It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Mary Drops the Ball. Or Maybe the Sock.

In the summer, my fridge pees on the floor.

Why not? Everyone else around here has probably done it at least once. Well, everyone under three feet tall, which does not include the fridge.

Generally I take the proactive step of placing a cleaning rag on the floor in the usual spot before I go to bed at night. In the morning, the cloth reminds me not to step there, and has absorbed the puddle, which usually occurs overnight. No idea why.

(Yes, I could take the even more proactive step of having the fridge FIXED, or even of BUYING A NEW ONE!! I know that. But those would cost, like, MONEY, people. (Urgh. Had a house of teens here yesterday. Like, can you tell?) With kids dropping out of the daycare left, right, and centre and two spaces unfilled for September, I am not spending money unless it’s essential. Despite its piddling propensities, the fridge keeps things cold just fine. Thus, money spent here is non-essential.)

Course, it’s been dousing the floor annually for a couple of years now…


The fridge has once more baptized the floor, but this day I have forgotten the cloth. Of course, George steps in the puddle.

We take him to the front hall in which are nested their little storage bins, and pull him out a fresh pair of socks. Off with the wet, on with the dry. As I pull the second sock up, Darcy trots over, a trail of wet footprints behind him.

“Mary, I stepped in a puddle.” Of course he did.

The boys, all three of them, were playing together in the kitchen. Darcy saw George step in the puddle. You’d think someone would have learned a lesson here. Vicarious learning, she ain’t happening this morning. Of course, I’ve been doing this for years. You think I’d have seen this coming – learned my own lesson, in fact! But no. Two boys have wet socks.

It gets worse. Darcy is here with his wet socks, and — I GET HIM DRY SOCKS! WHAT am I THINKING?

Peel off the wet socks, and find new socks for Darcy. Am just pulling on the second dry sock, when… you know this is coming, don’t you?

Arthur appears, a trail of wet footprints behind him.

“Mary? Mary…”

June 30, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy, George, Mischief | 7 Comments


Today is Arthur’s last day. You can forgive me if this news is not unmixed with just a smidge of glee. Tomorrow is Katie’s last day. I will miss Katie and her cheerful good nature, but I will NOT miss her dad, so again, not an unmixed blessing. On Monday I start a new baby, little Ki-woon, who will only be with me for the summer. He seems a sweet child, and I’m looking forward to his start day on Tuesday.


Tomorrow is Darcy’s last day.

Please share with me a moment of silent mourning.

Oh, I will miss that boy! How I will miss him. No more sneaking grins of brilliant humour, belly laughs at things that pass the others by. No more dry putting-things-in-perspective comments. Who else will have his sturdy gentleness? Who else will be that oasis of calm in the midst of toddler storms? Even when Darcy cries, he does it gently. The boy’s graduation is going to leave a hole in the fabric of my days.


June 29, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, daycare, the dark side | 17 Comments

Gotta Bust out Somehow

Emma: Arthur, it’s time to be quiet now.

Arthur: All this being quiet is making me want to sing.

June 28, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, the things they say! | 8 Comments

Arthur Fixes the Cars

“Work, work, work, work, work, work. Fix, fix, fix, fix, fix. I’m working on the car, Mary. Mary? I’m under the car and I’m fixing it. I put it up on the chairs so I could get to the underneath and now I’m fixing it. Mary. Mary? Mary, you have to get under if you want to see what’s on the underneath, and so I’m under it, and when I’m down here I can see and I will fix the car. Fix, fix, fix, fix, fix, fix, fix…It’s okay if you get dirty when you’re under a car, because there’s lots of grease and oil down here, but I will just wash off when I’m done and that will be okay, just to get a little grease and oil on my hands. Work, work, work, work, work…I’m working Mary. Mary? Mary, I’m working down here. I’m a busy guy, and soon the car will be all fixed and ready to drive again. Mary. Mary?”

June 27, 2006 Posted by | Arthur | 18 Comments

Windows into Family Life

From George:

“He is a aaahs-hole. Darcy, say aaahs-hole.”
Me: ??? Who taught you that word?
G: My daddy.

Mom’s explanation, looking mildly exasperated (this mom does every emotion mildly, far as I can make out): “Dad was talking about a colleague, and sometimes he forgets he’s talking in front of little sponges.” (I suspect dad would be more entertained than made apologetic by this story, hence mom’s exasperation.)

Another one: “I went to Zellers and I bought a present for my father for Father’s Day and it was a video of Jesus Christ Superstar, and I got upset when they put Jesus on the wooden cross, so we watched The Little Tugboat instead.”

I can see it. Mom, Dad, and children gathered around to absorb the profundities of… The Little Tugboat.

From such innocent disclosures do I get a sense of the family politics and power balances of each household!

June 26, 2006 Posted by | George, parents | 6 Comments


For three days running, someone has come here by Googling “It’s Not All Mary Poppins blog”. It’s nice that I have a consistent reader, but, really, I think it would be simpler just to bookmark the page…

June 24, 2006 Posted by | random and odd | 10 Comments

So Who’s Who? Take a Guess!

