It’s Not All Mary Poppins


From the archives. Six years ago.

Perky Girl has arrived, and has trotted merrily off into the living room to play. I am at the back door greeting parents and later arrivals, but I can still hear her. This is a good thing, because a all parents know that a silent 19 month old is all too often a child who is endangering something – herself, her friends, the pets, the furnishings.

It’s not quiet out there, but what we can hear is in no way reassuring. Sudden and horrific choking sounds: “Gak! Hork! Whoop!” assault our ears. Perky Girl is quite clearly choking to death out there. Ohmigod, How long do I have? I’m halfway across the room in one giant, adrenaline-fuelled bound, two terrified parents in my wake, when Perky Girl rounds the corner of the kitchen. Her face is a healthy pink. She beams sunnily up at three frozen adult faces. Not even a tinge of blue, nor even of green. What gives?

“Hey there, Perky Girl. What on earth were you doing out there?” I aim for calm and cheerful, but I can hear the quiver in my voice. She doesn’t notice. She has something to show me, and how convenient I should ask! In her pudgy fist she holds a yellow plastic drumstick, which, I assumed had been used for such benign pursuits as, oh, beating on a drum, or maybe the walls or furniture. Dragging it across the poor long-suffering guinea pig’s cage is also a favourite activity, but that wasn’t what I’d been hearing.

None of the above, not this time. She takes the drum stick, and shoves it down her throat, surely giving her tonsils a solid wallop in the process. “Gak, hork!”, she wretches, gags, and heaves. She pulls the drum stick out of her throat, and gives me a repeat of the big, beaming smile. She radiates excitment and satisfaction. Her thoughts are crystal clear: “Way cool!! Great party trick, huh, Mary???”

Gak, indeed.

August 22, 2005 - Posted by | eeewww, random and odd


  1. And later during naps, the drumstick found its new home in the garbage, courtesy of Mary P.

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | August 22, 2005 | Reply

  2. Indeed it did! How DID you know???

    Comment by Mary P. | August 22, 2005 | Reply

  3. And Perky Girl is paving her way to bulemia as we speak…

    Comment by SO not Martha | August 22, 2005 | Reply

  4. Oh my.

    That’s all. Just oh my.

    Comment by Susan | August 22, 2005 | Reply

  5. SoNotMartha: You know, I also contemplated her possible future, and my mind went on the path less travelled, too, but not down the bulemia fork. I don’t think I can tell you where it did go and stay “G” rated. Bad Mary.

    Susan: Indeed. Gagging as a form of entertainment. Oh, my.

    Comment by Mary P. | August 22, 2005 | Reply

  6. “Perky and the Tonsil Bashers” Are they an Indy group now?

    Comment by Si | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  7. Like GAG me with a drumstick!! One of my kids went through that phase – stick your fingers down your throat and gag yourself til you puke. What is THAT all about?

    Comment by Heather | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  8. Si: when last I knew her, she had all the tunefulness of a frog in heat, but, oh never mind – that certainly wouldn’t prevent her from reaching stardom now, would it?

    Heather: “Went through that phase”. The things we parents learn to accept, huh? God only knows what it was all about. It’s not one you’ll ever see in the child development books, that’s for sure. Nor one I’d seen before (or since, thank goodness). Perky only made the noises – she never actually produced anything. (More thank goodness.)

    Comment by Mary P. | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  9. Hmm, embarrassing memory rears it’s ugly head.

    when I was young, maybe 5 or 6 I heard about belemia, and decided that being able to make yourself sick on demand sounded quite cool. I practised with a few things & discovered toilet paper worked great, as it would make you gag, but leave no evidence. I gave up on it pretty soon, cos it was yukky, and rarely achieved the desired result (attention & sympathy).

    What can you say, kids are wierd.

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  10. On another note, at a few years later, maybe 8/9 there was a craze going round my school. You hyperventilated for two mins (your mate had to count to 200 for you), then asked a good friend to punch you hard in the stomach. Result: you stop breathing for a few seconds & pass out. Gets you a free juice & biscuits in the nurses room & home for the day.

    This went on for a few weeks, until a number of hospitalisations made the teachers wise & you got detention for “breathing unnaturally”.

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  11. Mrs.A: Children are indeed weird.

    I have never been able to make myself puke. I did try last summer, when I foolishly downed a shot of Serbian firewater at our street party. As soon as that stuff had cleared my tonsils (going down) I knew I’d made a big mistake, but could I get rid of it? No, I could not, and I paid the price for quite some horrible while…

    “Breathing unnaturally”. LOL. I can think of a few things schoolchildren can do that cause “unnatural breathing”, but not many that they’d choose to do with teachers about.

    Comment by Mary P. | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  12. > tunefulness of a frog in heat

    My wife and I made the mistake of buying my oldest daughter a recorder with microphone, the caterwauling that went on in our back garden was painful to the ears 🙂

    Comment by Si | August 25, 2005 | Reply

  13. Ooo… my sweetie bought his three daughters a karoake machine for Christmas. Some of them, shall we say, are more melodious than others. Our neighbours are very kind: “It’s like living next to a foreign disco, where you can almost, but not quite, understand the words.”

    Comment by Mary P. | August 25, 2005 | Reply

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