Sunday, February 10, 2008

Modesty is such a lonely word

S was asked to play on his school's football (a.k.a. soccer) team last week--a one-game gig unless the head teacher can drum up money for uniforms, a coach, equipment, etc. But even for one game, we needed to get him some shin guards. So off we went to a local mall to hunt a pair down. At our third store, we found a pair, so while Ron was mulling over the purchase (should we get 2 pair? should we get socks? should we get a ball while we're at it? should we try bartering in a mall? or is doing so reserved for the souks? [he got them to knock a whopping $3 off the total, thus serving to embarrass our children and encourage a continuation of Ron's mantra: "it never hurts to ask"]), the little guy was kicking a basketball around with one of the employees. Back and forth they went six or seven times until my son, quite excited about being potty trained, stopped, rested the ball at his feet, put his hands on his waistband, looked up at the employee, and said, "Do you want to see my underwear?" I blushed, explained what was going on, and said, "I bet you never had a customer ask you that before."

And while we're on the topic of underwear, there's E to discuss. A long-time fan of dresses, she changes into them as soon as she's home from school, not really considering what she might be doing in them that afternoon. A week or so ago, she put on a dress and skipped off to the playground. I followed her out and was talking to a neighbor when I turned around to see E hanging upside down from one of the bars, her dress dangling around her neck, her pink underwear showing for all the little Indian and Arabic boys in our compound to see.

Now, let me take you back to about a year or so ago when I was in my kitchen back in Pittsburgh making dinner. The TV was on and a dvd of one of the kids' birthday parties was playing. S and O had a friend over, and E was standing in front of the TV singing along to "Happy Birthday to You." At the end, the final "Happy Birthday to yoooouuuuuuuu," the boys all yelled, "Ew! That's gross!!" and I looked up just in time to see her spinning back around to face me as she pulled her underwear back up. That's right, taking Marilyn Monroe's example one step further, she had mooned the boys' best friend at the end of the song. "Hmmm. I wonder where she learned that from," my mother said when I told her about it.

And they're concerned about us embarrassing them by asking for a little discount on some shin guards? When I'm an old lady, I'm going to wear my knee highs around my ankles and play bingo every Tuesday night and insist on going to dinner at 4:30, not because I don't know how to pull the knee highs up or because I like bingo or because I'm hungry at 4:30. I'm going to do all of those things to get back at my children for all these talking-about, showing, pulling-down, and sometimes simply-not-wearing underwear days.

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