to the kitchen for my morning coffee.
“Yep,” she said, unconcerned.
“Well, it’s not very lady-like,” I called back at her.
“Yes, it is,” she assured me.
“Well, not necessarily the sort of lady we’re hoping you’ll grow into,” I joked.
“What sort of ladies do this then?” Miss7 wanted to know.
This is what happens pre-coffee. I’ve been in this parenting game long enough to know seven year olds run rings around me in these conditions even if they’re sort of lying down.
I left it at that, ultimately just pleased she had knickers on at all. In fact, I was mentally patting myself on the back. My father would have said he could see what she had for breakfast, so kudos to me for keeping it kid friendly.
There was just this one niggling concern I had as I stirred in my quarter teaspoon of sugar. She’d been spending a lot of time alone with the iPad this year and…well, you may not know this but there is actually a fair bit of ‘women in compromising positions’ out there for the unsuspecting net surfer.
No, really! I’ve done the research.
“Time to stop now,” I told my daughter on my return trip. I’d been hoping she’d have done that all by herself but if anything her feet had managed to move another inch or so away from her head. Her face was still grinning up at me from between her legs. “No one wants to see that.”
Even fuelled by caffeine I had nothing. There really wasn’t any reason to stop her. She was just playing and they’re just undies. Any social awkwardness was on me and to be honest I wasn’t feeling awkward about her doing it, only that it wasn’t the sort of thing people want to see. Would I stop her if we were in a supermarket or a playground? I would. But this was sort of her house. Well, it’s Nanny & Poppy’s, but we’re staying for a few weeks while we do some work to our bus. If there’s anywhere Miss7 should be allowed to roll and tumble and bend and stretch without any thought as to flashing her knickers, surely it’s here.
“Never mind,” I said, and kept moving. “I’ll shut the door. Have fun.”
Shut the door. Problem solved. For the record, this is also my solution to the washing pile building up, kids fighting, smells from the water closet and people giving away Watchtower magazines.
“Dad?” said Miss7, causing me to pause momentarily on my way back to our bus which was parked just meters from the front door. “What sort of ladies do this?”
To my great surprise and relief I thought of some I could say.
“Circus acrobats,” I suggested hopefully.
“Probably. Who else?”
I was running out of ideas so I took another swig of my coffee.
“Uncoordinated ladies who’ve tripped over a cat,” I said, walking quickly out the door and passing Tracey on her way up the stair.
“Like Nanny?” Miss7 called after me.
I sensibly decided Tracey could handle it from here. Read as: I ran away to hide in my bus.
But not before I heard Tracey encounter our little trip hazard and respond with a refreshingly familiar statement.
“Whoa! That’s not very lady-like,” she said.
Miss7, however was still having none of it.
“It absolutely is lady like,” she exclaimed, “because I’m a lady and I’m doing it.”
And now she’ll tell her to stop, I thought to myself, a little pleased with the idea pointing the underside of your undies at the ceiling is a bit awks wasn’t all mine.
But Tracey, who’d clearly already finished her second cup of Joe for the morning, but is also demonstrably the better parent of the two of us, handled it ever so much better than I did. She just cut straight to the problem and found a fix which would keep everyone happy if the neighbours came a-knocking on the front door.
“Go put on some shorts on then,” said Tracey.
Oh, yeah. I really wish I’d thought of that.
Raising a family on little more than laughs