states of undress

Sometimes the parents connive to see us in states of undress. “Can you imagine that Drew wanted a bikini-themed pool party for his third birthday?” a mom asked us, eyes wide as saucers and completely guileless. The dad – her husband – was standing behind her, giggling. It was his habit to giggle, more or less constantly, whenever he was inside the school. In the colder months he’d turn his head into his coat and giggle inside his London Fog.

I took Drew aside after they’d left. “Do you know what a bikini is?” I asked him gently, on my knees and his level. He cocked his head to one side, considered, and nodded. “It goes ka-kaww!” he shrieked. (If you’re wondering, no, he was not a weird child. He was an exceptional student and a mediocre artist. For his fourth birthday party he insisted on a cowboy party. His father wore a ten gallon hat, stood next to the ponies for the duration, and giggled into a fringed vest.)