It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Another Life Experience


That’s the noise my ironing board makes as the legs unfold. You grab the top and let the legs drop to the floor, kah-chang-ing all the way down. It’s pretty dramatic, really.

By the time it’s set up, 1.8 seconds later, there are three toddlers at my feet, eyes wide, faces sparkling excitment, their wee bodies radiating delight. “Agog” is the word.

“What’s DAT?!?!?”

“It’s an ironing board. Have you never seen one before?”

They don’t answer. They’re all much too busy being agog. Now it’s the iron I’m pulling out from the cupboard which has their attention. Watching the cord unwrap from around the iron is fascinating.

And now! Now I’m going to Plug! It! In!

Having completed that incredibly exciting manoeuvre, I turn back to the children. There they stand, three in a row, quivering with anticipation of the Next! Amazing! Thing! Mary is about to do. Three in a row, eyes wide, faces aglow, jiggling slightly from foot to foot, each with their hands…

clamped tightly over their ears.

Nope. They’ve never seen an iron before.


February 12, 2010 - Posted by | the cuteness! | , , , ,


  1. Hmm. Reminiscent of trying to teach extremely wealthy younglings on a backwoods canoe trip how to do dishes.

    “I know my nanny does the dishes, but I’ve never actually SEEN it happen.”
    “Well, you take the cloth like this…”
    A few moments later-
    “This is easy! They PAY nanny to do this?”

    The dishes were still dirty.

    Nah, they pay her to look after you, you little cretin. Not nearly enough, I’d bet. Snort.

    Comment by westwood | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. too funny! i’m sure my kids have seen an iron–i think!

    Gotcha thinking, have I?

    Comment by Dana | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. I’ve had to explain to mine what an iron is too – I’m a cotton knit person and seldom need one. I think of them like sewing machines – some people still have them and use them but we don’t assume it anymore. On the other hand, my kids DO know what a turn-table and a record are!

    I agree. It’s telling that these children have all been in my care anywhere between one and three years, and this is the first time they’ve seen the thing. 😀

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. I just love how everything is new and fascinating at this age! Something to be discovered and learned about! And of course, they want to know EVERYTHING about it. But it’s always wise to cover your ears…

    Food processors, blenders, mixers… things that plug in in the kitchen have an awful tendency to be awfully loud! And LOUD? Is EXCITING!!!

    Comment by Rosie_Kate | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  5. What a great visual. That’s hilarious and terribly cute.

    Thanks for the giggle. 🙂

    It was. Hilarious and cute. Buncha sweeties, they are.

    Comment by Zayna | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  6. ha ha ha, that was funny! a few years ago I used to iron everything. And I mean everything, kitchen towels and socks included. But then life got busy, and I decided a few creased clothes were no big deal. My husband gets the suits and shirts dry cleaned by work, I rarely dry anythign in the dryer, everythign is line dried, so I try to decrease everything as much as posible, and well, I slowly stopped ironing on a regular basis 🙂 I might get the iron and the board out tonight and see what my girls’ reaction to that is xx

    I was ironing cloth napkins, and napkins are just so easy and satisfying. No tricky seams, no awkward corners. Just slam that baby down, press once or twice, and voila! Perfection. I honestly enjoy it. Which is why our table napkins always look lovely… but my husband’s shirts? Well, if he needs pristine, he knows how to man an iron.

    Comment by Nat | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  7. That was so damn funny, hahahahahahahahahaha.

    And they were just so damn cute.

    Comment by Jen | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  8. I just had mine out this week for some sewing. Which is about the only reason I ever do any ironing, unless I’ve _really_ let things sit in the dryer too long. Then the dress shirts get ironed, but that’s it! And yeah, if they’re not good enough, my hubby knows how to iron, too. 🙂

    That’s when mine gets used most, too: for sewing. While I’ll do all manner of household tasks in their presence, and even with their help, sewing is not one of them!

