It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Baby Day!

It’s Baby Day in my corner of the blogosphere.

Many congratulations to Homestead, mother of a sweet little baby girl, and Mo-Wo, mother of a not-so-little baby boy!

A sister for Sweet Boy, a brother for little-girl E.

People growing families. Does my heart good!

© 2006, Mary P

July 18, 2006 Posted by | commemoration | 3 Comments

And you think I’m Patient!!

George’s mother emailed me this transcript of an exchange she had with her son last week. Yes, she really does speak like that – clear and methodical. And the patience! Lordy, the patience!

George: Mummy, how did you feel when you were four?

George’s mummy: Well, I was sick quite a bit when I was four.

G: No, I mean, how did you feel?

Mummy: Do you mean, did I feel happy or sad?

G: (annoyed) No. I mean how did you FEEL?

Mummy: Are you asking me what did I feel like doing when I was four?

G: (impatient). NO. I mean How Did You FEEL?

M: (perplexed) OK, George, I don’t understand. Usually when people talk about how they feel, they mean one of three things. The first is whether they feel sick or well. The second is whether they feel happy or sad. The third is what they feel like doing, what they want to do. I asked you if you meant any of those three things, and you said no. So you’ll have to explain to me more what you are asking when you say “how do you feel.”

G: I mean, how. did. you. feel. when. you. were. four!?

M: George, I need you to explain a bit more. I don’t understand. Can you tell me another way?

G: (totally exasperated at having to explain something so obvious). I mean, when you were four, did you feel grown-up!!!

M: That’s a very good question. I felt grown up compared to my younger sister, but I still felt like a child.

G: Well, I’m all grown up!

© 2006, Mary P

July 17, 2006 Posted by | George, parents, the things they say! | 15 Comments

Life Experiences Meme

Bold the ones you’ve done..

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper (Yes, I have! Really!! LMAO.)
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne. Ick, no. I hate champagne. Bleah.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse (Too bad I didn’t actually PLACE that bet!)
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (A few hours. Never an entire day.)
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe (I’ve travelled there, but no backpack)
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving (God, no! Afraid of heights.)
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love (THAN! It’s “THAN”, you idiot who wrote this, not “THEN”. Sheesh.)
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow (Though I’ve often expressed my own milk, and felt very much like a cow at the time…)
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers (An art class; a friend of mine was the instructor.)
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party (Ha! Yesterday, in fact!!)
75. Gotten divorced (Another Good Life Decision)
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage (Acting: very amateur, but yes, on a stage. Piano recitals, not so amateur, but I’m no musician, just a good student!)
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking (Only ALL. THE. TIME. I love to sing. 🙂 )
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach (Nope. Only squashed them.)
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad – and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read (Way more than one!)
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office (if grade 8 student council counts!)
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident (Just a little fender-bender, and I wasn’t in either car. Apparently that skirt was very distracting. Hee!)
150: Saved someone’s life

Not such a bad list, all in all. Any questions?

July 16, 2006 Posted by | memes and quizzes | 19 Comments


For those of you who are missing Arthur stories, here are a few from the draft file:

Arthur sits on the floor, reading Calvin and Hobbes with Darcy. The boys discuss the pictures, and every so often Arthur will ask, “What’s this word, Mary?” He never wants to know the plot; he’s disinterested in the dialogue, just picks out the occasional word at random. It takes me a few repetitions to see that there is in fact a pattern: Arthur is asking about all the words that look


Even in print, the boy likes loud.

Arthur: Mary, I want to say something to you.
Mary: Well, Arthur, I don’t want to listen right now.
Arthur: [pause] Well, I’ll just say it, then.

And, for the true Mary’s place afficianado, here’s an Arthur-and-Darcy:

Arthur: I love you, Darcy.
Darcy: I love you, too, Arthur.
Arthur: I love you, Darcy.
Darcy: I heard you the first time, Arthur.
Arthur: I love you, Darcy.
Darcy: Arthur! If you don’t stop that, I won’t love you any more!

© 2006, Mary P

July 14, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy | 13 Comments

My (Pay)Cheque, Please

Caregivers are loving, caring people. We are kind and nurturing. We adore our wee charges. All parents out there smile and sigh in relief. “My baby is safe.” Good to know!

We caregivers are professionals doing a job. We are self-employed businesswomen with brains as well as hearts. Have I shocked you yet? Are you recoiling at the callousness? Some people do. Witness the following real exchange:

A woman I met in my optometrist’s waiting room, upon finding out what I do for a living, and being interested in doing the same, started asking me questions.

Among other topics, the subject of money came up, and I gave her my input: that what you can charge varies depending on which area of the city you live in, and, given where she lives, she could charge a decent rate.

She shied away from that like she’d stepped in something rotting. “Oh, I’m wouldn’t be in it for the money!!” she gasped. The optometrist, who’d happened along about then, agreed. Oh, no, caregivers don’t do it for the money!!!

Well, no we don’t. Not exactly. But would you, Ms.$100,000+/year Optometrist, enjoy your job quite so much if it only paid $20,000? Surely a professional can expect to be paid a wage appropriate to her work?

I love the children, and I do my job well, but I am not some kind of saint with a calling, an other-wordly paragon who only soils herself with money because she has bills to pay. I’m a trained teacher, I’ve worked in daycare centers, I’ve taught parenting classes. I am a professional. I value my work, therefore I think it’s worth what I charge, and I charge near the top of the scale for my chosen career in this city. Does that make me mercenary? Are these poor children suffering under the care of a crass woman who is only in it “for the money”?

Pah! I like getting paid well for my work – who doesn’t?
© 2006, Mary P

July 13, 2006 Posted by | controversy, daycare | 18 Comments

Short Announcement:

New post up at Partners in Parenting.

