It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Some things are better in theory than practice

Three small bodies stand at my living room window, quivering with excitement.

“Dere’s another one!”
“Oh, oh, oh! The garbage truck!”
“Mary, the garbage truck is here!!”

Garbage day is VERY exciting around here. Not only do we get the garbage truck — twice! once down each side of the street! — but we also get the Green Bin truck AND the recycle truck. It is just too, too thrilling for words.

“Garbage truck! Dere’s the garbage guy! Oh, the machine is crunching it all up! Look! Some felled out onna road! He needsa pick it up! Hey, he din’t pick it up, that garbage guy is a bad man! Eeeew, the green bin is gross! Yeah, dat’s gross! Lookit all the icky stuff! Another truck! Another truck!”

Okay, maybe not so much with the ‘too thrilling for words’. It’s the sort of thrill that requires words, lots and lots and LOTS of words. For the entire morning, whenever the roar of a truck drifts in through the open windows (Open windows! Must be spring!), all play ceases, toys hit the floor, songs stop mid-chirrup, and three sets of small feet pound to the window.

“Garbage truck!
“Dere’s another one!”
“Oh, oh, oh! The garbage truck!”
“Mary, the garbage truck is here!!”

Well, this is silly. It’s a beautiful day out there AND there are garbage trucks! Why aren’t we wandering the streets making garbage truck sightings?

We hear the roar. It’s coming from… three hands point to the left. Baby Lily just bounces in the stroller. We head left, and… yes! There, around the corner and across the street… is a


I push the stroller toward the truck. It surges forward. We come to a sudden and decisive halt. Startled, I glance down. Is something stuck in the wheels?

Well, yes. If you consider Tyler a “something”. His eyes are wide, he clutches the handle of the stroller in a white-knuckle grip, he is utterly frozen.

In awe?

Nope. More like terror. The garbage guy tosses the empty bin to the sidewalk and presses the gas. The truck surges forward to the next house, Tyler’s paralysis shatters, and he makes a desperate attempt to scale the stroller and get behind it.

“It’s okay, hon. It’s on the other side of the street. It won’t come over here.”

Which may be true, but it doesn’t apply to the SECOND garbage truck now coming down OUR SIDE OF THE STREET. Tyler returns to paralysed abject terror mode.

“It’s big and it’s loud, but it’s not allowed on the sidewalk, sweetie. It will only make lots and lots of noise, but it won’t hurt you.”

I think the terror has stopped his ears. He is not crying, but he is not moving, either. I think he’s incapable. The only thing to do is squat down beside him and pull him onto my knee until the Thing of Terror Formerly Known as a Garbage Truck has passed.

It takes ten minutes and three more Terror Stops to reach the porch. Another truck is approaching. Can we reach safety before it reaches my house?

“Come on guys! Let’s get inside where it’s quiet.”

Tyler bursts into furious tears. Terror? Relief? Trauma?

Not so much.

“I no wanna go inside! I wanna see the GARBAGE TRUCK!”

April 15, 2010 - Posted by | Ottawa, Timmy |


  1. My Pumpkinpie was always terrified of anything loud. Subways were our awesome/horrifying thing.

    Comment by kittenpie | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hilarious!

    My little guy was obsessed with firetrucks for a while about a year and a half ago. But when we went to tour the fire station? He was ready to bolt as soon as we walked in the door. He held on to me, crying and/or panicking, the entire time, and there was NO way he was getting in that truck.

    Comment by Rosie_Kate | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. This sounds very familiar indeed 😉 there’s nothing as exciting as a thing of fear. Our own special installment is the combine harvester (not seen much these days of course) but also the bin lorry/garbage truck.

    Comment by cartside | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  4. My truck-crazed toddler was taken to “Touch a Truck” day at the park. Big cement mixers, trash trucks all over. And, some with air horns. We couldn’t get him out of there fast enough.

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  5. I didn’t have any of that with my son. He LOVED trucks. However, dogs…dogs are a whole other matter. As a toddler he would freeze and then burst into tears followed by some serious hyperventilating. Later, he would freeze and turn around go around the block to avoid a dog. We found out when he was 10 that he’s actually allergic to dogs.
    Who knew?

    Comment by Theresa | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  6. When our garbage truck goes past and the children look out of the window, the men WAVE! Which makes it even more exciting.

    Comment by Mwa | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  7. when the fire trucks comes past my house the kids start doing impressions of it. Usually lasts for about 2 hours.

    Comment by Nannies | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  8. Any kind of truck is a big deal to my 2-year-old nephew, but we’ve never taken him up close. I wonder how he’d respond…

    Comment by lovecoloredglasses | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  9. I don’t recall having any great love for Garbage trucks though I may have. The one in our town for many years was just an open dump truck some guy through bags into. I do however remember waiting with anticipation for the Everfresh Drink truck that used to do home delivery.

    Comment by billarends | May 10, 2010 | Reply

  10. […] a garbage truck at the top of Wednesday’s column. Garbage Day is an IMPORTANT weekly event. Tyler in particular needs to know when Garbage Day is happening. He needs to know so that he can keep watch out the living room window, so as to see those […]

    Pingback by DIY Weather Calendar « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | September 27, 2010 | Reply

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