It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Time for an Object Lesson, Part 1

George and Darcy are playing with the hobby-horses in the kitchen. Arthur, attracted to the game, blunders in and hauls at the horse in George’s hands. George tightens his grip and a tussle ensues, both boys bellowing their outrage. Only one party’s outrage is at all justified, of course, but that’s never stopped a toddler.

I intervene, speaking at first, then forcibly pulling Arthur’s hands off the toy when I am ignored. “Arthur. You cannot just walk in and take someone’s toy away.”

“I like it.” Sincerity blazes from Arthur’s eyes.

We’ve been down this road too many times, Arthur and I. I am completely out of patience with this particular self-justification. I’m not sure whether the boy is just dense, and genuinely doesn’t “get it”, or whether his inability to abide by this simple standard is wilfull. At this point, it doesn’t really matter. It is clear that my calm and rational explanations and redirections have been ineffective. It is time for a little hardball.

“That’s a nice sweater you’re wearing, Arthur.” It is a nice sweater – a cardigan, really. Hand made, I’d guess, in a complicated nordic pattern, its wide collar cradles his chin in bright colours, the whole thing warm, soft and appealing. “Did someone make it for you?”

“My granny made it.”

“It’s very nice. I like it. I bet it’s warm, too.”

“Yes, it is warm.”

“It’s a lovely sweater,” I say, as I start to unbutton it. “I really, really like it.”

October 18, 2005 Posted by | Developmental stuff, parenting, socializing | 9 Comments

It’s all in the Timing

Not a lot that goes on around here has a whole lot of point to it…

“We have to go to sleep,” Darcy explains to the two other boys, both of whom are lying down on the living room floor, “or Santa won’t come.”

Santa? What’s provoked this game, in October already? Probably ads during kids TV. You can really tell who watches TVO (which has no ads) vs who watches commercial Saturday morning television, more accurately known as ToysRUs ads with program breaks.

Harry assures Darcy that he is, indeed, sleeping.

“You can’t be if you’re talking!” Gee, Darcy sounds suspiciously like me at naptime.

They all lay still, or in the nearest toddler approximation of still, for 3.2 seconds, until Darcy, clearly the producer and director of this game, announces, “Okay! Mornin’ time!”

Everyone bounces up and jostles around semi-purposefully, awaiting the next instruction of pretend. George, however, beats Darcy to the punch, and takes the game an unexpected direction. Surveying the floor, liberally littered with toys, he announces dolefully,

“Guys, I’m afraid there are no presents.”

Darcy is not having his game high-jacked like that. “Yes, there are. But not for you because you didn’t sleep.”

Arthur is ever helpful. “You’d better cry for Santa, George, and make him come back.”

Darcy isn’t having that, either. “Crying won’t help. Santa doesn’t like cry-babies.”

“Let’s go back to sleep and see if he comes again!” George suggests.

This new idea fits Darcy’s script. Down they all go once again. Everyone is very, very quiet for the requisite 3.2 seconds to bring us into a new day.

“Mornin’ time!” Darcy calls.

George is taking no chances this time. “Did he come?” he checks with Darcy. As Darcy looks around, Zach enters the room.

“Oh, Santa Claus!! You came!” Arthur crows, delighted.

“That’s not Santa Claus, that’s Zach.”

“Well, where is Santa Claus?” Arthur wants to know, reasonably enough.

“He’s gone back to the North Pole.”

Ever the optimist, Arthur is undismayed. “To get more presents for us!!” he declares, even though thus far it’s unclear whether anyone has received any at all.

“Let’s go to sleep again, and get more presents!” George suggests.

“Yeah!” With great enthusiasm, all four boys lay down once more. Another 3.2 second night, another “Mornin’ time!”, another day spent fruitlessly looking for toys, another sleep. It’s beginning to look like the point of the game for Darcy is getting to yell “Mornin’ time!”, and after a while, it seems George comes to this conclusion as well.

“Mornin’ time!” Darcy announces. By now at least a week has passed in this endeavour.

“You know what?” George asks.


“Santa can’t come because we haven’t had Hallowe’en yet. Let’s be ghosts instead.”

And awaaay they go…

October 18, 2005 Posted by | Christmas, holidays, the things they say! | 9 Comments