A Teacher’s Nightmare Show-And-Tell
By: Shannon Ralph
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about things I hate. I know the current trend amongst fully actualized adults is to focus on things you love—those things for which you are most grateful—but frankly, I don’t have it in me today. I’ve spent the entire day laying on the couch, nursing a sore throat, and playing Trivia Crack while my 8-year-old twins watch episode after mind-numbing episode of Phineas and Ferb. My mental state right now is not exactly conducive to actualization.
So what do I hate, you may ask?
I hate slow internet connections. I hate mushrooms. And olives. I hate talking on the phone. I hate those little circles of paper that fall out of hole punchers and litter the floor. I hate people who post vague status updates on Facebook. I hate overtime. I hate laundry. And I hate sharing.
Let me clarify. I don’t hate sharing as a general concept (unless we’re talking about Oreos, of course). I hate Sharing Day—also known as show-and-tell. My twins’ weekly third grade show-and-tell days are the bane of my existence.
The key to show-and-tell is to bring something that is significant to your child, but not so valuable you would really care if it got lost, torn to pieces, and/or vomited on. The obvious choice would be a stuffed animal or a cheap souvenir from a family vacation. But those are SO LAME, MOM. My kids want to wow their intended audience. They want to share something that is so monumental that their classmates will be talking about it for years to come. Something so well-planned and perfectly executed that it will seem like we worked for weeks on each and every show-and-tell item.
But the truth of the matter is that my kids never remember show-and-tell day until they are standing in the bathroom that morning, toothpaste foam dribbling down their collective chins. Then, and only then, do they realize what day it is. And all hell breaks loose as we scramble to find something—anything—in this house that a.) has not been shared previously by either child, b.) is not stooooo-pid, and c.) will not label them as freaks for the rest of their school career.
Just once, I would love to send something completely honest. Something true. An item that allows their little friends a peek into our real lives. Just once, I would love to send my kids to school with a deliciously inappropriate item for show-and-tell. Something like:
- The toilet plunger that has been with us through two states, three cities, three apartments, and two houses
- Mommy’s happy pills
- Any photo of me from the 1990s
- A set of steak knives
- The model dinosaur skeleton we naively bought our son for his birthday one year that took five days to assemble, is held together by the mere force of gravity, and falls into a thousand pieces every time the dog barks
- The photos of their birth—particularly the terrifyingly graphic one of Sophie being held upside down above mommy’s disemboweled belly
- Any one of the four cartons of ice cream currently crowding our freezer
- My circa 1993 Liz Phair Exile in Guyville CD
- A dead frog (our yard is littered with them in the Spring)
- Mommy’s “neck massager”
- Frozen dog poop (that must be chiseled from the Earth when we finally get around to cleaning our back yard)
- A lint roller full of dog hair
- Their older brother’s permanent tooth that was so full of decay it had to be pulled rather than filled and is now kept in a sacred place of honor on his nightstand
- Nicholas’ beer bottle cap collection
- Mommy’s tax returns
- The abundance of dryer lint we cultivate as a result of the massive amount of laundry we do each week
- Any one of the 3,698 hand-held electronic charging cords we have littering our house
- Our plastic bag of miscellaneous and sundry “lost” board game/puzzle pieces
- The hand-made paper leprechaun that has hung on the side of our television stand for two years because no one in our house possesses the gumption or forward-thinking to take it down
Photo Credit: Frankjuarez