Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.
You should never be asking yourself this question while standing in your toddler’s preschool, but that is exactly what I asked myself today. You see, I was the victim of a toddler-induced wardrobe malfunction, and no, we did not rehearse this before hand with tearaway garments that had been cleverly stitched. Sweetpea prefers to be in the moment, improv style.
I had taken Sweetpea for a doctor’s appointment and was dropping her back at the Jewish preschool. We’re not Jewish, but it’s an amazing school, and Sweetpea loves it there. Since I had business meetings in the afternoon, I had worn a new peach-and-black dress and wedge heels. I thought the color toned down the winter-whiteness of my calves. (This is notably not a picture of me. I’m not that statuesque).
So you can’t just drop your toddler off at preschool, no no no. You need to stay for a few minutes to chat, unless the kids are screaming, then you’ve got the green light to hightail it out of there. So I’m chatting with the teachers, telling them about Sweetpea’s progress and bragging about my child in general, as it my motherly right. Sweetpea, however, is hanging on my leg with all the grace of a clawless tiger cub and trying to get my attention. Plowing through the obligatory conversation so I can get to my previously mentioned meeting, I squeeze her hand and ask her to be patient.
I’m wrapping up my explanation of how I’m sure Sweetpea will have a perfect SAT score when three workmen walk past us wearing huge grins. I mean that these were like cat who ate the cream, the mouse, and the canary all in one sitting grins. As they stroll past, one of them flashes me a wink. That is when I realize I’m feeling a draft…
“Sweet Jesus,” I shouted, snatching my skirt out of Sweetpea’s hand and yanking it down to cover my underwear, which apparently had been display for everyone in the hallway. Crap, what color was my underwear?
That’s when I also realize that my mouth has gotten me in trouble again. Mentioning Jesus, no matter the context, in a Jewish daycare feels awkward, and swearing in front of your daughter’s teachers feels doubly awkward. Pasting on all the bravado I can muster, I apologize for my outburst and shuffle Sweetpea off to mash Legos into Play-doh.
As I was leaving I saw the trio of workmen again, heading back towards me. I beat a hasty retreat to my car, praying that no one tried to give me their phone number.
So, what color underwear was I wearing? Was it the pink pair with hearts and ruffles, or the red pair with polka-dots and a bow? Or maybe it was the exotic animal print pair? Well, I’m not gonna tell, and if you ask Sweetpea, she’s highly unreliable with her colors. If she says they were blue, she’s lying!