I’ll have something for here later: it’s Wednesday, and I’m going out for the morning again! Yay for Haley!

© 2006, Mary P

July 12, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tag-Team Babies

Nigel and Ki-woon sit in adjacent high chairs. Scrambled eggs stucco their faces, their trays, and the floor beneath them. Toast crumbs similarly.

Nigel calls out. “Dah! Dah!”

“Do you want down, sweetie? You want down out of your chair?”

Ki-woon: “Yes.”

“Ki-woon? Do you want this apple slice? You want an apple?” Mary waves it enticingly just out of reach. Ki-woon leans forward. “Uh, uh!” Clear enough. He wants the apple. Let’s see if we can get some manners begun. “Say ‘ta-ta’.” (This being an acceptable small-toddler substitute for ‘thank you’, for a the weeks or months till they can say the full word.) “Ta-ta. You want an apple? Ta.Ta.” Very careful and deliberate enunciation, lots of eye contact, inches from his face.

Mary waits. Ki-woon lunges for the apple. Mary pulls it back a little further, smiles encouragingly. “Say ‘ta-ta’, sweetie. You can do it. ‘Ta.Ta.'”

“Uh. Uh.” Ki-woon is becoming annoyed with my intransigence. Suddenly…

Nigel’s pudgy hand flashes out and snatches the slice! “Ta-ta!” crows, impish grin wide across his face.

Ki-woon is truly shocked by this development. “Uh! Uh!” More lunging for the apple, which is vanishing quickly. “Uh! Uh! Uh! Uh! Uhhh…. TA!TA!

Ha! This, my friends, is called “peer pressure”.

© 2006, Mary P

July 11, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Because I’m Really NOT Busy Enough Yet…

…I’ve started a new venture. Together with another blogger, I have stepped into the waters of … well, kind of what I do here, only more. Less with the funny stories, more with the considered opinions.

What we’re trying to do, Motherapist and I, is to create a forum for constructive interaction. From our Mission Statement:

We recognize that parenting occurs within a larger emotional family system, and issues affecting that system…help to shape interactions between parents and children. Our goal is to create an environment where such issues can be discussed openly to explore how they may influence the way we parent, adversely or otherwise, and provide support and appropriate solutions to one another when necessary.

Open discussion – which, since Mary is involved, will be polite, thankyouverymuch – on issues involving and surrounding parenting. Is this my thing, or what?

Come on over to Partners in Parenting, and make it your place, too!

© 2006, Mary P

July 10, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

I Want my Child to be…


Ask any parent what they want for their children, and they will almost certainly include, they may even start with, “happy”.

Brace yourselves: Mary’s about to go all counter-cultural again.

After years of watching families and children, I don’t think happiness is a wise goal. In fact, I don’t really see it as a goal at all. Happiness, my friends, is a by-product. It’s like those stars in the night sky, the stars which, when you look directly at them, vanish, but when you focus elsewhere, they pop into view.

What do I see as better, truly valid goals for one’s children? Well, that they be kind, compassionate, considerate people. That they learn that others matter as much as they do. That they learn to treat others with the very respect they, themselves, crave. That they live up to their fullest potential, whatever that potential may be – whether or not it’s exactly what mom and dad might have had in mind! That they have solid self-esteem (which is NOT brute egotism).

If your child is all those things, odds are good he or she will be happy much of the time. Not all the time; happiness is fleeting, after all. Petty irritations, fatigue, disappointments – all these can reduce or remove your feeling of “happiness”. It will come back, of course, but if happiness is a goal, if happiness is something that you feel you have a right to, then every time you’re not at the peak of happiness, you will feel dissatisfied, robbed, that life is not dealing properly with you.

If your goal is to be the best person you can be, then, when happiness recedes temporarily, you will be able to ride the low point – without the additional burden of a feeling of personal begrudgement!

If your goal for your child is his/her happiness, then every time s/he cries, you will feel failure. If your goal is to mold a strong and giving human being, then when they cry you will feel compassion, of course (or exasperation, as the case may be!), but you will know that maturity, like anything worth having, doesn’t come easily. There will be tough times, there will be tears and tantrums, along the way. It’s life.

I am a mother. Of course I want my children to live happy, fulfilling lives. However, I firmly believe they will not achieve that if their lives are merely a mad shallow scramble for happiness. They will achieve that, I hope, by being strong, kind, considerate, resilient and respectful human beings.

Update: This post won Lucinda and MommaK‘s a “Perfect Post”, nominated by Lady M. Thanks!

A Perfect Post

© 2006, Mary P

July 8, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Isn’t It Lovely? Isn’t it Pastoral?

All these sights were seen on a recent trip to my favourite local park. One of several good reasons for its favoured status is the wonderful walk to get there. For the most part, we can avoid the streets altogether, and thus have opportunity to see things like…


While cautious of people, they are not exactly wild, either, and will let the children approach – even at a dead run – astonishingly close before waddling with only gently agitated quacks to the river. I’m not sure what it would take to stir them enough to fly to the river.

Kayaks are interesting, too!

And what exactly is this? Well, it’s every bit as interesting as the kayaks, and possibly as exciting as the bunny. What you see here are the girders of a bridge spanning the river. (The central support is a fair way over. I stand on the bank to take the picture, and zoom in as far as I can to catch the birds which grace the support in the middle of the river.)

And while they’re gracing, they’re also pooping. And pooping. And pooping some more. That bird playing King of the Castle? He’s sitting atop a monumental pile of shit.

That is why this structure is now, and will ever be known as

Pigeon Poop Bridge.

© 2006, Mary P

July 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments