It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Words to live by

My daughter Emma is working as a nanny this summer. The children are quite a handful, but she’s up for it! For their part, the children are learning that Emma is also a force to be reckoned with.

This morning I joined Emma and her charges at a local coffee shop. Charge 1 is a chatty three-year-old girl who adores pretty sundresses. She also has the wrigglesome habit of flashing her pretty panties at the world, which would be mostly cute if a) she actually wore panties every day and b) if said panties actually fit her little bottom. (The children are (supposedly) dressed when Emma arrives in the morning, but she has taken to making sure Little Miss Flasher is quite, quite dressed before they leave the house.)

While Flasher Girl waves her ankles around above her head, I am made quite, quite aware that these panties are miles and miles too big. I am far from a prude, but a flash of pudenda, no matter how juvenile, is not something I care to indulge in while sipping my latte. Nor do I want the rest of the joint being put off their respective coffees. (And we won’t even consider the slight possibility that there might be those who aren’t put off. At all.)

Before I can say a word, though, Emma has sat up straight and is looking Flasher Girl in the eye.

“Missy, you know what I said about your privates. In your bedroom, in the bathroom. NOT in a coffee shop. A coffee shop is not a private place. Put your feet down and cover up.”

Missy sits up immediately.

“Okay, Emma,” she says, solemn and earnest. “When my mummy comes home, I can do that, but I will never, ever do that with you again.”

This is a kid who is figuring it out…

August 23, 2011 - Posted by | eeewww, manners, socializing | , ,


  1. That is hilarious. Emma is awesome. You should be proud.

    Thank you! She is, and I am.

    Comment by Suzanne Lucas | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. Not only has Emma taken control, but Missy wants to earn her approval too. I can see why you’re proud.

    Do you know, I’d not seen that aspect of the exchange? You’re quite right, that’s exactly what’s happened. Well done, Emma!

    Comment by Z | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  3. Good for Emma, handling the situation so calmly. That’s a bizarre habit to get into, for a three year old. Her parents must have laughed the first time she did it…

    Don’t we all laugh the first time? 😀 Then our kids teach us better.

    But really, you can laugh at something the first time and still get rid of it subsequently. So either they’ve made no effort to get rid of it, and/or the behaviour is rewarding in some way. I’ve no idea what the answer is!

    Comment by hodgepodge | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  4. My three year old has a habit of showing panties too. Not the way Emma’s charge does but she will hike up her dress in one hand to climb trees and anything else she can. I solved the problem by throwing on a pair of shorts under said dress. I still tell her to put it down for her to learn but now I’m the only one that knows what color panties she’s wearing that day.

    Now, that sort of pantie-flashing doesn’t bother me at all. If a normally active little girl wears a dress, everyone in the playlot will soon know the colour of her panties. I don’t even blink. If it does bother you, the solution is obvious, as you note. (It would solve Emma’s problem, too, but as far as Emma’s been able to determine, this little girl doesn’t own shorts.) When you’re seeing the skin that should be covered by the panties, though, that’s a step past even my comfort zone!

    Comment by bearsmomma | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  5. I love reading your posts! Brings a smile to my day and often makes me think too. Thanks! Kudos to Emma for handling that so well…but I think she had a very good teacher. : )

    Thank you!

    Comment by Lynn | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  6. Haha! What a smart kid! (Smart nanny, too!) I think little kids are often not given enough credit for what they actually understand…

    Comment by rosie_kate | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  7. I live near any area with a wonderful park. Wonderful park is often filled with parents with more money than they know what to do with. Your sweatpants cost more than my whole outfit? hmmm ok then! It annoys me to no end though when these parents bring their little ones to a PLAYGROUND in expensive outfits and then spend the whole time yelling at them not to play in the sandbox, not to get dirty. Dress your children appropriately. Including undies that fit, or shorts or pants for playing

    That reminds me of the old saying “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.” Similarly here: if you can’t afford to replace (or even wash?) those expensive clothes, you can’t afford them. By fussing like that over the clothes, rather than showing us all the fancy stuff you can afford, you’re showing that the expense of it is worrying you. Put your kids in something cheap and let them play!

    I once worked in a daycare centre. One mother sent her 5-yo daughter in the most beautiful dresses, day after day — and then got angry, at us and at her, when they got dirty. She wouldn’t stop sending the poor kid dressed that way, so every day, after TigerMom left, we’d change the child into REAL playclothes, and change her back into her don’t-be-a-normal-kid dress half an hour before mom was expected. Poor kid!

    Comment by heather | August 24, 2011 | Reply

  8. did you know ‘pudenda’ means shame in latin?

    No, I didn’t. But why would I be surprised? We didn’t invent misogyny! Sigh.

    Comment by Jenny | August 25, 2011 | Reply

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