Don’t Look, Ethel!!

You may have heard the Ray Stevens song The Streak. If you haven’t, you should go listen to it. It’s a great song – a typical Ray Stevens song. Anyway, in my family, once in a while someone will use the line from that song – “Don’t look, Ethel!” – kind of as a way of announcing to the world that you really don’t want to see what’s happening.

A while ago I was babysitting some of my siblings. It was a rainy day, and they had all been playing outside. I called them in to get changed and help with supper. Naomi and Anna soon had on dry clothes, and I sent Na to get some things from the garden, and had Anna start setting the table.

Seems David had a little trouble getting changed. He managed to get everything but his shirt off. You know how a wet tee shirt can stick and be a pain to take off. Well, imagine a four-year old trying to get it off.

So he comes wandering downstairs with his wet shirt on – and only his wet shirt on – and asks me to help him get it off.

I’m right in the middle of cooking supper, so I just told him to lift up his arms, grabbed the shirt, and yanked it over his head. I handed him the shirt and he – uh – “streaked” back towards the stairs.

Sometimes, you just can’t resist an opportunity like that.

In a voice that sent Anna into spasms of laughter, I bellowed –

“DON’T LOOK, ETHEL!!”

Maybe all little kids have almost no sense of modesty. I do know it took a while for David to understand some things about what is and isn’t acceptable, and during that time another little incident occurred.

After he had been potty trained, David came to understand that boys don’t always have to go into the house and use the bathroom when they have to go. If they like, they can go behind a tree. David took full advantage of this guy’s privilege. The only problem with this is that he didn’t quite understand what the behind the tree part of it was all about. We have a tree in the corner of our front yard, which seemed to become David’s favorite. The trouble is that it is totally visible from any side – either from the house, or the driveway, or the garden, or the front yard, and depending on where David was coming from when he went running to that tree, “behind” it could be any side of the tree.

One hot summer evening, I was sitting on a bench in the front yard when David came running for the tree from over near the garden. Well, coming from the garden, “behind” the tree happened to be the side facing me.

So he’s standing there doing his thing, and I’m just trying not to start laughing.

“Hey, David,” I called over to him – “I see the moon.”

Mom heard me and she started laughing, as David immediately started running over to me, pulling up his pants as he ran.

“Where?” he asked excitedly, “Where is it?”

“You just covered it up,” I told him.

“Which moon?” mom called from where she was, over by the garden, and David repeated her question “Which moon?” he asked.

“Yours.”

“My moon? Where is my moon?”

With six younger siblings, questions like this do pop up once in a while, and I have long ago learned the best way to handle them.

“Ask your mother,” I told him.

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