It’s Not All Mary Poppins

My job brings me joy.

pedalbinJoy, and laughter. Every single day.


1. Tyler stands in the kitchen, his back to me. Just as I stomp on the base of the (light aluminum) pedal bin, he turns around and gets the (light aluminum) lid of the bin — whang! — smack on his forehead. He blinks in surprise.

2. Nissa is tottering busily about in the sandbox of our local park. Some older kids have dug a hole and then filled it in again before leaving, but even so, there is a noticeable hollow. Nissa has managed to totter into the hollow… and can’t get out again.

She struggles to ascend the 10-cm, 25-degree slope, and ends up sitting on her little butt, every time.

Being the loving caregiver that I am, I…

A. Swoop in with a coo and a cuddle and some comfort?

B. Show them how to help themselves?

C. Ignore them until they figure it out?


D. Laugh myself breathless.

The answer is D, of course. If I’m lucky, there are adults in the vicinity who can share the joy. Then I get to laugh — and point, too!

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Mischief, Nissa, Tyler | , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s all in the eye of the beholder

One learns, in this business, to make no assumptions. None. Adult perceptions are not toddler perceptions. Bear that in mind as you gaze upon Anna’s artwork:


Completed only 20 minutes ago, and I just had to share it with you. Because I am generous that way. I am also UNflappable. Not a tremor of the voice, not a single snigger escaped me as I spoke to her…

“Well, now. That’s an interesting picture, Anna. Can you tell me about it?”

(‘Can you tell me about it?’ The all-purpose, non-judgmental, non-directive kids-art question. And said, I might point out, in a quiet, gently enquiring tone of voice.)

“It’s my new nightie. It has a fluffy thing at the bottom, lots of pieces of shiny blue dangling stuff.”

“I think that’s called a ‘fringe’.”

“Yes. That’s right. It has a fringe at the bottom. And the shoulders are big and puffy.”

Fringe at the bottom? Big, puffy shoulders? Aha! I was looking at it upside-down!


It’s a nightie! With a fringe and puffed sleeves. Of course!

What else could it possibly be?

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Anna, crafts, Mischief | , , | 9 Comments

It’s a bird, its a…

Well, we’re not quite sure. But they sure are cute, no? Note how one or two have their feathers coming out behind, while the rest are on top.

Feathers, 2 cm foam balls, mosaic tiles, a fine-point Sharpie and a glue gun,

three toddlers… (and Mary for the faces and the glue-gun)…
and you get…
And a whole table of goofy cuteness!

April 27, 2009 Posted by | crafts, daycare | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who says it’s wrong

…to say “I told you so”?

“That doesn’t look like a safe game to me. Someone is going to get hurt.”
Wait for it…
“Mary! Timmy hurted me!”

“If you keep jumping over Timmy, someone is going to miss, and he will get squashed.”
Wait for it…
“Mary! Emily SQUASHED me!”

“Can you guys not come up with a game that doesn’t involve mooshing heads?”
Wait for it…
“Mary! He bonked me onna head!”

“If you throw those up in the air, sooner or later one will land on your head.”
Wait for it…
“Mary! I gots a bo-bo on my head!”

My policy is to warn toddlers of the possible consequences, and then, if they persist anyway, let them experience those consequences. (Within reason, of course. They are not allowed to ‘experience’ hot burners or playing in traffic.)

Sometimes they heed the caution, but often that old toddler stubbornness/impulsiveness/living-in-the-moment-ness drives them to ignore it. And sometimes I’m wrong, and the bad consequences don’t happen. Mostly, however, I’m right.

You’d think they’d have noticed that by now.

“Emily, if you stand on top of that pile of books, they will probably slide out from under you and you will…”
“OW! Mary! I fell down!”

Sometimes you don’t even have to wait for it.

I don’t say “I told you so”. Not exactly, anyway.

“If you stand on those books, you will probably fall down. If you decide to do it anyway, I will not kiss it better. Understand?”

…wait for it…

“OW! Mary! I fell down!”

“Oh, dear. Well, that’s what happens when you play that sort of game. Do you want to play some more, or shall we put the books away?”

“I wanna put them away.”

“All right. Let’s do that.”

(“TOLD you so, you little monkey.”)

April 22, 2009 Posted by | health and safety, socializing | , | 2 Comments

Making babies

Boy, I sure did it the hard way!

I guess this woud be called childburst?

April 21, 2009 Posted by | pregnancy and delivery, random and odd | , , , , | 6 Comments

Tears, truncated

tearsNissa, bless her sunny, social little self, is having one of the easier transitions to daycare. Still, she is a year old, and really? Given the choice, she’d much rather stay with mummy or daddy all day long, thanksomuch.

