It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Sharing, sharing, sh–

In my entry there is a row of hooks for the children’s coats. Each hook is labeled with their name. When I have something I need to convey at the end of the day, I will often jot a reminder on a sticky-note and stick it to the wall above the relevant child’s hook. Because this is a daycare, the sticky-notes are fun and cute. Recently, I’ve been using notes shaped like hearts. The notepad is also stuck to the wall above the hooks, so as to be handy when needed.

A parent arrives to collect their child, scoops their precious bundle into their arms. The child is now eye-to-eye with the pad of sticky hearts.

“Heart! Heart!”
“Yes, those are hearts,” says doting parent.
“Heart! Heart!”
“Oh, you want a heart?”
“Heart! Heart!”
(May I interject here that this child is fully verbal, and perfectly capable of saying “May I have a heart, please?”)
“Okay, honey.”

And parent takes a heart and hands it to their child.

Without a second thought. Without a glance in my direction. Without asking if they could take it.

Is this not truly bizarre? That it didn’t even occur to them to ask?


April 12, 2011 - Posted by | parents, Peeve me


  1. I know its family so they are a bit closer but my sister used to open my fridge and help herself to stuff for her and her daughter when they visited, of course I would happily have served them a snack but you dont open someone elses fridge for a browse! (although I admit I do it at my mums…!)

    Even if it’s family, you ask first. “Mind if I rummage through the fridge for something to eat?” or “How about I fix us a snack?” Unless you have a standing invitation to rummage, as you probably do at your mother’s. Even then, I always clear it with the host — what if I inadvertently wolf down some critical ingredient for her dinner that evening?? Oh, sorry about your family meal, sis… 😛

    Comment by jenny | April 14, 2011 | Reply

    • It’s funny because we have several friends where we are “like family” and if we ask permission are told to treat it as if we were at home. I would never think twice about taking something but I do at least acknowledge that hey I’m going to take something.

      Comment by Dani | April 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. Does your parent work for the public service? 🙂

    Not this one, no! Come to think of it, this is the second parent who’s done this. The last one worked for an NGO. So, no on both counts. 🙂

    Comment by billarends | April 14, 2011 | Reply

  3. I was going to suggest you check which stroller that family used — it sounds like someone who’d be a careless parker too. But then you said more than one person did it, so… the mystery continues.

    Only one family’s doing it right now. I had a different family do it a year or two back. I know who the careless parker is — not the same person!

    Comment by Jan | April 14, 2011 | Reply

  4. Oh my GoD! That drives me completely insane – when verbal children suddenly forget they have the ability to form sentences and adults just “interpret” for them. I’ve had plenty of talks with grandma and grandpa about the REQUIREMENT of language to convey meaning. UGH! It’s one of my hot buttons.

    But I guess the point of this post was the not asking. That sucks too. How inconsiderate!

    Oh, I mentioned it because it annoys me, too. It’s all about expectations. The parents are getting less than the child is capable of because they permit it. And why? The child is smart, smart, smart… and also, btw, has pretty good manners for the rest of the day…

    Comment by ktjrdn | April 14, 2011 | Reply

  5. Had a friend and her 11-year-old stay with us for a few weeks (very, very LONG weeks). Friend was in between jobs and basically homeless, so we opened our home to the two of them.

    I plan meals and snacks pretty carefully, and watch my budget. I provided three meals a day for everyone in the house. I also told friend and her daughter “here are apples, cheese sticks, oranges, bananas, crackers, raisins, granola bars and nuts, if you are hungry for a snack. Please, help yourselves to any of those things.”

    There was some rustling in the pantry, and friend’s daughter came out with the bag of (expensive) pistachios, which I had in a closed cupboard — they’re a special treat my husband adores.

    “Pweeeeeese, Mommy?” lisped the almost 12-year-old child (who has never lisped before or since) as she tilted her head to one side and blinked rapidly. My friend smiled indulgently and said, “Sure, honey. Just get a bowl for the shells.”

