It’s Not All Mary Poppins

My daughter the party-pooper

At seventeen, my youngest child Emma has grown up with and in a daycare. She knows toddlers inside and out, is a highly skilled an in-demand babysitter, and genuinely enjoys those little people. So much so that the other day when she needed to run an errand downtown, she asked if she could take one along with her. Knowing that Emily’s parents love it when Emily gets special treats with Emma, I offered Emily. At four and a half, Emily no longer needs a daily nap. (That she needs one at all is a bit unusual, given her early bedtime. She just needs more sleep than the average bear.)

So off they went, Emma and Emily together, two Big Girls on an excursion. They return three hours later, or so, hot but in good spirits.

“Hey, there. Did you have a good time?”

Emily answers while Emma nods along.

“We took the bus downtown and I could kneel on the seat and look out, and I remembered to keep my shoes off the seat. And Emma gave her papers to the lady in her school, and the lady thought she was my MOMMY!!!”

Emma grins. “My anthropology teacher probably decided that the reason I knew so much about the parenting/child development section of the curriculum was that I had one of my own. But then she found out how old Emily was. I’d have been, what? Twelve?”

“Yeah, and I told the lady that MY mommy is THIRTY-FIVE.” Emily clearly believes this is an ENORMOUS age, thick with antiquity.

“Ms. J thought Emily was pretty cute.” The three of us agree that Ms. J is a smart woman.

“Then we went to the coffee shop and I had a muffin and Emma had a cold coffee. I think cold coffee is yucky, so I had lemonade instead. And then we decided that we would walk home.”

I shoot Emma a surprised look. Emily is not a bad walker, but not one of my best, and it’s a good three kilometres back — though the last stretch along the canal is pretty and pleasant. But the first km or so, down a hot and busy city street would not be the most pleasant.

“The bus wasn’t coming for another 23 minutes, so I decided we’d walk till we got tired, and we ended up walking the whole way. That first stretch is kind of boring, though, so we played a game –”

Emily interrupts. “We played a game, only Emma wouldn’t let me finish.” She gives Emma a reproving glare. It’s clear that, despite the fun and the treats, Emma is not quite forgiven.

“Our game was that we tried to find something interesting in the store windows we passed.” As I recall that stretch of street, this game would have required determination and keen observational skills: there are a smattering of restaurants and coffee shops with no particular display, an appliance repair place, an office supply shop, a photocopy place… none of which are exactly rich with creative potential.

Oh, but then… Oh, yes…

And Emily found it.

this wonderful place! Wonderful! Bright colours, pretty items, and rainbows! All sorts of rainbows! A rainbow mug, rainbow jewellry, and, most wonderful of all, a rainbow of sparkling, glittery metallic ribbons attached to a fan so that they arched across the entire storefront in a shimmering, ever-moving river of colour.

“OH, EMMA! LOOK!!!!” And there Emily parked herself, mesmerized.

Emma rolled her eyes, telling me. “Great, mum. Wouldn’t you know that the one store that would have the VERY BEST display for a four-year-old, the one that would draw her like a magnet in those whole five boring blocks, would be the …” she glances at Emily and drops her voice to a near-inaudible whisper … “gay porn store???”

In fact, that term does the place an injustice. Though it sells some small non-literary items, the place is primarily a GBLT bookstore. It did just so happen, though, that the books open in the front window had pictures…

“And they were pretty explicit, mum. But that didn’t really matter; she wouldn’t understand what she was seeing. Besides, with that amazing sparkling rainbow in the top half of the window, she didn’t even notice the books. I wasn’t worried about Emily, I was worried about anyone else, watching us.” Emma throws a quaking hand against her fevered brow, mimicking potentially horrified onlookers. “Just LOOK at that AWFUL woman, making her little girl stare into THAT window!!!”

So there she was, dragging the poor child away from the only GOOD window in five blocks of a boring street. What kind of a babysitter is she, anyway?

“Emma didn’t want me to see the rainbow, Mary!”

Disgraceful, that’s what.


July 20, 2010 - Posted by | Emily, my kids, Ottawa, outings | , ,


  1. ROFL…I am in my city’s gay resource center ATM, and large crowds of summer camp feild trip kids keep coming in to use the bathrooms. Apparantly this is the only place that lets the kids in without trying to make them buy anything, or come in one at a time.

    But the Center isn’t the most explicit display – it’s all very family-friendly in here. However, allll up and down the street are these pylons, that would make your Freudian pool designers grin:

    Ha! Those things are great! And so pretty, too!

    Comment by Rebecca | July 20, 2010 | Reply

    • I personally believe they were designed on a cocktail napkin late one drunken night. “There’s no way the city will ever approve this!”…and some poor clueless lackey DID. But they are very pretty and distinctive.

      Comment by Rebecca | July 21, 2010 | Reply

  2. What did Emily’s parents say?

    They thought it was hysterical. 😀

    Comment by suzie | July 21, 2010 | Reply

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