It’s Not All Mary Poppins

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!


  1. My children are really enjoying telling on one parent to the other. “Mommy Daddy hurt me” It looks and sounds so bad when in reality all that happened is I told her to stop teasing her brother and it “hurt” her feelings. David has caught on and is doing the same thing.

    Comment by Peter | March 22, 2006 | Reply

  2. I think they all do it. Smart little suckers, aren’t they.

    Comment by Granny | March 22, 2006 | Reply

  3. When mom gets home, K always has something to say about the days activities. For instance, “Anya tell me stop” or “Anya say no!” which is usually the truth especially if she’s been fussing! I guess she also does it do dad when he tries to discipline her, she’ll run to mom and tell her that “daddy (fill in the blank)” It’s humourous to guess what might come out of her mouth when mom walks in the door!

    Comment by Angela | March 22, 2006 | Reply

  4. Whew…sounds like Arthur’s parents are, well, you know, mellow and cool. Thank God for that–but from what you’ve told us about Arthur, they’d kinda have to be, right?

    Comment by stefanierj | March 22, 2006 | Reply

  5. Oh my god, I would have had a heart attack!

    Comment by jen-o-rama | March 22, 2006 | Reply

  6. I would be dying. As a teacher, I’ve often gotten the “Our teacher LAST year did it better” and that’s hard enough. At least there was no wine involved!

    Comment by AverageMom | March 22, 2006 | Reply

  7. Arthur’s parents clearly know how to deal with him–that’s good! Bryce came home today and told us that “sometimes his teachers yell at the kids”…sounds bad,right? When pressed, he admitted that it “wasn’t very often – not every day, no no!” and only when all the kids were yelling. LOL. I’m sure Arthur’s parents have to press him for details like this a LOT.

    Comment by Kristen | March 22, 2006 | Reply

  8. Look on the bright side — now you can drink & they’ll never believe the kid!

    Comment by Chag | March 23, 2006 | Reply

  9. Peter: Yeesh. What an awful habit! I hope you’re both nipping it in the bud. My policy on tattling (and that’s what they’re doing) is “No blood? No danger? No telling!” Candace goes one step further: the tattler shares in the punishment that they were hoping the tatt-lee would receive.

    If the child is old enough (three), I’d be calling them on their choice of words. “Daddy hurt you? Where?” “My feelings.” “Then that’s what you say. Daddy hurt my feelings.”

    Granny: Pretty much. It’s funny when it’s not unnerving.

    Angela: …because you never know, the other guy just might change everything, right, right? Hopefully mom responds with, “Well, I’m sure Anya (or daddy) knew what they were doing!”

    Stefanirj: Arthur’s parents are very mellow. Hippy mellow, some days. “What have you been smoking?” mellow… But if they had, I couldn’t blame them, not with Arthur and all. 🙂

    Jen: With another parent, I would have. With Arthur’s mom, who is very cool, not. Phew. (Zach’s parents? I’d’ve been sweating blood…)

    AverageMom: I used to supply teach K – 8. “But Ms. SickTeacher says… let us… never… always…” I quickly developed an unapologetic response: “Well, I’m not Ms. SickTeacher, and today we’ll do it this way instead.”

    Kristen: You and Arthur’s parents are both sensible sorts. There are parents out there who take this stuff at face value. Worse, there are parents who read their own feelings into their childrens’ behaviour.

    So, tot cries when being dropped off at daycare? Child is unhappy at daycare; something bad might be happening there. That the child also cries when the parent arrives somehow doesn’t shake this belief…

    Chag: Hey! Great thought! Now how can I get the other four families to this same point??

    Comment by Mary P. | March 23, 2006 | Reply

  10. I could see my daughter in this one! (Of course, we had to discuss the details of her upcoming 1st Communion—when told she’d receive the bread and the wine (a sip)–she thought she’d be getting a glass with dinner each night afterwards, too!)

    She also is very fond of beginning complaints with “Well, Daddy said…” or “Daddy lets us…”
    I keep explaining/responding: “Do I look like your father?”
    (It’s slowing the comments down but she keeps trying…)

    Comment by LoryKC | March 24, 2006 | Reply

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