It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Snippets of a morning out

On an asphalt-melting summer day, there are few better places to spend a morning than our park, our lovely sprawling lawn-rich shade-drenched park. For much of the way there, we follow a dirt footpath by the river. We check out the ducks and the swans as we stroll. Lately, there have been teentsy-eentsy-weentsy little frogs (or perhaps they’re toads) no bigger than your baby fingernail. Odd how, if something – pretty near anything – is small enough, it’s cute. I hunker down with the toddling tots. Toads. Definitely toads. We indulge in some cries of delight. “Awwww…”

And other sorts of cries from more-observant George.

“Eeew! Nigel stepped on a baby toad! Mary, Nigel’s got a toad under his sandal! Nigel, Nigel, lift your foot, quick, there’s a baby toad under there.” The brothers peer at the underside of Nigel’s sandal. “Oh, no. Mary, the toad’s all squashed.”

“EEEEWWWwwww!” Anna, Timmy, and Emily join the chorus of disgust. From their perch in the stroller, they can see neither toads nor the bottom of Nigel’s sandal. They have no idea what they’re disgusted about, but they do love being disgusted. “EEEEWWWWwah-hahahahahah…!”

Nigel proceeds with more caution. So much more that the 20-minute walk to the park becomes a 40 minute walk. But it’s too hot to go quickly, anyway. A lolling meandre suits me just fine. We meandre to the park. Subsequent teeny toads escape our passage unsquashed.

We arrive, the kids scatter. Anna, Timmy and Nigel to the bouncy toys, Emily to the playhouse to drive bulldozers across the little table therein, Ki-woon and George to the slides.

“OW! Mary, Mary the slides are HOT!”

“Try the one in the shade, then.”

“I like this one because it has the bump in it. Can’t you cool this one down?”

“Just how might I do that, bud?”

“My mommy lies down on it for a few minutes.” (She DOES? Doesn’t that HURT? Is she NUTS?)

“She DOES? Doesn’t that HURT? Well, I’m not going to do that, George. Go down the one in the shade.” (Note the Highly Professional self-censorship.)

“Emma!” Nigel calls from the bouncy airplane. “Emma, I need help getting down!” Belly on the seat, his feet dangle a couple of inches off the ground.

“You’re doing fine, Nigel. You can do it.”

“But I need help to get off!”

Plonk. His feet hit the sand. He eyes her reproachfully. “Emma, I needed your HELP.”


“To get down.”

“But you ARE down, Nigel. You did it all on your own.”

He looks down at his feet, considers for a moment. This is not the response he was looking for, but he can’t find the loophole in the argument. One more reproachful glare and he trots off. And gets onto the next bouncy toy.

We slide and bounce and dig and climb for an hour. Well, the tots do. Emma and I stand and cheer and chat and clap. We all have snack.

“Timmy, that’s Emily’s bowl. Yours is the yellow one. No, Nigel, you may not eat out of your sandal. That’s why we have our bowls. Good job, Ki-woon! Look at you, helping Nigel put his cheese back in his bowl. Nigel! Nigel, what are you doing? Well, if there are crumbs in your sandal, let me wipe it with a cloth. You don’t use your tongue. Eew. [All together now: EEEEWWW! They do love that sound…] Emily, hon? Emily, we have cheese and crackers and kiwi for snack. You don’t need to eat the clover. Yes, George, I know it won’t hurt her, but I’d rather she ate what I brought.”

“Are they all yours?” A woman with a child of about three, stands and smiles at our little group who gaze up at her, chewing. I remove a clover leaf from Emily’s cheek and smile back at her.

“No, no. They’re all friends. It’s a daycare.” She waves at the tots and wanders off.

Emma and I play our familiar game: Crowd that Uterus.

“Well, George is five,” I start. “Timmy and Emily could be 18-month-old twins….”

“And Nigel and Ki-woon could be two-and-a-half-year-old twins,” Emma slots the next obvious age-pair into the equation.

“Nigel and Ki-woon?” (Nigel is a pale-skinned, curly-topped blond with big blue eyes. Ki-woon has the straight black hair, creamy-tea skin and almond eyes of his Korean heritage.)

She giggles. “Oh yeah. Then, ummm…” She pauses, tries a couple of other permutations, but nothing can really get around the lone oriental in the pile of caucasians. “No, that woman is just stupid.”

“Well, we could have adopted him.”

“When we have five others? She’s crazy.”

“She is or I am.”

“Well, THAT makes more sense.” She scampers away giggling, hands over her butt. She knows me well. My swat swishes on air.

The teeny toads have vacated the path, so our return trip is quicker and squoosh-free.

August 16, 2007 Posted by | eeewww, outings | 12 Comments