It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Perks of Parenting…

Stephen has been working from home today, and, being the dedicated worker bee that he is, is about to hop on his bike and go get us both a coffee. I am kissing him goodbye at the door.

We do not peck on the cheek, Stephen and I. A good rule of thumb for kisses is one second per year of connubial (or co-habitory, as the case may be) bliss. People get this backwards, all the time. Have you ever noticed that? Ninety-five second kisses when they’ve been together ninety seconds; half-second kisses when they’ve been together forty years. Utterly backwards.

What a multi-second kiss means in a house full of toddlers is that you will always, always be interrupted. But we are hardy, experienced, committed kissers. We are not to be diverted from our appointed task by a mere piping voice, or a tug on a pant leg, nor even a head-butt to the butt. The kids have to learn their place in the grand scheme of things.

(What it means in a house full of teens is dramatic and copious moaning and groaning, also ignored. If the moaning and groaning gets aggressive, the kisses get even more so. Teens, too, have to learn their place.)

So. I am kissing my man goodbye at the door.

Malli trots up. The piping voice, the tug at the pant-leg, are ignored. Sensible girl, she doesn’t attempt the head-butt to the butt. She attempts conversation.

“What’s your name? Mary? Mary, what’s your name?”

Course, the man and I get contrary about this. Interruptions only ensure the kiss lasts longer. This is an Important Life Lesson. Now we have to keep it up until she’s quiet. It’s in her best interests, after all.

“Mary? What’s your name?”

He is a very good kisser. Emma, reading on the couch, is studiously ignoring us. See how well we’ve trained even our teens in appropriate response to adult nookie? Hard to know how she can see the page, though, with her eyes rolled up to the back of her head like that…

Ah, but Malli is quiet now, so I have to come up for air…

“Yes, lovie? What did you want?” Yes, I’ve heard her question. I suspect it’s a red herring.

“What’s your name?”

“Her name,” Stephen pipes up most helpfully, “is…” He puts his palm across his mouth and makes elaborate cartoon-y kiss-noises. “SMMMMMMOOOOOOOCCCHHHH!”

Emma can bear it no longer, and races in disgust from the room.

Parenting is fun!

March 30, 2007 - Posted by | manners, Mischief, my kids, power struggle, sex


  1. lol lol lol! Smooching? during the day? I’d roll my eyes but you know I’m just jealous, no that should be envious shouldnt it, took me years to learn the difference, jealous is having what the other person has, envious is wishing you had your own version?

    Comment by jenny uk | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. I will have to teach the hubby this rule.

    Comment by Kat | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  3. “Mary? What’s your name?” Huh?

    Reminds me of when I was in the Peace Corps in Ghana. The kids would follow us foreigners around chanting “Obrouni! Obrouni! What iss your name!” “Obrouni” is the Fanti word for foreigner/white person. “Iss” is not a typo; they used a hard “s”, “iss” not “Iz”.

    It drove us all crazy. When we first got there, we’d answer: “My name is. . . . What’s your name?” Which brought gales of laughter, larger crowds of children, and renewed and more frenzied chants of “Obrouni! What iss your name!” We quickly figured out this wasn’t about starting a conversation of any kind. Since at that time most village Ghanaians first learned their English in school, I suspect the question was part of a rote dialogue learned there early on, so for them it wasn’t a real question, exactly.

    So we learned to ignore it as best we could. A good kiss would have been a nice distraction. Though God knows what reaction THAT would have gotten!

    Comment by addofio | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  4. Nerdles. I forgot to add the reason Malli’s question reminded me of that.

    The first time I answered the kids with “My name is J What’s your name?”, they began chanting “J! What iss your name! J! What iss your name!”

    Comment by addofio | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  5. AWWWW, we don’t kiss much around here at all, and during the day, we aren’t together much except on weekends and who has time for kissing with so much work to do…funny though, I bet I kiss my kids 50 times a day…Walker saw us kiss the other day and said, “I don’t like kissing”…knowing he is the biggest kisser in this entire house….

    Comment by Jerri Ann | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  6. The fun thing about teenaged children is, they carry on shamelessly with one another in public. But just let the adults in the household try it — then it’s “gross!”. Which is why I get a kick out of it, of course.

    Emma she hasn’t brought any boys home. Yet. Still, she’s past the point of thinking kissing is gross, except if her mom is party to it.

    Comment by Stephen | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  7. Our oldest is just coming to the age where he looks away when Pete and I show each other affection. Sophie just tries to get in on the love: “Pick me up! I want to hug, too!”

    Comment by candace | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  8. you crack me up, lady. i’m glad you’re enjoying the fringe benefits of your job. 😉

    Comment by lara | March 30, 2007 | Reply

  9. Oh so funny! We’ll have to put that rule into practice around here. Our little munchkin is still at the age where he just wants in on the love.

    Comment by rosie_kate | March 31, 2007 | Reply

  10. I like that rule. I thought of it this morning when hubby gave me a quick peck on the lips when BB and I left for swim lessons.

    Comment by BookMama | March 31, 2007 | Reply

  11. Ha! Misterpie , I know, is just waiting til Pumpkinpie gets to the point where teasing her becomes fun. He loves a reaction, too! Right now, though, she likes to get in on the cuddles, so we occasionally get a delicious snuggle a trois on the couch. Which is not as amusing as the eyeroll, but pretty darn nice while it lasts!

    Comment by kittenpie | April 1, 2007 | Reply

  12. Jennyuk: Smooching during the day? But of course! Kids love to see it, too – look how many commenters say their tots love to get in on the love. Well, tots love to see it. Teens, not so much! Bwah-ha.

    Kat: It’s a good-un.

    Addofio: What a great story! Probably just as well you didn’t try out the big smooch idea. You’d not have had a moment’s peace thereafter. But perhaps they’d have learned some new ‘vocabulary’? (Can you call it vocabulary when it’s a sound with no meaning?)

    JerriAnn: Hmmm… my feeling is that if there’s time to kiss the little one 50 times in a day, there’s probably time for you and his dad to squeeze in one or two decent kisses. But I think that’s what you were suggesting in your comment, anyway… 🙂

    (And from his response, Walker definitely needs to see more of them!)

    Stephen: Well, Emma has brought one or two boys home – but not ‘those kind’ of boys, just friends. I think one of those might have smooch potential, though, if either of them ever gets up the courage…

    Candace: Just wait till the oldest has a girlfriend of his own. Then, as Stephen notes, his Public Displays of Affection will be a-okay, but yours? AGH! Not in front of me! And ABSOLUTELY not in front of the girlfriend!!!

    Lara: Fringe benefits of working from home. Nice set-up.

    Rosie_Kate: Nice age, when they just want in on the love. The more the better, for everyone.

    BookMama: Next time, grab him by the ears and don’t let go for at least five seconds. I bet he’ll like it. 😉

    Kittenpie: Each stage has its own rewards. Now, I still get snuggles from Emma. She’ll come up with her arms outstretched, saying, “HUG!” It’s very appealing. However, my PDAs with my sweetie do not inspire this reaction. Which is fun in a different way. Heh.

    Comment by MaryP | April 1, 2007 | Reply

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