It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Just an Everyday Outing

What a lovely day!! After yesterday’s ferocious 31-degree temperatures plus melt-you-in-your-sandals humidity, which was followed by a mid-afternoon thunderstorm of such ferocity that poor Ki-woon woke shrieking in his bed, today’s 21 degrees with no humidity at all is nothing short of bliss.

Bliss, I tell you. And, since today is Emma’s birthday (FOURTEEN! My baby is fourteen. Though at 5’7 1/2 – and still growing – and as shapely as I didn’t achieve till I was seventeen, ‘baby’ is not the word. Unless, I suppose, it’s being uttered by a 15-year-old boy, but she knows enough to steer clear of males who call females ‘baby’. I hope.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Emma’s birthday necessitates a trip to the local greengrocer because Emma has requested a “fancy salad” with her birthday dinner. “Fancy” salad requires the addition of “raisins, sunflower seeds, crumbled feta cheese and that pretty curly red lettuce.” (Am I proud to have a child who sees salad as a potential birthday treat? Ooooh, yeah.)

(Of course, she’s taking it as a given that there will be cake. But still!)

So off to the Fresh Fruit Company which has the dual virtues of being close, about a km or km and a half, and having a good selection of organic produce.

I have four children with me: five-year-old George, 2.5-year-old Nigel, and two clocking in at 23ish months, Timmy and Emily. I have a four-seater stroller, a two-seater, and a small umbrella stroller. The four-seater is convenient, but it doesn’t fit through the store’s awkward front entry. The two-seater got soaked in yesterday’s rain because the tarp slipped its moorings and took off for parts unknown. So it’s down to the umbrella stroller. Four children, three of them under three, and one seat? Today will be an experiment, a walk on the wild side. Nigel, Timmy and Emily can take turns riding, their two buddies as outriggers.

They all do really well, and it’s such a grin to see them trotting along on their chubby little legs. Timmy, it turns out, loves walking. He loves to hang on, he loves to trot beside the stroller, and he especially loves waving his free hand in the wind, his fingers spread, soaking up sensation.

We toodle to the store. (“Timmy, please don’t touch that car. It’s not ours. If something isn’t ours, we don’t touch it.”) We toodle through the store. (“Timmy, those bananas aren’t ours. If it’s not ours, we don’t touch it.”) We buy our produce, plus some Swiss Cheese, and some yoghurt-covered raisins as further birthday treats. (“Timmy, put your hand down, please! The magazines are for other people. If it’s not ours, we don’t. touch. it.”) We toodle up Bank Street towards home. (“Ugh, Timmy. Don’t touch the fire hydrant.” George, with relish, “Yeah, Timmy, don’t touch tha-aat! Dogs do pee-pee all over fire hydrants!” True, but a little less glee would be in order.)

We pass the Tim Hortons on the corner. No True Canadian passes a Timmy’s without pausing…

Oh, why not? A little rest for their short and well-walked legs, and if they split a small box of Timbits, a little sugar kick for the walk home. No Timbits for Mary, who is watching the waistline. No caffeine kick for Mary, either: large decaf, two cream, no sugar. Can you stand the virtue?

People melt all over when Mary and the Mob toodle anywhere. The matching hats, the little faces, the chirpy voices, the toodling… People hold doors, people pull chairs aside, people smile and coo. Today, people also jump as we pass. A visible start, then a quick glance downward. First a grandfatherly type, who starts, then grins. Then a teenage boy, who jumps -“what the fu…?” – (quietly), then snorts. Finally a woman, who gives a gasp as she jumps, then giggles when she glances down.

Timmy the Hand is summarily strapped into the stroller.

George is gleeful once more. “Yeah, Timmy. If it’s not yours, you don’t touch it. Those were not your bums!” His titillated sniggering prurient snorting merry peal of innocent laughter carries us out the door.

July 12, 2007 - Posted by | George, Mischief, my kids, Ottawa, our adoring public, outings, Timmy


  1. Seriously is today your Emma’s b-day…cause my Emma’s b-day is also today, she turned 12.

    Sorry, nothing else to comment on since I didn’t get past that before I posted this. Will now go back and read the rest. 😛

    Comment by Sheri | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  2. I love the way you write. It’s almost like being there. I wish I were ….

    Comment by Stephen | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  3. Oh, lord how cute is that?! “Those were not your bums!” Hehehehehe.

    Comment by Sheri | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  4. That is so precious!! They sound like such characters!!

    Comment by Dani | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  5. ohmygoodness, Timmy’s antics sure had me giggling! Happy Birthday to Emma!

    Comment by bluebunny | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  6. Ha! Cute story. I’m impressed with your group, they did really well.

    Happy Birthday Emma!

    Comment by mamacita tina | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  7. Ha! Love how George has learned his lines.

    I don’t know when I’ll be in Canada next, but I need to check out Tim Hortons.

    Comment by Lady M | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  8. I need a post like this everyday!

    So funny and I just love imagining it all.

    Cheered me up on this otherwise sad day xxx

    Happy Birthday Emma!

    Comment by jenny uk | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  9. When my daughter was 14, she didn’t eat meat. What would she like for Christmas dinner? Anything at all, I promised. “Smoked salmon and a huge salad, please,” came the reply.

    Happy Birthday Emma!

    Comment by z | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  10. Sheri: Yes, it is indeed her birthday. I have one winter, one spring, and one summer baby. And that’s it. No fourth season baby for this woman!

    Stephen: I wish you were, too. It would have been fun!

    Sheri, Dani, Bluebunny, Mamacita Tina: They are characters, and they did do well. And George – I’m glad he’s here for the summer, with his sophisticated 5-year-old perceptions! Makes for good writing for me!

    LadyM: Tim Horton’s is the coffee shop of the masses. It makes great basic coffee, the service is generally quick and friendly. If you want something more upscale (Tim Horton’s “cappucinos” are awful) you go to Second Cup, also Canadian. Though you’ll be hard put to find either in Vancouver, the almost-America of Canada, where it’s Starbucks as far as the eye can see.

    (She ducks the slings and arrows of her BC readers…)

    Jenny: Too bad I’m not blogging every day any more. Sorry you’ve had a bad day: hope today is better!

    Z: My eldest was vegetarian for a couple of years at about that age, and one of my stepdaughters – and so was I, come to that. Is this a girl thing? I still don’t eat huge quantities of meat; we have at least a couple meatless meals per week. And I looove a good salad.

    Comment by MaryP | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  11. Ha! I am killing myself over here! Pumpkinpie occasionally reaches up and give Misterpie’s bum a good squeeze too – I think she’s seen me do it… *ahem*

    Comment by kittenpie | July 13, 2007 | Reply

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