It’s Not All Mary Poppins

No, she doesn’t want to do daycare when she’s older. But she does babysit…

Emma kneels in the front hall amidst a swirl of snowsuits. Blue, navy, red, lilac, pink. Hats, mittens, boots, scarves, babies.

“There! You’re done!” She stands Emily on her puffy lilac snowsuit booties and calls over to where I’m putting together the snack for our outing. “You know, mum, if there was a contest for putting on snowsuits, I would so win!”

I chortle. “In your age category, anyway.”

“Pfft! I’m faster than most of the parents!”

She’s probably right. With a deft combination of good humour, calm authority, and distraction, she pops those kids into those contraptions with remarkable speed. Not that the kids aren’t doing their toddler best to stick a spoke in the wheels of efficiency.

“Okay, Nigel. Let’s get that foot in your boot.”

“Foot in boot!”

“That’s right.” She puts his toes in the opening of the boot. “Okay, then. STTOOOOMP!”

This is how we encourage the kids to push their feet into their boots. Yes, we could sit them on our laps and haul the boot on from behind, but once they can stand on one foot, this is way more fun – and a step on the way to independent dressing. Sometimes, mind you, you do have to lift the other foot to give the kid the necessary weight to slide fuzzy sock against the resistance of fleecy boot lining.

“Uh, uh, urgh, oog, ah.” Nigel’s face is screwed up in concentration, and his effort sounds prodigious. Emma, however, is unimpressed.

“Nigel, you have to push down. All that grunting doesn’t do anything, it just makes you sound constipated.”

“Uh, uh, uh, uuuuuuuuh.”

“No, STOOOOMMMP!” She cues him with the word always associated with the same action, but he’s oblivious, too engrossed in his effort-ful-sounding noise.

“Uh, uh, uuuuuhhhh.” For all the grunting, Nigel’s heel is woefully short of the bottom of the boot. He’s not pushing at all. His toes are barely in the top.

“Now you sound like you’re giving birth, you silly kid. Hang on to me, and say ‘STOOMMP’!!!” This time, the cue works. His face lights up.

“SSTTTTOOOOMMMPPPP!” His toes vanish, there’s a slight pause when his heel slips in, and then – thud – he drops into his boot. “In!” He crows.

“Yaayy, Nigel!! Now the other foot, and no noise this time, just STOMP!”


“Yaayy!” As Emma claps, Nigel walks toward the (locked) front door, waving a mittened hand.

“Bye-bye, Emma! See you inna moe-nin.”

“I’m not sending you outside by yourself, you,” she giggles. “Sit down over there while I get Anna into her suit.”

“Bye-bye! See you inna moe-nin.”

Bye-bye, Nigel, you noodle. See you sit on the step, please.”

“O-tay!” He plonks his butt.

In another couple of minutes, Anna is dressed, the snacks are packed, and we are on our way. Model of efficiency, I tell you.

March 21, 2007 - Posted by | daycare, Mischief, my kids, outings, the cuteness!, Uncategorized


  1. to which i say: apple -> tree.


    Comment by lara | March 21, 2007 | Reply

  2. LOVE IT! I’m going to use STTTTOOMMP for my 1.5 year old. Let’s hope it works!

    Comment by Chelsea | March 21, 2007 | Reply

  3. Humour and good cheer–these, I’m discovering, are key to surviving children.

    Comment by Kat | March 21, 2007 | Reply

  4. Emma is splendid! And you just made me grateful that only have to struggle with snowsuits when we’re visiting family. Whew.

    Comment by Lady M | March 21, 2007 | Reply

  5. Way to go Emma!

    Comment by Angela | March 21, 2007 | Reply

  6. Lara: It took me a second to get that little graphic, but I’m with you now! Having essentially grown up in a daycare, she’s absorbed a lot. Hopefully, she’ll see your comment as a compliment. 🙂

    Chelsea: If you say it with a ton of enthusiasm, make it into a hilarious fun game, it’ll almost certainly work.

    The first time you try it? Poise the foot just in the top of the boot, and then lift the other foot, so all the weight is on the boot-foot. Then say “STOOMP!” and laugh and clap as the child slips into the boot. That should make sure it’s seen as a fun, fun game!

    LadyM: Five snowsuits. Five days a week. All off in the morning. All on for our outing. All off when we come back. All back on at the end of the day. You get pretty efficient with all that practice…

    Angela: She’s a great kid.

    Comment by MaryP | March 22, 2007 | Reply

  7. She is another Mary Poppins-to be, huh!? You are both heroes to me. I stuggle with one kid sometimes….I am just in awe!

    Comment by So Called Supermom | March 22, 2007 | Reply

  8. There is something very satisfying about getting kids dressed in their snow gear. I have only three and when they are warm, dry, and flying down the hill in their sled it makes me feel good.

    Comment by Peter | March 22, 2007 | Reply

  9. Having grown up in a daycare also, I swore I would never do it. In fact, I told my mother on multiple occasions that when I was big I was going to get a “real job”.

    And yet, here I am…

    Comment by kelli in the mirror | March 22, 2007 | Reply

  10. Last spring we did our version of “stomp” with Sweet Boy’s red rubber muck boots…. 1, 2, 3 Heave, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, THUMP. We got through the first bit just fine but before we could get to “THUMP” a strange look came over his face and he said, “Mama, somthin’ not right. Somthin’ IN there.” And, lo, we discovered the last lost Easter egg…. thank goodness they were plastic!!!

    Comment by Homestead | March 22, 2007 | Reply

  11. lol, love it! J is wearing in new school shoes, they are rubbing a little and has gone to school with so many plasters, every vaguely red spot had to be covered with the most cushiony one from the box!
    Ok, you’re the first to know, I’ve started my own blog, taken me long enough, have only posted once so far, had som many ideas then couldnt remember any of them, so be kind and give me time! x

    Comment by jenny uk | March 23, 2007 | Reply

  12. She has great conversations with these little people! I will have to steal that STOMP idea. Ian loves to make sound effects too, the grunts while concentrating always crack me up.

    Comment by mamacita tina | March 23, 2007 | Reply

  13. So-Called Supermom: Practice. It comes with practice, and even though she’s only 13, Emma already has more experience with toddlers than most adults do when they get one of their own!

    Peter: I agree. I feel the same way. All those rosy faces, snug and warm. Maybe it’s so satisfying because it’s a tangible symbol of all the myriad things we do every day to keep them safe, happy, and healthy.

    Kelli: HA! Emma has used the exact same term. A ‘real job’. Then she hears herself, “Not that this isn’t a real job, mom, but…” Heh.

    Homestead: I once saw someone step on something in his shoe. It was a grape. Definitely “not right”.

    Jenny: Reminds me of a Shel Silverstein poem about the child who covers himself in bandaids. The last line is (roughly, because I don’t have the book to hand nor the poem memorized): “What a pity I don’t have a cut or a sore!”

    Mamacita Tina: Doesn’t she? I started jotting down the idea for this post when I heard her telling him he sounded constipated! That was too funny to let go unrecorded.

    Comment by MaryP | March 23, 2007 | Reply

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