This morning, there was an email from Sabrina's teacher. Now, this is not an uncommon occurrence, seeing as I'm the room mom and the chief parent correspondent. The subject said "Recess," so I figured she needed someone to cover playground duty on the fly, and I'm usually able to do that, so no big deal, right?
"At recess today, Sabrina lifted her shirt and showed her boobies to some of the other kids on the playground."
Excuse me while I melt into a puddle of embarrassment goo.
Come on. How can this be? How many times have we discussed that certain areas on you body are private, and only a parent or doctor should look at them? So many times I've lost count. She knows this. And yet, here she is, creating her own personal Mardi Gras West.
My mind went through dozens of scenarios at lightning speed. Start with a little fear of God? Throw down a little shock and awe? Be sweet and friendly and then hit her with Mom Knows All? Or worse, send her straight to Grandma? There were so many approaches, but I had to pick just the right one. I decided to hang back and see how much she'd give away.
I picked her up from school, and she seemed her usual self, full of leftover energy but tired from a long school day, alternating between being sweet and downright ornery. Yes, typical. She gave away nothing. This continued after we got home and went through the ritual of cleaning out the backpacks and getting everything ready for the next day. Still nothing. So I stared at the bull and took hold of its horns.
Sabrina followed me into the bedroom and I closed the door so curious big brother wouldn't disturb us. I asked her how recess was today. At first, she said, "Nothing, " but when I looked her in the eye, I think she knew the jig was up and said, "You saw the email?" And promptly burst into tears.
Embarrassment? Guilt? Remorse? I figured any of these were a good enough place to start.
Once I got her to calm down enough to form partial phrases I could somewhat interpret as English, I told her to tell me her side of the story. It took a few spits and spurts, but she told her tale."
"Jack and Penny were showing their boo boos and I wanted to show them mine, too!"
And that's when I remembered she had a scratch on her chest, right across the breastbone, probably from roughhousing with her brother and father.
And here I had visions of my darling daughter ending up in a Girls Gone Wild video, when she was really just swapping war stories with her rag tag group of friends. And somebody mistook boo BOOs for booBIEs. So many innocent mistakes wrapped up into a horror show of misunderstanding.
That's a heart attack I can't give back.
I hugged her, reminded her to keep her swimsuit-covered parts to herself from now on, and gave her a special snack to change the mood in the room. A little later, I will crack open the bottle of wine I went and bought immediately after receiving the original missive. And toast to booboobies.