It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Tact and the Daycarista

“Darcy, my father made this for me!” Arthur chirrups. The boys are playing with a toolbox filled with toy tools, many of which are handmade from wood. Arthur’s father, you see, is a carpenter as well as a contractor.

“My father made this for me!” Arthur is pleased and proud. Darcy leans over the block he is “sawing”. “My father made this for me!” Arthur repeats.

“Uh-huh,” Darcy nods.

Evidently Darcy’s response is lacking the requisite enthusiasm. Arthur looks up at me. “Mary, tell Darcy that my father made this for me.”

“You’ve already told him three times, bud. I’m sure he knows.”

Not good enough. Arthur tries again. “Darcy, my father made this for me!”

Darcy just looks at Arthur. He said “uh-huh”. What more does this kid want? I decide to see if I can reassure Arthur that he has indeed been heard.

“Darcy, do you know who made this for Arthur?” I ask.

Darcy gives me a long, steady, “are you kidding me?” look. “His father made it.”

“See, Arthur? Darcy knows.”

“Darcy, my father made this for me! Did you know that my father made this for me?”

Tonight, I will tell Arthur’s dad, “Arthur is so proud of that toolbox you made for him, he just can’t say enough about it!”

March 31, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy, parents, the dark side | 15 Comments

A Trip to the Museum with Darcy

…and Zach and baby Nigel, but mostly Darcy. (Zach’s contributions are in italics.)

Why are the sidewalks so dirty?
Why doesn’t the bus come down our street?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
Why did you tell Zach to sit on the bench?
Why is the bus taking so long to come?
Why does the bus make that noise when it stops?
Why does the bus beep when we get on?*
Why is there a white line on the road?
Why did you lock the wheels on baby Nigel’s stroller?
Why do some people ride their bikes in the street?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
Why did we take a bus to the coffee shop?
Why do we need to keep our blood sugar up?
Why does that machine have all those chocolate chips in it?**
Why does that man make so much noise when he drinks his coffee?
Why do we have to walk to the museum?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
Why are they lifting up that thing?***
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
Why did you went onto the other side of the road?
Why are you reading the sign?
Why did the lady not take your money?+
Why is they speaking in French?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
Why does that giant dinosaur have his mouth open?
Why is the squirrel dead?
Why is the toad sittin’ there?
Why do they not move?
Why are all those kids yellin’ and screamin’?
Why is that door shutted with wood?++
Why is there a toilet not in a baffroom?
Why does that man gots only half his face?+++
Why is it time to leave now?
Why are we goin’ back to the museum?
Why did you forget the coats?
Why is that squirrel lying on the sidewalk?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
Why are there cracks in the sidewalk?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
We goin-a see the dinosaurs?
Why is Zach askin’ about the dinosaurs when we already sawed them?

* It’s a bus that lowers so that strollers and wheelchairs and the frail can get on more easily.
**Sadly, they only were coffee beans.
***The museum is undergoing extensive renovations. A large crane was lifting a load of something or other to the roof.
+Because of the renovations, half the museum is closed, and so admittance is free. No tickets required.
++One of the boarded-off galleries.
+++A display, showing the musculature of the face.

March 30, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, Developmental stuff, outings, Zach | 17 Comments

Sorting it All Out, 2

It’s a big ol’ complicated world, and it takes some sorting out.

George and Darcy have arranged the couch cushions on the floor. Darcy was hopping from one to the other – not allowed, as it happens – while George sat on one. His hopping curtailed, Darcy approaches George. Turns out George is being a police man, and the cushion is his car.

Darcy is intrigued. “What are you doing in your police car?”

“Just sittin’ here watin’ for terrible drivers.”

“And what do you do when you see one?”

“I honk my horn and I chase them and I book them.” (This boy has been watching too much television.)

Darcy’s a little concerned. “Police cars don’t honk. Fire trucks honk their horn when they come to a corner, to say, ‘9-1-1! I’m coming through! 9-1-1!! Get out, cars!'”

