“No. Pants.” mouthed my big-eyed assistant, pointing to the space behind my easel. His knees tucked into his shirt, my son waddled into my class of 15 four and five year olds.
“Lincoln, where are your pants?” Reasonable question, for a pre-k teacher who was leading carpet time when her own five year old walks in pantsless.
“Luke is wearing them.” He whispered and curled up at my feel. “Okay. Why is Luke wearing them?” A window into my rough-and-tumble son’s heart opened as he, and later his teacher, described why my child walked across our campus (our big, big, campus) with no pants on.
Swimming is part of our P.E. curriculum. The swimming part is great, but the getting 15 pre-kindergarteners into bathing suites before leaving the classroom and the showering/dressing them after swim class, is a consistent “herding cats” experience. Friday was a typical swim day. Swimming was a blast, children were giggling and splashing in the showers, and teachers were encouraging them to “finish up!” Showers off, the students wrestled their wet bodies into their school clothes, with the exception of one very sad red-headed boy. Luke sat on the bench, feet dangling, wrapped in a towel crying. His clothing bag failed to make it’s way from the classroom to the pool and the class was a good 10 minute walk away. “No big deal, you can walk back in your towel and we’ll dress there.” The tears escalated. This was clearly not an option. Pants in hand, Lincoln comforted his best buddy. “Here, wear my pants. I’ll walk back like this.” And so it was, Lincoln walked back in Batman briefs, while Luke dried his tears and returned to class in Lincoln’s pants.
I’m pretty sure that the reality of walking through school without pants–a childhood nightmare that my son experienced by choice–hit him when he saw the look on my face. I quickly shifted my wide eyes and massive grin to nods of approval and words of affirmation. My heart was full. Would I have given my pants to my friend? I’d like to think that I would, but I’m not so sure.
What would you have done?