It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Pictures from my day

Anna and Timmy trot into the kitchen, where I am making lunch.

“Holding hands!” they declare, very pleased with their little selves. And, sure enough, they are. Is there ANYTHING cuter than toddlers holding hands? Right now, faced with the cuteness of their sturdy little departing forms, wrapped in so-cuddly fleece, joined by two dimpled hands, I just can’t think of one thing.
“Let’s play hide-and-seek! YOU count.” Malli organizes the troops, me included.

“One … two … three … ” I do my part. The children scamper away, giggling.
“Four … five … six … ” They climb onto the couch, giggling.
“Seven … eight … nine … TEN! Here I come!”

Giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle.

Four little bodies writhe on the couch. Their faces are buried in the crease where seat cushion joins back, their little bottoms are in the air. Their hands are firmly over their faces. If they can’t see me, I can’t see them!

Giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle.

Anna sits on the kitchen floor in that knee-contorting way of toddlers, bottom on the floor, knees bent at 90%, feet facing away and to the side in an angle that would have me screaming in pain and limping for a month thereafter. Anna is perfectly comfortable. She holds a cylindrical block from the large purple block bin beside her to her lips.

“Loo, loo, loo, loo!” The block is not a block. It’s an instrument of some sort. “Loo, loo, loo, loo!”

Timmy looks up from his “tower” of three blocks. Grabs one of his blocks and puts it to his lips. “Loo, loo, loo, loo.”

Anna and Timmy smile at each other. Within seconds, the other children in the room have joined the band – a wind ensemble, it seems – and there are five of them, slightly moistened blocks held to their lips, all grinning at each other as they play.

“Loo, loo, loo, loo! Loo, loo, loo, loo!”

Nigel sits on the arm of the couch. (New couch. Well, new-to-us couch, with wide, outward-curving arms. Perfect for leaning back and reading, I’ve discovered.)

“You sitting on the couch, Nigel?”

“No. I’m riding a HORSIE! Giddyap!”

Four arms on two couches soon become four horses straddled by four small, gigging, shrieking cowboys.


October 11, 2007 Posted by | the cuteness! | 11 Comments

Ooohhh, so gross!

So very, unutterably, inexpressibly vile. But if you have a child (particularly a boy) aged, oh, 8 and up (and on through 12, 15, 19 — some probably never outgrow the thrill), he’ll probably LOVE it if you were to serve this little gem at his Hallowe’en party …


Extra mommy points if you can serve it without gagging. I could see myself serving it to a room full of thrilled-to-be-grossed-out little boys (and girls. I know a few who’d LOVE this). I could even see myself laughing as I did so. However, I don’t care HOW many mommy points would be in it for me, I am not biting into that thing.


October 10, 2007 Posted by | crafts, eeewww, holidays | , , | 16 Comments

Yet another book meme!

This one via Florinda.

The below listed books are the top 106 books most often marked as being “unread” by LibraryThing users.

The instructions are simple:
Bold those you’ve read.
Italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish.
Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once.
Underline those on your TBR list.

(I used two asterisks for those I’m sure I’ve read three times or more. There are none underlined, because there’s nothing here I want to read that I haven’t already!)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights*
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel

The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick

Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice**
Jane Eyre

A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway

Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World*
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King(I may have finished it. It was a long time ago.)
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons

The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility**
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon*
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye

On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down*
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit*
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

The Three Musketeers

October 9, 2007 Posted by | books, memes and quizzes | 11 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

No post from me today. I have a turkey to baste …


(Or perhaps not! My Thanksgiving just got simpler!)

October 8, 2007 Posted by | Canada, holidays | 7 Comments

There’s no such thing as a Stupid Question

I am peeling carrots.
“What are those, Mary?”

I was a teacher, once. In many ways, I still am. As a teacher, I firmly believe the concept behind the adage, “There are no stupid questions.”

I am peeling carrots.
“You peelin’ dose carrots, Mary?”
(Same kid, who didn’t get an answer to first question.)

It is important that we not be ashamed to reveal what we don’t know. Otherwise, we handicap our ability to learn.

I am carrying snack to the table.
“Is that our snack?”
“We going to eat that?”

And, so handicapped, we continue in the ignorance that shames us.

I am putting on my shoes, the shoes I wear every day.
“Are those your shoes?”

It’s a vicious circle. Self-consciousness => unwillingness to ask questions => no answers=> continued ignorance.

Emma walks in through the door.
“Is that Emma?”
“Did Emma come home now?”

