It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Noah’s train of thought

…is more like a roller coaster.

“We had POPCORN last night! My daddy made it, and I ate popcorn, and Emily, too.”

The children are playing in the drive as I weed my front garden. Tyler has popped over to share this Important News. I don’t even blink at the implication that Emily was consumed along with the popcorn. Grammar comes slowly.

“That was nice of daddy,” I note with appropriate levels of enthusiasm, dumping an armful of weeds into my green bin. I think they’re weeds, anyway. I’m not the world’s most competent gardener, and I am handicapped by the world’s worst memory. So those plants suddenly appearing all over the rear half of the garden: Were they the ones I planted, or are they interlopers? I’m not sure. Not wanting to pull intentional flowers (I have still not quite gotten over the trauma of realizing all those vines I trashed the first year were lovely, lush, purple clematis), I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and some time.

Two months later, they’re a full metre tall, they’re ALL OVER the yard, and they have yet to flower. Tall, shaggy leaves, dozens of plants, and no flowers. My poor hostas are being strangled, and the little stone path is vanished. I strongly suspect them to be weeds. Weeds of the particularly invasive variety. I’m not going to remove all of them, just in case, but they are being thinned out. Severely.

Even if they were intentional, I don’t like their character. Pushy things, brash, un-subtle and aggressive. They have another month or so to prove themselves to be things of beauty, but in truth I am not optimistic. For now, I’m content to give the hostas some air and find my flagstones again.

“We were going to have popcorn,” Noah comments at Tyler, “but we didn’t have any milk.”


“You don’t need milk to make popcorn, sweetie.”

“Yes, you do.” He’s not argumentative. He’s just stating a fact. “It is garbage day today.” Another fact. Equally misguided.

“No, that’s tomorrow. Tomorrow is garbage day.”

“Tomorrow,” he agrees, seemingly oblivious to his 180. “You are putting weeds in your green bin. And tomorrow we will put out our white box.”


Here in Ottawa, we have a terrific and comprehensive recycling program: weekly garbage collection, of course, but also a black box (for paper and paper products), a blue box (plastics, some glass, tin foil), and a green bin (organics).

That’s black, blue, and green, mark you. No white. Unless he means his garbage can? Is it white? He gives me The Look.

“Our garbage can is BROWN, Mary.”

Okay, then. “What do you put in your white bin?”

The Look, redux. “The white bin stuff.”

I don’t think I’ll ever get to the bottom of this. And I’m feeling a tad disoriented.

“Are you throwing out those plants, Mary?”

Another wild change of direction, but this one I’ll take with thanks. At least it makes sense.

“Yes, I am. At first I thought they might be pretty plants, but now I think they are ugly.”

He nods in agreement.

“I think they are ugly, too.”

Thanks for the support, little bro.

“And my mummy thinks they are ugly.”

She does?

“And my daddy thinks they are ugly.”

Somehow I just can’t picture Noah’s super-sweet parents standing in my driveway, sneering at the horticultural blight I am passing off as a garden.

“And my baby sister is going to be coming next month.”

I’m dizzy. Roller coasters have that effect on me.


June 15, 2010 - Posted by | Noah, Ottawa | , , , , ,


  1. lol!
    I have these conversations ALL the time. I’m constantly amazed at the bizarre things we are having an in depth conversation/argument about.
    Last night it was whether boomerangs will still fly if you just drop them on the ground. This morning it was that ALL gates are made of sticks. Except the ones made from metal. Or the white ones?
    I have been known, more than once, to throw my hands up in defeat and just keep repeating yes or I don’t know.

    Comment by Danielle | June 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. Oh thanks for this. That’s great. The litany of who thinks your garden is ugly is perfect.

    Comment by Bridgett | June 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. LOL
    The new kids across the street came over to play again yesterday–but this time, they brought their new nanny along!
    We were having a VERY similar conversation–mostly in which I was saying, even after three kids, I have not yet been able to get into the mind of a toddler, just yet!

    Comment by LoryKC | June 25, 2010 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: