It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Kids are so sophisticated these days

They need such fancy toys. They are not satisfied with simple things, like we were. Which is why, when you head out with your baby, you need a diaper bag the size of a small car, which means you need to drive a car the size of a small country.

Which is why, when I take four tots to the coffee shop, I break my back carrying stuff to entertain and keep them quiet for the 20 minutes we will stay and absorb the ambience.

Ha. I kill myself. I take a small canvas bag (6 inches by 6 inches by 10 inches tall), which contains: 3 diapers, a ziploc bag with a dozen wipes, and four water boxes.

But how do I entertain them in the coffee shop?

Well, for starters, I feed them. An eighth of a muffin at a time. (Really. The top is divided in four, the bottom likewise.) And for each piece, they say “Please” and “thank you”. And they take small bites, and they swallow before they take another (SMALL!) bite. And they try very, very hard to keep their lips together when they chew. Because practice is a Good Thing. (And auditory and visual close-ups of mastication are not.)

And when the muffin is gone, but Mary’s coffee is not? (Because Mary has been so busy TALKING while the children eat?)

I bring out the Big Guns. My left hand. (Because I am left-handed.)

The first two fingers of my left hand march across the table toward a tot.

“What’s that?” tot asks.

“It’s a man. He’s marching. See? March, march, march — BING!!” The “man” reaches the edge of the table in front of the tot, leaps up and BINGS him on the nose. Great hilarity ensues.

The man marches, he skips, he skates. The children discover THEY have men, too, and the mans run and skip and march and stumble all over the table. Which means that Mary can put her man away, drink some more coffee, and enjoy the fun. Because those mans? They are having LOTS OF FUN!!! They are having so much fun, all those mans, that they don’t notice the GIANT SPIDER coming towards them.

The GIANT SPIDER with only five legs … It creeps, creeps, creeps toward the frolicking mans, and then “SQUOOSH!!” it flattens one. Then the spider has to flatten all the other mans, who run, slide, and take fantastic leaps out of its way, giggling, giggling, giggling.

When all the hilarity threatens to become intrusive to the other patrons (who are few and thus far, smiling) and — hey, what a coincidence! — Mary has finished her coffee, we head out. The mans dance and sing along the stroller, along the other childrens’ heads, they fly through the air. All the way home.

It is only when lunch appears on the table that the mans revert to fingers.

Yes. Children these days need SO MUCH sophisticated paraphernalia to keep them happy. Yes, indeed. It’s sad, really.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | manners, outings, parenting | 9 Comments