It’s Not All Mary Poppins

It’s a perk of parenting

“Four crackers for you! And one, two, three, four pieces of cheese! ”
“One … two… three… four crackers for you! And one, two, three, four pieces of cheese.”
“One … two… three… four crackers for you! And one, two, three, four pieces of cheese.

Mary makes her way around the table, dispensing snack. You may not have noticed this, it’s pretty subtle, but we’re having crackers. And cheese. Four pieces each.

“Mary, are we have crackers for snack?” (Told you it was subtle.)

“No, we’re having squirrel.” Said with a warm, supportive smile. I am not sneering at the child, but you know, as with any job, you take your entertainment where you find it.

“Oh, okay.” (Which only encourages me.)

My son, loitering in the dining room before heading out to work, chortles. “You know,” he observes, “I think that will be one of the fun things about being a parent. You could just randomly re-label something, and always call it that, and they’d never know the difference.”

“Assuming you could get your wife to go along with the joke, of course.”

He doesn’t respond to my corollary, too caught up in the pictures in his imagination. “Can you see him, coming home from preschool?

‘What’d you have for lunch today, son?’


Son’s laughter bursts from his throat. The children, with no idea of the joke, are caught up in the enthusiasm. Deep man-guffaws and baby giggles bounce around the room.

Oh, yeah. He’s going to make a great dad.

March 26, 2008 - Posted by | food, Mischief, my kids


  1. I seem to recall covering that in Psych 101, about how if a parent called red black, then once the poor kid hit the real world, he’d be pretty sure to try to stick it out with the parent’s view for as long as he could. But man, that kid would be confused. Poor wee soul.

    Comment by kittenpie | March 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. Our kids have gotten used to our sarcasm. But it does come back to haunt you.

    Me: (walking into daughter’s room with a load of laundry) “Oh, you’re playing World of Warcraft?”

    Daughter: “No, I’m making soup…what does it look like?”

    Me: “Okay, I deserve that.”

    Because really, who doesn’t love the expression on a kid’s face when you convincingly tell them that they’re having “squirrel” for lunch.

    Comment by Sheri | March 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. hmmmm, we had friends who sent their two toddlers off to stay with an aunt & uncle for the wekend. aid aunt and uncle (childless of course) spent the weekend teahcing toddlers hat “now!” means “please”.

    “May I have some juice mummy?”
    “What do you say?”

    It took them months to undo it!

    Comment by juggling mother | March 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. Okay I had to laugh at teaching the kids “now” instead of “please”!
    My husband is the king of telling any child (or any adult nearby)extravagant lies. He is so convincing that often times I cannot tell whether he’s pulling my leg or telling the truth.

    Plus isn’t it nice to look at your kids (and for me, my younger cousins) and see them in the future as good and happy parents. 🙂

    Comment by Dani | March 27, 2008 | Reply

  5. My brother-in-law did that sort of thing with my nephews; well, the older one, anyway. Older Nephew is now 8, so he’ll bust his dad if he tries that with Younger Nephew.

    I’d love to have that sort of confidence my son would be a good dad one day…definitely not there yet.

    Comment by Florinda | March 27, 2008 | Reply

  6. Whenever my kids ask me what something is that I know they know, my standard answer is…

    “It’s a hippopotamus.”

    I always get a laughing, “NOoooooooooo!” And then they tell me what it is.

    It’s fun messing with them though… and saying hippopotamus.

    Comment by Childsplayx2 | March 27, 2008 | Reply

  7. That’s EXACTLY what Mr Earth wanted to do! I laughed for a bit, then calmly pointed him in a different direction.

    Comment by nomotherearth | April 3, 2008 | Reply

  8. My son, as a toddler, liked spinach but for some reason hated the thought of lettuce. One day I served a salad and told him it was spinach and he munched it down. Oh wow. So call me cruel, but I spent the next two years saying “you’ll like it, it’s spinach” and watching him eat every green salad going.

    When he was learning knock knock jokes he told me this one.

    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Spinach who? I was confused, I hadn’t taught him this.
    Spinach out! It’s dark in here!

    I had taught it to him! I said lettuce and his little brain immediately translated that to spinach. He’d internalised the whole thing as two words for one thing (and that mom was a bit weird, I guess)

    I never did get him to tell that knock knock joke correctly.

    Comment by sylvia | April 6, 2008 | Reply

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