“But I’m talking about police cars.” George is wrestling with the implications of Darcy’s assertion, and fears he’s losing out somehow. Darcy, however, sees no problem, and hastens to reassure.

“Yeah, you’re a police car, and police cars don’t honk. Only fire trucks.” This is not as comforting as Darcy had hoped, but in a second, George’s face lights up.

“Police cars go, ‘Woo-woo-woo’!” George is thrilled with his brilliance. A siren outranks a horn any day.

“That’s right!” The boys nod in satisfaction. Bit by bit the pieces fall into place. We’ll worry about the sirens on fire trucks some other day…

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, George, health and safety, socializing | 3 Comments

Potty Humour Goes Upscale

Took the tots to the Museum of Nature last week, and among the dinosaurs and reptiles and amphibians, plants, mammals, geology, birds, insects and rocks, we found this highly edifying artifact.

Now you can toot in five languages. Me, I’m thinking they could have done better than a measly five…Oh, and all you Peters out there who thought your name meant “rock”?

March 28, 2006 Posted by | eeewww, outings, random and odd | 13 Comments

Fortune 500 – Look Out!

“Hey, guys, let’s play store!” Emma has a PD day today. (PD means Professional Development day. Teachers go to workshops; children stay home and help their mommas in their daycares. I love PD days.)

“Yes!” says Arthur. “And will you buy one of us?”

“No, silly. I’m going to sell one of you to the gypsies.”

“Yay! I like gypsies!!”

“No, really, what we’re going to do first, is make ourselves some money.” Emma distributes squares of white paper to the boys. “We’ll make five dollar bills.”

“I wanna six dollar bill!” George is feeling a little competitive today.

“Sorry. There’s no such thing as six dollar bills. There’s five dollars, ten, twenty, and a hundred. No six dollar bills.” No fifty dollar bills apparently, either, but if Emma doesn’t know this, a bunch of three-year-olds certainly don’t need to.

“Can I make a two dollar bills?” Darcy asks as he takes his paper.

“No. There’s no such thing as that, either. I’m not making coins today.”

Emma hands everyone a blue crayon. “Here you go.”

“Can I have a green crayon?” George asks.

“What’s the number I wrote on your bill, George?”

“It’s a five.”

“Right. And five dollar bills are blue. If you want a green one, I’ll have to give you a different paper, and make yours a twenty dollar bill. So, do you want blue or green?”


Darcy wants green. “Because green is more than blue, George.” Not bad for three, to figure out that twenty is more than five. Not bad at all. He decides to pursue this notion. “What’s more than green, Emma?”

“Purple. Ten dollars are purple.” Arthur decides to make a purple bill.

The boys happily occupied, Emma turns to Alice. “Okay, sweetie, would you like to colour some money for our store, too?” Yes, Alice most certainly would!

Darcy looks up. “Alice should have pink money!”

“That’s a nice idea, Darcy, but there’s no such thing as pink money.”

George begs to differ. “Yes, there is! My mummy gots pink moneys.”

Emma looks to me. I confirm, yes, there are pink bills. That would be the fifty she didn’t know existed.

“Fifty? That’s a lot of moneys!” Darcy is impressed. “Alice’s favourite colour is the colour of big moneys!”

Big moneys. Way to go, Alice.

March 27, 2006 Posted by | Alice, Arthur, crafts, Darcy, George, socializing, the things they say! | 17 Comments

A Couple of Quotes

Seen on a blackboard outside a business this morning:

“Each generation is a fresh infestation of savages.”
-Harvey Allen

From my pocket calendar:
“Pretty much all the truth-telling done in the world is done by children.”

Guess which one I think is a pile of … diaper gleanings?

March 25, 2006 Posted by | controversy, memes and quizzes, random and odd | 9 Comments

My Professionalism Save the Life of Yet Another Child

The children are getting ready to go out. My small front hall is a seething, giggling, chattering mass of hats, mittens, snowpants, splashpants, coats, down vests, fleece jackets, snow boots, rain boots, neck warmers, scarves. Some of these items actually clad the appropriate body part; the rest seem to be simmering in the writhing, screeching air above and around the mayhem below. As the clothing gradually accumulates on the right child, that child is then to sit on the step to one side of the hall, and order slowly returns.

