A boy shocked his embarrassed mother by flashing her a V-sign because he thought it would stop her looking at him during a primary school nativity play.
Nikki Tarney, 39, said her son Frankie, then aged six, was desperate to get off stage while playing one of the three wise men.
The schoolboy made the gesture to the audience unaware of its meaning while feeling ‘under pressure’ at being in the limelight.
Ms Tarney inadvertently caught the moment on camera and in between bouts of silent giggling as his father Steven, mouthed at him to put his hand down.
The mother-of-two said some parents were left stunned at his antics but that none of the teachers at the Catholic school noticed.
She shared the image from Frankie’s 2019 nativity play after it popped up as a ‘memory’ on her Facebook page.
Frankie, now aged eight and then six, made the gesture (pictured above) to the audience unaware of its meaning while feeling ‘under pressure’ at being in the limelight
Nikki Tarney (pictured with Frankie), 39, who inadvertently caught the moment on camera, said her son was desperate to get off stage while playing one of the three wise men
Since being shared online, the picture of Frankie, now eight, has accumulated more than 11,000 likes, shares and comments.
Ms Tarney, from Littleborough, Greater Manchester, said: ‘He’s not a very social little boy, he likes his own company.
‘He didn’t like being one of the main stars, he’s used to being a sheep or a donkey.
‘Just after a song finished all his nerves got to him – he thought people were looking at him – I had my camera out and I just happened to catch him.
‘I looked at him and was thinking “what’s he just done?”. It wasn’t a quick V it was a very long drawn out V like “don’t look at me”. He stayed there for quite a while.
‘I quickly scanned the room to see who was looking and mouthed “no that’s naughty, put your hand down”.’
The nurse added: ‘I was mortified, you obviously don’t want your kid swearing in front of everyone. It’s a Catholic school and they’re quite strict.
‘We clocked a few faces looking at me open-mouthed as if to say ‘has your kid just done that?’ some people didn’t notice as they were too busy looking at their own kids.
Ms Tarney, from Littleborough, Greater Manchester, pointed the finger of blame on daughter Sophia (both pictured with Frankie), then 10, for teaching him the gesture
‘I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the play, I was thinking ‘please finish, hurry up and get him off that stage so I can tell him off’. It felt like forever.
‘I think it was just all the pressure and being embarrassed and that was the first thing that came into his head. I’m just glad he didn’t pull his pants down.’
Ms Tarney who lives with remarketing executive partner Graham Sunderland, 48, and 12-year-old daughter Sophia, said she knew it wasn’t an accidental peace sign, but a deliberate two-fingered salute.
She pointed the finger of blame on Sophia, then 10, for teaching him the gesture.
Ms Tarney said: ‘I remember thinking “let the ground swallow me up”. A couple of mums started giggling as they could see me and his dad Steve shaking and wobbling up and down.
The nurse (pictured above) said: ‘I was mortified, you obviously don’t want your kid swearing in front of everyone. It’s a Catholic school and they’re quite strict’
‘I didn’t want Frankie to see us – it would have caused a ruckus if we kept looking at each other. I did mention it to one of the teachers and she said she didn’t see anything.’
Frankie now knows that the gesture isn’t one to share at school and had a giggle about it when his mother showed him the photo.
Ms Tarney said: ‘I showed it to Frankie on Tuesday and he was laughing as now he knows how naughty it is.’
She shared the picture online with the caption: ‘Don’t they just make you proud.’
Social media users found the snap hilarious, reminiscing about when their children had gotten up to similar antics.
One wrote: ‘A wise man indeed’, while another commented: ‘This is comedy gold classic, what a photo.’
A third added: ‘This has made my morning!’, and a fourth said: ‘You need to keep that photo for when he’s 18.’