“Don’t Do That At School, Okay?”


I find myself saying this more and more lately. I can’t help but think that this reflects badly on me. Or us, at least.

Luckily, I don’t give a crap. Much.

It really is becoming a catchphrase. Along with, “Don’t jump off that!” and “Squeak is not a toy, she’s a baby!” During my frequent and riveting daydreams, I sometimes fantasise about making a recording of these sentences, that I can replay as required. There’s no harm in wanting to do a bit of breath-saving, right?

I have been lucky with my children, because they are mainly ‘indoor trouble-causers.’ That is, they tend to save all of their misbehaviour and rabble-rousing for while we are at home. Normally when we are out and about, they put on their cute faces and proceed to melt the hearts of anybody they come across.

At home, it is a whole other story.

Despite the fact that they usually behave outdoors, there are a few transgressions. For example, Little Girl’s meltdown in the smallest shop in town yesterday. She flopped to the floor, yelling as loudly as she could. Not awesome. But it worked out ok in the end. Because I was there.

At school, on the other hand, they are free to shame and embarrass me as they see fit. Yes, the teachers will correct their behaviour and discipline them. But by then, it’s already happened.


So when certain things happen at home, I feel the need to say, “Don’t do that at school, okay?” Just in case. There are only so many excruciatingly embarrassing conversations that I want to have with their teachers.

One example is from Insult Tennis. After I had giggled my head off at being called a ‘boring vagina,’ I said it. Can you imagine how the teacher would react if Big Girl said that at school? I can. Oh yes, I can.

And when she called Mark a ‘boring penis’ later on that evening, I first paused to admire her use of context. Then, I said it again.

Little Girl has only been at school for one term. At her parents’ meeting, they said she had settled in well, and seemed to be enjoying herself. Of course I was proud, but I also couldn’t help but think, which bits aren’t they telling me?

I’m not saying she’s not a fab kid. She is, and overall she’s pretty well-behaved. But she is also three years old. Show me a three year old who’s skilled in social graces.

Mine most certainly isn’t.

The first thing I have tried to remind her not to do at school is nose-picking. Little Girl is a champion nose-picker. Or at least, she spends most of her time bloody doing it!

For about four months I have been trying to get her to stop. I am failing. Miserably. I can’t say I’m particularly angsting over it, though. In a list of bad habits that kids have, I’d say nose-picking probably comes out at #1.

But it’s so gross! So I am working on it. But I can imagine that at school she enjoys unfettered nasal access. Ugh. This is why, as I kiss her goodbye, I say, “Don’t pick your nose at school, okay?”

It’s worth a try.

That’s nothing compared to the other things I’m hoping she doesn’t do at school. I’m lucky that she’s not really a hitter, or a biter, or a pusher. Most of the time, anyway.

What Little Girl is, is an ‘undresser.’

Who, me?

Who, me?

When she had her introductory session at preschool, I was asked if she is able to go to the toilet independently. I said yes, because she is. But… (there’s always a but!)

She does have a penchant for stripping off afterwards. Pulling up knickers, tights and a skirt is a fairly arduous task, and it’s not one that she has any time for. So after using the toilet, she just tends to discard the bottom half of her clothes. Then she runs back downstairs, literally butt naked, to carry on playing.

This is fine at home. I mean, she might get a little cold because I am stingy with the heating, but other than that, no problem! I cannot say the same for school. I doubt they would be all that impressed with a half-naked child.

When she does it at home, I either leave her or help her to get dressed again if we’re due to go out soon. And as I do that, I say, “Don’t take your clothes off at school, okay?”

Little Girl excelled herself with this last one, which she did just the other day at home. I have no idea where she got the idea from.

She was dancing, I think. Little Girl loves to dance. She bounces around, grinning her head off. It is very sweet. Round and round the playroom she went, somehow avoiding a foot injury from the many small toys strewn across the floor.

Squeak was sitting amongst said toys. I’d like to say she was playing with them, but what she was actually doing was probably searching for something small enough to wedge into her cheek. She does that.

Suddenly, Little Girl stopped dancing. She walked over to Squeak with a mischievous smile on her face. Then she pulled her pants down, and wiggled her naked butt right in Squeak’s face.

Squeak was unimpressed.


Please, please, let her not repeat that one at school.

That’s all for now. Don’t even ask me about their habit of Gangnam Styling over Squeak every time she falls over.

I know they’re not perfect. I expect mistakes as they learn about social interaction. But for God’s sake, “Don’t do that at school, okay???”

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