    I was appalled. Needless to say, their “visit” didn’t last perhaps as long as either would have liked.

    Good heavens. That is appalling. Both the baby-talk (ick) and the flagrant disregard of the guidelines you presented. (Unless they thought ‘nuts’ included the pistachios? But it sounds like you’d shown them the food available for snacking, and this wasn’t it.)

    Comment by Carolie | April 14, 2011 | Reply

  6. Well, since you ask… it doesn’t seem that bizarre to me, sorry. It’s a pad of paper. She took the top sheet of a pad of paper. I might ask, but it might not occur to me, because it doesn’t seem like a big deal. To me that’s like taking a tissue from a box of tissues without asking (which I also would do). Or I might use your pen, if I found it near the cubbies, without asking. Not take the pen, but use it to write something, like a cheque. Pen ink, post-its, tissues, all seem in the category to me of “things I’d take without asking.”

    But everybody’s entitled to their own pet peeves. Mine (total non sequitur here, but it happened today) is when my mother-in-law refers to my mother as “mum.” As in asking me, “When is Mum coming to visit?” Bleg. She’s not your mum, she’s no relation to you. Cut it out.

    I hear you on that one. To me, it sounds patronizing. You’d address a small child that way: “When is mummy coming?” You don’t address adults that way. (Going on a tangent… I wonder why you do it with small children? Probably because small children often don’t realize “mummy” isn’t her name.)

    As for the tissue/paper issue. Here’s the difference, as I see it.

    I have a box of tissue in the entry, and I don’t expect anyone to ask to use it. The tissue is there for everyone’s use, and everyone knows it. Moreover, the use of a tissue is generally a fairly urgent thing, and it’s everyone’s health and hygiene interests that a person use it when needed. So no, you don’t have to ask.

    The notepad is there for my use, and everyone knows what it’s for — and it’s not to entertain the children. Besides, if every kid took a page, coming and going, each day, I’d be going through two pads a week. That’s a bit much.

    Comment by nan | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  7. I would use one of those notes, post it next to the pad and write “sticky notes, 25 cents each.” Maybe they’ll get the idea that those aren’t freebies.

    Comment by Patti | April 18, 2011 | Reply

  8. Of course they expect the pages of the sticky pad to be for them…. I mean, don’t they “pay” for them (heavy on the sarcasm).

    I’ve been dealing with a similar situation with the family I work for. I work at their house, and they provide me a meal budget for myself and provide food for their child. Who has allergies, namely to eggs as it applies to this issue. The family rule is “if the baby can’t have it, no one can” (the “baby” btw is 21 months old.) One day the grandma was dropping off one of the cousins for me to watch when she commented on how good it smelled downstairs. I mentioned I had made my special green beans. “You Did share, right?”, was her reply. Ummm… They were MINE. Ya’ll provide your food, I buy food for myself and make meals for myself to eat, and have done so for over a year. The baby could care less. And when he points at my food and asks “bite, bite?” I point back at his and tell him “here’s your bites, these are mine.” And he scoops up another spoonful of his food, blythly unaware that I have just refused to share with him food from my own plate. Grandma would be horrified.

    Comment by Liz | April 18, 2011 | Reply

  9. Oh, thank you so much for posting this! This makes me feel so much better! One of the comments had mentioned what was the big deal and you replied that if every child took a heart everyday they wouldn’t last long. This happens a lot at my home. In the summer, I take a small ice chest with spare bottles of water or other drinks outside with us so that we don’t have to run inside every time a child runs out. I have families that show up and help themselves for drinks for the road, older siblings, etc. I wonder if they think that they have “paid” for it or something? It’s amazing what parents think is ok and why on earth, they can’t just say, No honey those are Mary’s notes, we can get some paper out for you when we get home?! It makes me want to visit their house and rummage through their deep freeze or something. 🙂

    Comment by chantelle | April 19, 2011 | Reply

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