My working life, though, is a constant battle against the forces of entropy. Entropy which has snuck round behind me while I focussed on the chaos before. Taking advantage of the general bedlam, judging from the clods of dry mud and swaths of grit that carpet my living room floor, two or three little agents of entropy have managed to do a conga-line bunny hop in their crusty boots in the next room before sitting down. Gah!

All the children dressed, ready, and sat, I proceed with only slightly snarky attitude to sweep the floor.

Sam, that nine-year-old master of the verbal mis-step, watches me and comments,

“You’re kind of wasting our time, you know.”

Ah, youth, that halcyon morning of our lives when the world and all its doings revolves around our every whim. How fortunate that he has me to act his mentor, training, teaching, leading him to the afternoon of his life! I am so pleased – so very pleased – to help him take the next few stumbling steps of growth, to explain to him the error of his thinking. My smile, as I guide him gently into the paths of maturity, is more of a grimace than a caress, but I do refrain from snarling, and the boy lives still.

I am a good woman.

March 24, 2006 Posted by | the dark side, the things they say! | 10 Comments

good vocabulary

George: “If you let a baby play with these, you have to supervise him closely.”

Darcy: “If a baby eats this, he will get a bellyache.”

George: “Yes, that’s why you need to supervise him closely.”

Can you tell the boy’s mother has her PhD?

March 23, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, food, George, health and safety, the things they say! | 11 Comments

A Quiz for You – and the Answer

Darcy brought us all into the living room so we could see this.

Can you see it?

Know what you’re looking at?

Take your best guess!

Oh, so many good guesses!

The one thing I couldn’t tell you (but I’ve now told Si in the comments) is that Darcy has a little sister named Alyssia. Ah-ha!

“Hey! Come see! It’s A-for-Alyssia!”

Congratulations to Kyra and Mama Grouch, (a new and evidently brilliant reader) who figured it out!

March 22, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, memes and quizzes | 16 Comments

Light-hearted bullet dodging

Thought you would enjoy this. I received this email from Arthur’s mother yesterday morning:

Thought you’d like to know about this conversation we had this morning as I came into the kitchen for breakfast:

Dad: Good morning. There’s an egg on the table for you, and a bowl of fruit on the counter.

Arthur: And a glass of wine.

Me: Wine? No, not for breakfast…

Arthur: Why not?

Me, being slightly dogmatic: Because most people don’t drink wine during the day – because they have to work and think and be sharp. Wine is for dinner when you’re going to relax.

Arthur, after a significant pause: MARY drinks wine during the day.

(Does this mean that there might be a glass waiting for me at the door some afternoon?)
Fun and cute, right? Except that I’ve had parents who have quizzed me on my drinking practices after a perfect innocuous accident involving some alcohol-free tonic water. Thankfully, Arthur’s parents are not of this ilk. (Which ilk would be “anal and suspicious”.) Still, I err on the side of caution in my doings with the parents: no joshing – and certainly not in writing! – about the amount of alcohol I might be sloshing back during the course of a working day. (Though lord knows some days I could use a stiff shot of something or other…)

My email to mom:

I’m thinking this is an example of authority one-upmanship. Just as I am regularly assured that YES, mummy and daddy DO allow all manner of activites and behaviours (you’d be amazed what goes on in your home), he’s trying the “MARY does…” with you. I guess I’m now officially an Authority Figure.


And mom to me:
Yes, that was exactly his intent and tone, no doubt in reaction to my dogmatic tone.

Cute, huh? In any other profession, you could have this exchange and you would have only one reaction: “that was fun”. My reaction is twofold: a grin at a fun exchange with a nice parent, and a sigh of relief at having dodged a potential bullet. Kids say the darnest things — and that can be a scary proposition!

March 22, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, parents, the things they say! | 10 Comments