She arrives calm enough, but when the Big Handover happens… she cries. Of course. I told the parents when we interviewed that this would happen. It is 99.99% standard for the first couple of weeks.

I also advised the parents to keep the transfer upbeat and brief. We can chat, exchange whatever info needs to be passed along, while Nissa nestles in daddy’s arms. (It’s usually daddy in the mornings.) When that’s been done, when all necessary logistical stuff has been communicated, parent is to say a happy goodbye. And leave. Forthwith.

And yes, that means that most days the parent leaves to the sound of his baby wailing. It lasts less than two minutes most days. No, I’m wrong. Most days it lasts less than 40 seconds.

But once the tears start, the parent needs to leave right away, because… and here’s why I really encourage the parents to make the handover brief… one the tears start they won’t stop until the parent goes away.

The parent wants to stay until their baby is calm. I want them to go, so that their baby will be calm. The parent’s response is 100% understandable. Unfortunately for parental peace of mind, it’s also 90% pointless. With very few exceptions, the longer you linger, the longer they cry.

Nissa makes the switch from dad’s arms to mine. Nissa starts to cry.

“Bye, honey! Have a nice day with all your friends!” And he’s gone.





(And, thanks to a sensible and efficient daddy, in another two weeks, they won’t be happening at all. Ah-ha!)

April 20, 2009 Posted by | daycare, Nissa, parenting | , , , | 3 Comments

Binge check-in

book binge

How’s it going? Better than mine, I hope!

Either my judgment at the library last week was severely weak, or I’m suffering major PMS, but all but one of this week’s books was a SEVERE dud. The one non-dud? Mildly entertaining.

This week? My binge pretty much stunk, frankly. Boooo…

April 19, 2009 Posted by | books | , | 7 Comments


“Ow!” Anna’s voice is rich with indignation, and a small measure of actual pain. “Timmy, you hurted my elbow!”

“Sorry!” Timmy doesn’t look up from his pile of tiny plastic bears. “Sorry, sorry.”

Perhaps noting a smidge less than genuine concern in his voice, Anna ups the ante.

“You need to kiss it better.” She waves her elbow near his nose. He leaps up and starts dancing around it.

“I don’t want to kiss it. I only want to say ‘Sorry’. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!” He sings the word as he dances around her. He isn’t seeking to tease, he’s just having fun.

And he’s not at all sorry.

“You know what, Timmy? I think Anna’s right. I think you do need to kiss it better. You hurt her elbow. It was an accident, but you still need to pay attention to Anna when you say sorry. Stop dancing and look at Anna’s eyes.”

He complies. And kisses the elbow.

“There!” He says, looking into her face. “Is that better?”

Ah. Success! Because that genuine attention and concern? That’s the point of a “sorry”. Anna knows it, too.

“Yes, it is. Do you want this blue bear now?”

And the play rolls seamlessly on…

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Anna, manners, socializing, Timmy | , , , | 3 Comments

Dropping like flies…

quiet-sickOr is that “like shoes“? Shoes! All over the place!

The count so far:

Anna. (She came out with the rash yesterday.)

Yesterday, Noah went home early with a high fever.

Four down, two to go…

April 17, 2009 Posted by | health and safety | , , , | 3 Comments

Waiting for the other shoe to drop…

thermometer1Tyler was absent last week with a fever.
A fever which turned out to be…


Cue the sinister music.

The usual progression? Mild upper respiratory infection (aka something that looks a whole lot like a “cold”), followed by/accompanied with intermittent fever (sometimes quite high) for up to a week, followed by a spotty rash over the face and trunk. Nothing much you can do for it except treat the fever (tepid baths, acetaminophen) and give them lots to drink. They’ll probably sleep a lot, too as their bodies fight it off.

Nissa has a cold. (Or is that a “cold”?)
Nissa’s mum, poor thing, sounds like death warmed over. Ever notice how the mommies get the Bug, Virulent Extreme Version, while babies get Bug Lite? (That’s breast-feeding for you!)

Emily was absent two days last week.
Fever, no rash, no “cold”.

Today, after a perfectly normal day, Anna, who has the sniffles today (or is that a “cold”?) woke from her nap, wolfed down her snack, but when I put out the craft she painted one egg-carton tulip and then asked if she could please just go lie down?

Fever. She won’t be back tomorrow. (My policy: must be fever-free for 24 hours before they can return. Fevers too often mean “contagious”.)

I’m waiting for another of these “just-a-colds” to develop the fever, and a “just-a-fever” to develop the rash. So far, we have one isolated case of roseola.

An isolated case? Of roseola??? Anyone out there have any idea how rare that is?

Anna, poor Anna… she’s got two out of three…

April 16, 2009 Posted by | daycare, health and safety | | 5 Comments