Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Smelly Kid

Yesterday I'm watching a lovely dance recital performed by children at my daughters' school. O, my 2nd grader, sits on my lap and a friend of hers, another 2nd grader, sits in the seat next to me.

I comment that one of the children on the stage looks just like a child in their class. A boy in their class named C.

Friend: Ew. I hate C.

O: Me too.

Me: Why? (I'm thinking they are going to say that he threatens to kiss them behind the jungle gym at school or something.)

Friend: Because he smells.

O: His teeth are rotten.

Friend: He never brushes his teeth and his breath smells.

O: Yeah, his teeth are all yellow. You can tell he never brushes his teeth.

Me: (in perfect textbook fashion) That's not nice. Be nice. And be quiet. We're supposed to be watching.

Oh my stars! What to do with this information? I would be mortified beyond belief if my child were being called The Smelly Kid. Not that she ever would be, of course, because she's always perfectly well-groomed for school. Perfectly. Ahem.

Do you remember The Smelly Kid at school? Do you remember how the kids would all call him Pig Pen? Do you remember thinking, "Why doesn't his mother bathe him?"

Oh, this poor child. Oh, his poor mother. The poor, smelly, kid.


Fairly Odd Mother said...

That is sad. I remember when my sister worked for a nonprofit, and she said that at the holidays (they ran an adopt-a-family program), she was told to always buy new toothbrushes and toothpaste for the families. So many kids either didn't have one, had a really old one, or didn't even know they needed to use it. So, when we adopted a family this year, I bought the kids adorable new, spinning brushes with matching toothpaste (and extra batteries). But, my heart goes out to that classmate.

Marie said...

There was a little girl in my kindergarten class that I was friends with, named Lori. But her mom always sent her off to school completely coated in cocoa butter, which I cannot stand the smell of. One morning I asked another girl to sit by me so Lori wouldn't, not explaining about the cocoa butter. When Lori came to try and scoot between us the other girl said, "go away. Marie doesn't like you because you're black."

I was so upset, I tried to explain the real reason, but how much better does that sound? She didn't hate me for it, but I lost a friend. :(

Jen M. said...

Oh! You are so right - the Poor Smelly Kid.

This is the ultimate conundrum...must ponder.

painted maypole said...

my mother made me be friends with that kid. she invited him to join us at the movies, etc. We picked him up from his trailer home. At the time, I was mortified, but now I am grateful. I think she knew more about his family than I did, knew they needed help and friendship, although now she seems to not remember this at all. But I still carry that lesson with me.

I Ate The Sandbox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny from Chicago said...

Great post. I think all of us who read it were instantly sorry for that little person. I think we all knew the smelly kid who through no fault of his own became a pariah.