I think I had my all-time most embarrassing moment as a mother the other day at my daughter’s preschool. School resumed this past Tuesday (thank God), and apparently during circle time, the kids were talking about their vacations, and the holidays, and about what they received for Hanukkah. I know this not because my daughter told me – a typical conversation about school with her goes something like this:
Me: Hi, sweetie, how was school today?
Her: It was fine. Do you have any snacks in the car?
Me: No. So what did you do today?
Anyway, as I was saying, I know this because her teacher, a lovely, childless, man about the same age as I am, with whom I have a very nice rapport, approached me after school and pulled me aside to “ask me a question.” It seems that, during said circle time, my daughter informed everyone, including all of her teachers, the teachers from the class next door, and the school rabbi, that she received an iPod for Hanukkah. “So, did you really buy her an iPod?” he asked, as the two other, less brave teachers eavesdropped in the background, eager to hear my explanation for this obnoxious, only-in-LA kind of parental indulgence.
Okay, hello, no, I did not buy my four year-old an iPod. And why do people believe what four year-olds say, anyway? The lovely, childless male teacher smiled, relieved that he could still like me as a parent, and said something along the lines of, “yeah, you didn’t really strike me as that kind of mom,” which I think is a compliment, although I’m not one hundred percent sure.
Now, the reason my daughter informed everyone that I got her an iPod for Hanukkah is because, if I do say so myself, I have done an excellent job of shielding her from the concept of brand names. Personally, I think it’s kind of obnoxious when little kids know what kinds of cars their parents drive, or when they know the label of the clothing they’re wearing, or when they know that two interlocking Gs stands for Gucci. Nothing would mortify me more than having my daughter scream out to someone that her mommy’s purse is a Prada. And so I’ve been really careful about it. Except for the iPod, which I call an iPod in front of my kids, and which I never thought would become a problem for me. Which of course, it now is.
What I really got her for Hanukkah is that new, Fisher Price FP3 player thing, which, though not cheap as far as toys go, is really cool and at the very least, age appropriate. But because I have an iPod, which I call an iPod, my daughter now thinks that all music-playing devices that come equipped with headphones are called iPods, kind of like how some people call all tissues Kleenex, or call all petroleum jellies Vaseline. When I tried to explain to her, in front of lovely male teacher, that what she got was not, in fact, an actual iPod, but was, technically, an MP3 player, she threw a massive fit and insisted that what she had was an iPod, and refused to relent until I agreed that okay, yes, she got an iPod. And of course, now that she knows that it’s an issue, and that it upsets me, she’s been telling everyone we meet that she got an iPod for Hanukkah, leaving me to turn red and stutter an explanation to every grocery store checkout person, random mom at the park and well-meaning grandmother type who stops in the street to say hello to my cute little kid who, it turns out, is really a spoiled brat with an iPod. Fabulous.