It’s the Principal of the Thing…

13 Jun

Recently I was called into the principal’s office at my son’s school.  He requested that I come in for a meeting to discuss an “incident” involving my son. It seemed he got into a tussle with another second grade boy over a seat on the school bus.  The boys didn’t come to blows, but there was some “potty talk” involved.  It’s difficult for an adult to figure out exactly how this next comment might have been worked into the altercation, but at some point during the exchange of boyish barbs, my son said: “Show me your butt.”  

When I was in second grade in 1975 it was the era of  “Free Love” and “Streaking.”  Patti LaBelle was on the radio “Voulez-vousing and Cuchez- avec moi-ing” and when KC and the Sunshine Band were all “That’s the way Uh-uh uh-huh, I like it, Uh-uh…” they weren’t exactly singing about a clean kitchen if you know what I mean… Anyway, I just can’t imagine that back when I was in second grade such a comment would have raised an eyebrow… let alone merited an appointment with the principal.  But this is 2008, and in 2008 if your seven year-old boy tells another seven year old boy “Show me your butt.”  There is an “investigation” into “allegations” of a “charge” of

–(wait for it)– 

“Sexual Harassment.”

Then the principal began to question me about my child’s background.  “Mrs. Tully, I want to ask you: “Does your son use this kind of language at home?” 

I didn’t answer right away.  I was sure he could hear my heart thumping in my chest.  My mind was reeling.  Had he read me my Miranda Rights?  Could I defer my answer until I sought the advice of counsel?  I considered my options and the likelihood that a truthful answer would be entirely incriminating…  Is it possible that CPS could swoop in and remove my son from our home for committing the heinous crime of… of…potty talk?

 …Just then the ridiculousness of the situation hit me.  I started to get mad.  Just what was he accusing my son of?  Was this guy for real?  My protective mothering instincts kicked in.  Now my blood was boiling.  I fixed him in my gaze and bared my teeth at him.  I channeled my inner Norma Rae and defiantly banged my fist on his melamine desk with the fake wood veneer… Indignantly I repeated his question, hoping the absurdity of it would smack him right between his beady little eyes:  Does my son… use this kind of language… at hoooooome? 

 Well, DUH?!?!?!?!?!?

 “Listen Mr. Principal…  I am the mother of THREE BOYS—They ALL use that kind of language at home.  Constantly!  Incessantly!  Dude… seriously…. did you never have a brother???”

I shudder to think about any boy’s language or behavior being judged by such an unrealistically high standard.  If this is the standard to be applied, then every carpool I drive, every birthday party I host, every Boy Scout den meeting I attend is populated with deviants… 

Those 5 year old T-ball team mates who show up at their first game all dressed up in their little uniforms for the first time—running around the baseball field cackling while they knock on each others’ little cups?  Perverts.

The group of boys having so much fun playing basketball on the driveway that they don’t bother to run into the house and use a proper toilet.  They’d rather just drop trou in the front yard and respond to the call of nature on a palm tree?  Flashers. 

And don’t even get me started about nightly bath time…  what with all the weeny pulling and fart jokes and towel- snapping —let alone the favorite game of “Let’s see how many brothers can pee into the toilet at the same time???”  That’s all in the name of ‘good clean family fun’ at my house! 

I shudder to think of the language that even I myself use on a near daily basis–  Things I never dreamt I’d hear coming out of my mouth ONCE –let alone—REPEATED — time and time again!

I’ve told you 1,000 times before:  ‘We NEVER point a gun at someone’s face.’”



Or my all time favorite:  “How many times do I have to tell you to ‘STOP THROWING DOG POOP AT YOUR BROTHER!!!???’”

Sometimes I feel like I am the only female character in a 2008 sequel to “Animal House.” I have many times reflected on that theory that says that if you were a bad kid then in some sort of “Cosmic Payback” you end up with bad kids to parent.  Well I want to share with you now that I am the youngest of four children.  I grew up with three older brothers.  Not only that– but we were all raised by my dad. 

Let me tell you, as the only girl in a houseful of boys—I was an ANGEL.  This karmic equation of “what goes around comes around” can’t possibly apply to me!  After growing up as the only female resident of the fraternity house, shouldn’t I have been set for a future of pink and pigtails and Barbies….and …quiet?  How did I then end up with sooooo many sons???  Finally I’ve come to understand that I’m not being punished for a naughty childhood.  Rather, during my childhood spent surrounded by boys, and burps and black eyes…and boogers… I was being groomed. 

And if somehow you can’t relate because your son happens to be a perfect little poindexter with his spotless sweater vest and perfectly parted hair? Well, candidly, I have to say that based on what I know about boys… I worry about him.  His destiny is sealed. His fate is writ in stone… He’s gonna grow up to be somebody’s Principal someday.   




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