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  9. I’m a senior in college and my friend (also a senior) came over for a lesson in ironing last night. Somehow, it had just never been something she learned.

    She did, however, know what an iron is. That’s a start, right?

    It’s a start! Ironing isn’t that difficult, though it’s always nice to have someone show you how the first time! As with everything else, you get better with practice. I’m not surprised she’d never learned it. Though it’s useful to know how, it’s just not the essential skill it was before permanent press. (Which, I hasten to add, was before my time!)

    Comment by blythe | February 12, 2010 | Reply

  10. Yup, my little one didn’t know what an iron was for ages. I hardly ever iron, and on the very rare occasions I did, it was when he was in bed. Then I saw him one day doing the actions along with his Wiggles DVD to “Here we go round the Mulberry Bush”. It got to “this is the way we iron our clothes” and he kept on pointing to his eye. I imagine he was thinking: “This is the way we eye on our clothes?? Hmmm, makes no sense to me but it seems to be what they’re singing!”

    Heehee. Good for you for figuring out what on earth he was doing, jabbing away at his eyeball. I’m not sure I’d have made the connection.

    Comment by Kate R | February 13, 2010 | Reply

  11. I remember my (then 10-year-old) son embarrassing me by being completely amazed at the vacuum cleaner at a friend’s house. Everyone was in hysterics while I lamely tried to explain that all our floors are tiled and so we didn’t have one.

    I believe you! We don’t have a vacuum, either, or at least, not a ful-sized one. The only carpeting in the house is on the stairs, and I have a wee hand-held vacuum for it. (In fact, I don’t even have that any more. My son “borrowed” it six months ago and it has yet to come back. I’ve been using a wisk and dustpan. Very Victorian of me, I’m sure.)

    Comment by Sylvia | February 13, 2010 | Reply

  12. I do a stack of ironing once a week (I air-dry most of my clothes, and things like cotton blouses always need pressing, plus my husband’s khakis and things like that). However, my 18-month-old son has yet to see me do it. I’m too nervous about him bumping into the ironing board/knocking the iron over on himself. So I do it when he’s in bed.

    We don’t even own a dryer, so everything is line-dried, summer and winter. This is probably why I don’t own any cotton blouses…

    Since it’s not something you’ve felt safe doing, I suspect you’re wondering how I can iron around the tots. It’s all in how you set it up. The outlet I use is at the rear of a counter, well out of reach of toddlers. I set my ironing board parallel to the counter, so the cord drapes over the counter, and never hangs. I also never rest the iron on the ironing-board. When i need to set it down, I reach over the ironing board and set it on a heat-resistant pad on the counter. A bit awkward for me, yes, but if anyone ever bumped the board, there’s no iron to fall on them! They’re also unlikely to bump it with any force, because it’s pretty snug against the counter on the one side, and pretty snug against me on the other!

    There you go. Ironing can be done safely. It just takes a little advance preparation. 🙂

    Comment by Jaimie | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  13. Ah, your explanation totally makes sense! I would definitely feel safe ironing with my son around if I had everything set up as you describe. I knew you would have thought this through in order to feel comfortable doing it with the kids around! I usually have an unsafe set-up in our living room, with cords trailing everywhere, so I can have the t.v. on in the background to make the time pass more quickly.

    Comment by Jaimie | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  14. That is so, so funny. I had to do a basement to attic search once for my daughter’s iron and board – found them in the back of a storage cupboard.
    One of my own kids was fascinated by irons – hot irons. I could not keep her away from it. So I ironed after her bedtime, mostly.
    I wonder if when and whether you iron is a good indicator of your parenting and housekeeping style? I set up much as you describe, except beside the kitchen table, not the counter. The kid got a kitchen chair, climbed up the back onto the ironing board and crawled across the table to get the iron. Blew my mind.

    Comment by Mary G | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  15. LOL!!!!

    Comment by ~S~ | February 17, 2010 | Reply

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