It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Game, Set, and …Missed

Thomas doesn’t want to wear his hat. No, scratch that: Thomas wants to wear his hat – he doesn’t want to wear the hat I provide him. He’s brought a baseball cap from home, but I want him to wear his daycare hat. I have a set of half a dozen identical hats that we always wear on outings. In part this is because they provides better sun coverage than ball caps, but primarily because my set of very bright (one might even say garish) hats makes the head count so much easier. Given that when we’re in public I do a head count roughly every 14 seconds, this saves me a lot of time and mental effort.

But Thomas wants to wear his baseball cap. Hereafter follows the discussion that took place as we strolled down the street. He is already wearing the despised hat. Not once does he get whiney or petulant. It’s all in tones of great earnestness. It’s very important that I understand.

“This hat,” he says of the blue-green item adorned with red, yellow, and purple fish, “is not mine.”
“No, it’s mine, but you wear it at my house.”
“Mommy says I can wear my hat.” Oooo…trying the Higher Authority card. Mommies would be astonished the things they approve or veto. I’ve heard this one too often not to have a good answer.
“At your house, mommy is the boss” – sorry, dad – “But at my house, I am the boss. You know that, my dear. Mommy has told you that, too.”
“This hat is not good to play baseball.”
“Well, no, but we’re not going to play baseball. That ball in your hand? It’s a basketball.”
“This hat is not good to play basketball.”
“Why not?” He has no quick answer for this, so he shoots off the one that’s clearly intended to be the final and inarguable defence of his position:
“This hat is not good for my allergies!” He looks at me in triumph and expectation. Allergies! No one argues with Allergies, and he knows it.

I burst into laughter. Thomas grins sheepishly. He’s shot his last arrow and missed the target, and he knows it.

“Allergies? Your allergies?? Thomas, you monkey, you don’t have any allergies.”

June 2, 2005 Posted by | individuality, power struggle, the things they say! | 3 Comments


A lovely stroll along the path by the river today to my favourite park (which the children have christened “Mary’s Park”, much to my delight). On the way, we pass a wooden fence, painted in broad black and white stripes. We’ve always passed it, but today Thomas notices for the first time, and asks why it’s there. I explain that because the road ends at the river, the fence is to warn drivers that they can’t go any further straight ahead. Trying to let him discover the safety concern for himself, I ask,

“What would happen if a car didn’t turn, Thomas? Where would it end up if it went straight through?”

He doesn’t miss a beat:


June 2, 2005 Posted by | the things they say! | Leave a comment