Updated: Apr 12, 2019
Mortified. Absolutely mortified.
That was my reaction when I received the call from the principal at my kindergartener’s school.
“He’s done what?” I asked incredulously as I clutched the phone in my hand. Surely, I’d misunderstood what she’d just said.
There was no mistaking when she said it a second time: “Dylan mooned his class when the teacher stepped out of the room,” she explained, as plain as day, and continued: “He’s feeling pretty bad about it all. You’ll need to come and get him, and we can talk.”
“Oh, my God,” I exclaimed. “I am so sorry. That is terrible. I don’t know why he’d do something like that.”
I truly didn’t know why he’d do something like that. Sure, Dylan was a precocious and, let’s say, “spirited” child, but this was beyond any of his prior shenanigans. His prior mischief included but was not limited to: head-butting his little brother, Jared, when he was just weeks-old; climbing into Jared’s crib so often I had to put a lock on the outside of the door; turning off the TV and laughing -- repeatedly -- during TV time at daycare, right in the middle of the kids’ favorite programs. (I was worried would get kicked out of daycare.)
“Please come right away, and we’ll talk,” she repeated.
“We’ll be right there,” I said as I hung up the phone and stared at my husband who happened to be standing nearby when I answered the call. Ironically, we had just finished meeting with a priest from the Episcopal Church we were considering joining because I felt the need to get Dylan and Jared into religious education. I felt even more guilt now for not starting religious education sooner -- perhaps it would have prevented this "incident."
“I can’t believe this. This is so embarrassing.” I sputtered to Joe and explained what happened as we got into our van and headed to the school, which was just blocks away. “What a little shit. I am so mad at him!”
The receptionists tried to hide the smiles on their faces when we entered the school and announced that we were there to see the principal. Yep, they knew. Soon, everyone would know. Oh my God, I am so embarrassed, I thought to myself. I am a failure as a mother and the kid is only six years old!
We were quickly shown the way to the principal’s office and there he was. Dylan was curled into the chair that sat across from the principal’s desk with tears streaming down his face, though I thought I detected an ever-so-faint smile.
“Dylan, I am so disappointed in you!” I said emphatically, yet instinctively leaned down to hug him anyway.
The principal invited us to sit down in the other chairs, while she began explaining what had happened. “Mr. Latterall wasn’t in the room when it happened, there was a substitute. She stepped out into the hallway for just a second to chat with another teacher and when she returned, there was Dylan, pants down, mooning the class.”
As the words tumbled out of her mouth, I pictured Dylan’s cute little butt, front and center of a class full of five and six-year-olds. Oh, my God! This is horrible, I thought. He will never be invited to play with anyone again. People will think he’s a delinquent. This will be news over the dinner tables tonight. People will think I’m a terrible mother. This is a mess.
“I just don’t know why he would be something like that,” I said. “Dylan, you know better than that.”
What the principal said next was even worse. “Well, I’ve been asking him that myself, and he finally told me that it’s because he thought the cameras were on.”
WTF? What the hell is he talking about? What is he thinking? Oh, my God. What is she thinking? My mind raced. Does the principal think were into something weird?
“Do you know why he would say something like that?” she asked.
My face grimaced. “Well, my husband is a video producer but his work has nothing to do with the kids,” I said and again though, holy shit, I hope she doesn’t turn us in.
“I thought it would be funny, mom.” Dylan finally eked out. “I thought people could see it through the camera, and I’d be famous.”
“Oh, it’s not funny at all Dylan,” I said as I put my head into my hands and let you an audible sigh, yet a tiny part of me did think it was kind of funny or at least it may be, someday….
It is now someday, and it is funny. I can laugh. I can laugh because Dylan -- my little Dilly, my Dilly Bar, my Dill Pickle -- is now 22 and will soon graduate from college. Despite this and many more "adventures," he made it! We made it! He is a fun, funny, smart, and kind human being, and he managed to keep his pants on for the remainder of his school years. At least I think so…