Show and Tell Show Off
Ever Monday at Boy1′s nursery they do Show and Tell. The idea is that each child chooses something to bring in and tell their small group about, perhaps something to show what they’ve been doing over the weekend. I’ve been treating this as an opportunity to prove to the nursery staff what a totally awesome parent I am. I like t let the boy think that he’s choosing something himself, when in fact I’m skilfully planting suggestions for him to follow.
One week I got him to take the map of our local branch of the National Railway Museum: look, I take my child on educational days out, and I’m encouraging his spatial awareness and analytical skills! Another I suggested he take his luminous orange arm-bands: look, I do healthy, wholesome activities with my kids, and let them express their individuality by bringing something a bit quirky to Show and Tell.
I’m not sure if other parents treat it as a challenge in quite the same way. It’s not like I really see what everyone else has brought – the only people who’ll see it are a group of three year-olds and their teacher. But I like to seize the opportunity to ‘do things right’ and impress the teacher – perhaps a throwback to my own school days.
Of course, given that we’re often in a little bit of a rush on a Monday morning, and that it’s the day I also have to remember his library book and a pound coin for the craft fund, I don’t always convince him to bring something perfect. A couple of weeks ago, we were already out of the front door before I remembered, so I left him standing in our front yard while I rushed back into the house to grab the first suitable thing that came to hand. I managed to find a craft project that we’d made a few weeks ago – never mind, they’d believe that we made it this weekend. But to my shame, it wasn’t authentic, homemade craft – it was a pre-designed kit from Cbeebies Craft magazine. That surely says something about the expectations we mothers place on ourselves, when I feel inadequate for having spent time making something with my child because the pieces came pre-punched into the right shapes and sizes.
This week, I don’t know what came over me. Perhaps it was something to do with the fact that Boy2 hasn’t yet learned the concept of Greenwich Mean Time vs British Summer Time and has been waking before 5.00 am every day. Perhaps it was because I was too busy trying to locate three hats, three scarves and three pairs of gloves, and get them all on before the allotted nursery departure time (it turns out Boy2 doesn’t own a scarf and doesn’t like to wear a hat – luckily his coat zips up tightly and has a well-fitting hood). Either way, I made the unprecedented decision to give Boy1 free reign over the choice of Show and Tell item. What did he choose, to help maintain the illusion that I’m an utterly excellent parent? A creative masterpiece, a home-grown vegetable, a souvenir from a museum? Nope: he chose his Monsters Inc DVD.