It’s Not All Mary Poppins

These things are relative…

I sit at the dining table, reading, and munching on some illicit almonds. Illicit, because almonds are not something the children can eat, meaning, I can’t share. Meaning, such eating had really best be done under cover of darkness. Far, far from the children.

However, the only child up at the moment is Gwynn. The littles are all sleeping. I made sure that Gwynn was utterly engrossed in her blocks over there in the living room before I quietly sat down here, in the dining room, so I’d say that I’m —

“What you eating, Mary?”

Damn. Busted.

There is no point in lying about it. She can see me chewing. She can hear me crunching. I wonder if the crunching is what drew her attention, in this quiet house? From the other room? Over the clink and clunk of her blocks? With her back to me??? (Seriously. How do they know?)

(More to the point: why do I ever think I can get away with it? After all these years, it borders on delusional.)

But I’m not sharing. First, she’s had her snack, before the littles started their nap. Second, almonds are not safe for a two-year-old. Technically, they shouldn’t be getting whole nuts until they’re four, because of the risk of choking. (In fact, when I was a young mother, my pediatrician said five was the magic number.) I did not wait that long with my own kids. I took into consideration their teeth: obviously, kids without molars don’t get little crunchy esophagus-blocking morsels. I took into consideration their eating styles. Kids who madly cram food in did not get nuts (I had at least one of those). Kids who take little bites and chew slowly (I had at least one of those!) got nuts. So I honestly don’t remember how old they were when they first got nuts, but I do know it wasn’t the five years old my doctor was suggesting.

However. That was my own kids. With other people’s kids, I am much more careful. Gwynn only turned two a couple of months ago. Not even close.

“I am eating almonds, sweetie.” I show her the nuts in my hand. “But you can’t have almonds, my dear, because you could choke on them. They are dangerous for you. You can’t have almonds until you are five years old.” I pause to let that sink in. She pauses, to see if I’m about to change my mind. “How old are you, Gwynnie?”

She grows still as she considers. Her brilliant, pale blue eyes widen, her face is framed by wisps of white-blond hair. She speaks in careful, sincere, measured tones. She knows she just has one shot at this, and she’d better make it good. Her voice rings with conviction and sincerity as she assure me,

“I am old, Mary!”

She didn’t get any nuts.

She did get a giant, laughter-filled hug before being sent on her way, though.




November 4, 2014 - Posted by | food, Gwynn, health and safety, the things they say! | ,


  1. Oh, to be back when 2 was old! Actually, I rather like 38. If only it didn’t come with perimenopaus-like symptoms…

    Comment by Jackie | November 13, 2014 | Reply

  2. Very cute 🙂

    Comment by Day Care Springfield il | November 20, 2014 | Reply

  3. Adorable!

    And yes….delusional that you thought you’d get away with that. My two can hear the crinkle of a chocolate wrapping from the other side of the house.

    My three year old will insist that he is ‘Big Big’ if there is any dispute about what he can do compared to his 7 year old big brother. In a twist that only pre-schoolers can sucessfully achieve, he is also “Just Little” whenever he wants to be picked up.

    Comment by Tammy | December 2, 2014 | Reply

  4. great read!

    Comment by Adanma | July 17, 2015 | Reply

  5. I miss you, I check every once in awhile to see if there is anything new.

    Comment by Judy Hershey | March 26, 2016 | Reply

  6. I love when children answer you with those type of responses. I am a current daycare provider and I always try to hide stuff when I am eating, but I have gotten to the point that I just don’t care. I try to eat when they do and not snack, but if I need a snack I dont hide it and I find that when I don’t hide they are less likely to ask to join me than if they see me hiding something.

    Comment by kathleencornelldaycare | December 28, 2016 | Reply

  7. Dear Mary, you are missed.

    Comment by Q. | May 3, 2017 | 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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: