This morning, I "held court" in Wee Three's junior kindergarten class. The children had all been remarkably well-behaved, and I had managed to maneuver everyone through their various tasks smoothly enough.
We settled into "carpet time" and twenty-four little people looked up at me delightedly as I announced show-and-tell. I consulted the class list, and asked the five children who were "on" to go to their backpacks, and bring out their treasures for all to see.
There were battered toy cars. And beloved stuffed animals. Even a music box that played a beautiful waltz while a carousel horse spun around on the top.
When my five-year-old friend Calvin swaggered to the front of the room, however, I noted that he was uncharacteristically empty-handed.
"Forgot my show-'n-tell," he declared, as he beamed at his audience.
"BUT... I DO HAVE... THIS!!!" he chortled, as he whipped up the front of his shirt, unveiling his belly button with pride.
For precisely one nano-second, I was unsure of how to proceed. And then I remembered a wonderful day, several years ago, when I was observing a seasoned veteran of the kindergarten teaching profession conduct a show-and-tell session. Her grace, empathy and STRAIGHT FACE when a little boy named James whipped a large baking potato out of his backpack, was a marvel to behold. No doubt, she was thinking that poor James' exhausted, post-partum mother hadn't had the energy to check the contents of her eldest son's school bag that morning.
"Well, James, that is interesting..." the sainted woman remarked, putting her arm around the little boy.
"Tell us, dear. WHY did you choose THIS to show us today?"
"Because," wee James replied enthusiastically, rotating the potato for his classmates to see, "Because it's SHAPED LIKE A BUM!!"
The crowd roared appreciatively, and the potato was passed hand-to-hand for all to admire.
To her great credit, the teacher RESISTED the enormous temptation to drop to the floor in hysterics. She took the entire situation ab-so-lute-ly SERIOUSLY, praised James' evident powers of observation, and allowed him to feel proud.
Yes, Calvin showed off his perfect little "inny" bellybutton at our show-and-tell today. He briefly discussed the pitfalls of having an "inny", rather than an "outie"-- lint from his pj's and fuzzy sweatshirts can often be a problem, apparently... Though the variety of colours it comes in are endlessly fascinating. Luckily, we didn't go much further into the subject during the question-and-answer session, other than to mention that babies "eat" through their belly-buttons before they're born, when they're still in their mummies' tummies. I wrapped things up pretty tidily after that, preferring that OTHER mummies take on the task of explaining the intricacies of THAT subject. No doubt over lunch or dinner tonight...
As we were driving home from school at noon, Child Number Three declared the morning to have been an overwhelming success, which warmed my heart.
"BUT," she added thoughtfully, "Dat belly button was YUKKY."
To be frank?
Ever since that brief nano-second of hesitation I felt this morning...
I've just been thanking Almighty God that Calvin chose to hike up his shirt, rather than dropping his pants, instead.