Ask that question, and learn. Swallow that question, and continue in ignorance.

I lay a child on the floor and start on the diaper.
“Is that my diaper?”
“You takin’ my diaper off?”
“I gettin’ a clean bum?”

It is important to free yourself of the handicap of self-consciousness.

A child falls and commences to wail.
“Did she fall down?”
(The child had witnessed the fall.)
“Is she crying?”
“Is you kissin’ her bo-bo?”

Blurt out that question! Plunge into the adventure that is learning!

Timmy is getting his shoes on.
“Are those are Timmy’s socks?”

But you know … accepting all the above as I sincerely do …

“Is your name Mary?”

There are such things as stupid questions.

October 5, 2007 Posted by | random and odd, the things they say! | 15 Comments

Does this bother you, too?

Today is garbage day in our neighbourhood. It’s also a beee-youtiful fall day, so the tots and I went for a long walk just to soak up the warm golden sun and breathe in that soft fall air.

And kick leaves!

On our travels, we collected a lovely, sturdy ride-on toy. It was even clean! We saw a beautiful Perego high chair, which, had it not been quite so heavy, might also have found its way into my stroller. Somehow. There were also a couple of shelves, not in such pristine shape as the baby equipment, but good for a garage or a workshop. And a box of stonewear – I didn’t take a close look, but I’ll bet there were four place settings in there.

This makes me sad. The waste! This is perfectly usable stuff, and because the family in question doesn’t want it any more, it’s being thrown out.

This also angers me. The selfishness is abhorrent. This is an affluent neighbourhood. Has it not crossed their comfortable, privileged minds that there are people who would be grateful for these things? Do they not stop to consider that there are families who must do without the things that they are so glibly tossing?

This is a well-educated neighbourhood. Generally, the higher the education level, the higher the concern for the environment. But it seems the concern is all talk and no action. Unless the action is writing a cheque, I suppose. Which is laudable, and I wouldn’t want them to stop doing that — but hey, how about considering the things you might do?

It wouldn’t take much. There is a quality consignment shop that specializes in maternity and children’s clothing and accessories, no more than five blocks away. There are cars in all these driveways: they could bundle these things a mere five blocks. There are routine charity collections of clothing and household goods. Last week I gave a bag of outgrown childrens’ clothes to the Canadian Diabetes Association. Last month, it was the Cerebral Palsy Association.

I keep a large garbage bag in my back porch, into which I toss whatever the children have outgrown, and small household items we no longer need/use. When the charity calls, informing me of the pick-up, I have it all ready for them.

It takes no more effort to haul these things to the curb for collection by one of these charities than it does to haul it out for the garbageman.

And yet, these things are going into the trash.

I’m back to feeling sad.

October 3, 2007 Posted by | manners, socializing | 23 Comments

Murder and Mayhem, please

Mary reads to the assembled tots. A peaceful little maternal tableau. Our literary choice? The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

You know the tale. Each of three goat-brothers trit-trot over the troll’s bridge, the first two escaping with their hides intact by promising him their older, larger, more succulent brother who follows behind. (A tale of family loyalty, it ain’t.) Then the third goat, the Big Brother, butts the troll into the water. End of story.

Treachery, intimidation, disloyalty, and violence. What more could you want from a children’s tale? Strangely, even with all that, it falls way short of Nigel’s expectations. The boy wants nothing less than carnage.

Mary: so the smallest billy goat gruff goes over the bridge, and the troll jumps up and —
Nigel: And then he EATS him!!!
Mary: No, then he says, “Who’s walking on MY bridge?”

Mary: so the middle billy goat gruff goes over the bridge, and the troll jumps up and —
Nigel: And then he EATS him!!!
Mary: No, remember? He says, “Who’s walking on MY bridge?”

Mary: Then the third billy goat gruff comes, TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP —
Nigel: Then the troll EATS him!!!
Mary: No, the goat bumps the troll with his horns —
Nigel: And he dead!!
Mary: No, then he falls in the water —
Nigel: And THEN he dead!!
Mary: No, he just gets wet and cold and —
Nigel: And he DEAD!!
Mary: Not in this version, bud. Sorry about that. He just decides to leave well enough alone and never bothers the three billy goats gruff again.

Short pause. Nigel weighs my input in his mind and find it lacking.

Nigel: And THEN he DEAD!!!
Mary: And then he dead.
Nigel: And that’s the end.

October 2, 2007 Posted by | books, Nigel | 11 Comments