Me: Where is Boy 1?
Boy 2: He’s sleeping on the kitchen floor.
Me: He IS? [looking into kitchen] Um, no he’s not.
Boy 1: Here I am!
Boy 2: Are you awake?
Boy 1: Well, what do you think? I have my eyes open and I’m standing right here.
Boy 2: I think you’re sleeping.

June 23, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy | 11 Comments

He’d Better be Sick, is all I’m sayin’

Have you ever despised someone you’ve never met?

I had an interview Monday night. Although I had made it clear that I prefer that the first interview occur without the child in attendance, mom brought the child.* A child’s presence at an interview is not generally so much of an issue if both parents are present, so that when one is tending to the child, the other can chat with me, but she came alone. She has a husband, but no mention was made of him.

During the interview, it came out that the child has serious sleep issues. Now, I am, as you all know, firmly of the opinion that children need their sleep. I also believe that by far the majority of sleep problems are completely solve-able. As she described her child’s sleep patterns and the steps she has taken to resolve them, however, I became more and more convinced that this child has a genuine sleep disorder. Even if it’s a learned behaviour, it is now severe enough that the family would do well to seek out a sleep disorder clinic. Of course I said as much, in an entirely supportive way.

Mom confessed to being completely exhausted. She is awake with the child almost every night, from about 1 a.m. to about 4 a.m., and then up for the day at six. Even if she goes to bed when her child does, at 8 p.m., she is getting, at best, seven hours of broken sleep, which is not as restorative as seven hours of solid sleep, and may well be an hour or so LESS sleep every night than she needs.

“This will change when you go back to work, though?” I suggest. “You and dad will take alternate nights, spell each other off?”

“Oh, you misunderstand,” she says. “I’ve been back at work for a year.”

She is working, dad is working, and yet dad has never once done the night shift. Never once.

Okay. So I can think of excuses for him. Maybe she’s one of these controlling, over-protective types. Maybe he has some sort of health problem. Maybe…um… Nope. That’s all I can think of. She either doesn’t let him (I don’t think it’s the case, but it’s possible), or he’s too sick.

If it’s not one of those, then he’s just an incredibly selfish jerk.


*My reasons for not having the child present are primarily two: when the child comes, a part of the interview occurs is of necessity taken up with tending to the child. Depending on the age, this can be more or less distracting; secondly, it is more efficient to bring the child to meet the caregiver only once you have narrowed it down – less stressful for the parents, less stressful for the child.

June 22, 2006 Posted by | parents, sleep, the dark side | 11 Comments


It was 29*, with a humidex of 39 yesterday. Steeeenkin’ hot.
Seems, however, that our wee Nigel prefers the heat, for when today’s
temperatures turned out to be a more moderate 19, humidex 24,
he had to dig this baby out at home.
Fleece, anyone?

*All temperatures in Celcius. Here’s a conversion calculator.

June 21, 2006 Posted by | Nigel, quirks and quirkiness | 11 Comments

My Fall from Grace

“Anything you can do,
I can do better.
I can do anything
Better than you.”

“What a good runner you are, Zach!” I call to the boy leading the pack.
“I’m a good runner, too,” says the boy walking at my elbow.

“Boy, you sure love your beans, George,” I smile at the boy who’s asking for seconds.
“I like beans, too,” says the boy who has managed to down two and a half so far.

“I love to see you boys playing together so nicely.”
“I play together nicely. I played together the nicest.”

“Good job picking up all those puzzle pieces, Darcy and George! You sure worked hard.”
“I can clean up, too,” says the boy from the middle of a demolition of blocks.

“What a nice picture you drew, Arthur. So many colours!”
“Yeah. Mine gots more colours than Zach’s.”

“You each pick a book, and we’ll read them all.”
“Read mine first.”

And on and on and on. All day long. And each time, I respond politely, sometimes telling him that I was speaking to another child, or explaining that I meant all the children, or telling him that right now, it’s so-and-so’s turn to hear something nice. And sometimes I simply opt not to hear him. But my heart, she is weary.

At snack time in the afternoon, we are having oranges. Now, I don’t much enjoy peeling oranges, and for snack, I’ll peel four or five of the wretched things. These ones peel readily enough, in fact, but then one of them just won’t pull apart neatly into segments. The damned things keep tearing in the middle, and my fingers become sticky with juice.

Sensitive George notices my face. “What’s the matter, Mary?”

What a sweetie. I make a dramatically disgusted face at the orange for his entertainment. We share a grin. “Some come apart more easily than others, and this one just doesn’t want to come apart.”

“I can peel them apart easily,” says Arthur.


“You’re the child who can’t pull up his own socks, Arthur. Give me a break.”

Bad caregiver. Bad, bad, bad, bad caregiver…

June 20, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, the dark side | 14 Comments