My youngest sibling was in kindergarten the year I started college. When I came home from Middlebury College for Christmas my freshman year, this brother had a favor he wanted.
“Would you come to Show and Tell with me?” he asked.
“Okay,” I responded, somewhat surprised—why did I need to go with him to Show and Tell? “What are you taking for Show and Tell?”
“You!” he said. Maybe it was unusual for a kindergartener to have a sibling in college, but I didn’t think I was that much of an oddity.
I wasn’t sure what five- and six-year-olds would want to know about college, but I agreed. I could handle them, I thought—I’m a college student.
On the appointed day, I went to kindergarten. I had prepared a few remarks about living in a dorm and going to classes in buildings all over campus and studying really hard. Topics suitable for children still going to G-rated movies. And after a semester of Political Science with a professor who used the Socratic method of instruction, I figured I could field any questions a little kid could throw at me.
When I arrived at my brother’s classroom, I found I was not the only entertainment for their Show and Tell. Some child had brought a new toy, and the little girl who lived across the street from us had brought her Golden Retriever, Macdougall, on a leash manned by her father.
The kids all milled around the dog. “Ooh! He’s so soft!” they said of his fur. He wagged his tail and licked everyone. It was instant love on all sides.
When Show and Tell began, Macdougall went first. More tail wags and dog slobber. More oohs and aahs.
Then the toy.
Finally, my brother introduced me, and I gave my little spiel about college, while the kids looked bored or ogled the dog. “Does anyone have any questions?” I asked when I finished.
One little boy raised his hand.
“Yes?” I said.
“Can we pet the dog some more?” he asked.
So I yielded the floor to Macdougall and his owner for another round of adoration.
When have you been upstaged? How did you handle it?