It’s Not All Mary Poppins

This and that

1. I’ve been writing again. If you want to pop over and see (it’s only 400 words long!), you can find it here. You can even leave a comment over there, if the subject interests you! Oh, and give me some stars. (And, surprise! It’s not about sex. For once.)

2. The following is an IM chat between Emma and a friend. (No, I wasn’t reading over her shoulder. She told me about it. Which is why the spelling, punctuation, and grammar are sound…)

Zach: What’re you doing?
Emma: Painting!
Zack: What?
Emma: The dining room.
Zach: How much are you getting paid?
Emma: I’m not.
Zach: Oh, is it one of those “Family Responsibility” things?
Zach: Wow…

(It gives me great satisfaction to know that my daughter’s friends also come from families who expect teen participation, not for money, not for bribes, but because it’s part of being in a family. YOU GO, Zach’s parents!!)

3. Darcy came to the door yesterday with his dad, because he wanted to visit Mary, and then was completely tongue-tied with delight, and barely managed to squeeze out a quiet word or two. But his smile? Delectable. The boy is beyond sweet.

4. I had to open a new tin of paint on the very last wall, and an hour later, there was a VERY visible line – across the top third of one wall. UGH. SO, the ‘very last wall’ became the SECOND LAST wall, because the whole damned thing had to have another coat put on. And if this means that I will have to give the WHOLE DAMNED ROOM another coat, I will be seriously pissed off annoyed.

5. I am thrilled and delighted, however, that in another hour I will be able to move the china cabinet and the piano back to their proper places, and move the HUGE MOUND OF STUFF that is currently filling my dining table, cluttering the room, and oppressing me no end – back into the cabinet. The thought of having the dining room Back To Normal is very motivating…

6. I am also thrilled and delighted that tomorrow my eldest is coming to visit for three days. I miss her! AND, she’s all excited about the painting, so maybe she can help with the living room!!!! If I don’t have it done by 4:30 tomorrow afternoon, when her bus comes in.

7. I will reward myself for all my hard work later this afternoon, when I go downtown to meet my sweetie and we will have a chiller. Mmmmmm….

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Darcy, holidays, my kids, parenting | 8 Comments

Well, that’s a relief!

George and Darcy play hockey. George swings the puck towards Darcy. “We are very old, but we’re not in heaven yet, so we can play hockey.”

Darcy likes this idea. “Yeah, we’re old.”

“Does that mean you can’t play hockey in heaven?” I ask, casually. Yes, I am playing with their heads, shit-disturber that I am. Shut it.

The boys stop playing, stand upright in consternation. It’s a Radical Thought. Heaven without hockey? Impossible! A place without hockey is, by definition, That Other Place. What a conundrum. Is there a solution?

Yes! and George knows it. “Oh, yes you can! There’s ice on the clouds!”


© 2006, Mary P

August 24, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, George, random and odd | 11 Comments


For those of you who are missing Arthur stories, here are a few from the draft file:

Arthur sits on the floor, reading Calvin and Hobbes with Darcy. The boys discuss the pictures, and every so often Arthur will ask, “What’s this word, Mary?” He never wants to know the plot; he’s disinterested in the dialogue, just picks out the occasional word at random. It takes me a few repetitions to see that there is in fact a pattern: Arthur is asking about all the words that look


Even in print, the boy likes loud.

Arthur: Mary, I want to say something to you.
Mary: Well, Arthur, I don’t want to listen right now.
Arthur: [pause] Well, I’ll just say it, then.

And, for the true Mary’s place afficianado, here’s an Arthur-and-Darcy:

Arthur: I love you, Darcy.
Darcy: I love you, too, Arthur.
Arthur: I love you, Darcy.
Darcy: I heard you the first time, Arthur.
Arthur: I love you, Darcy.
Darcy: Arthur! If you don’t stop that, I won’t love you any more!

© 2006, Mary P

July 14, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy | 13 Comments

Mary Drops the Ball. Or Maybe the Sock.

In the summer, my fridge pees on the floor.

Why not? Everyone else around here has probably done it at least once. Well, everyone under three feet tall, which does not include the fridge.

Generally I take the proactive step of placing a cleaning rag on the floor in the usual spot before I go to bed at night. In the morning, the cloth reminds me not to step there, and has absorbed the puddle, which usually occurs overnight. No idea why.

(Yes, I could take the even more proactive step of having the fridge FIXED, or even of BUYING A NEW ONE!! I know that. But those would cost, like, MONEY, people. (Urgh. Had a house of teens here yesterday. Like, can you tell?) With kids dropping out of the daycare left, right, and centre and two spaces unfilled for September, I am not spending money unless it’s essential. Despite its piddling propensities, the fridge keeps things cold just fine. Thus, money spent here is non-essential.)

Course, it’s been dousing the floor annually for a couple of years now…


The fridge has once more baptized the floor, but this day I have forgotten the cloth. Of course, George steps in the puddle.

We take him to the front hall in which are nested their little storage bins, and pull him out a fresh pair of socks. Off with the wet, on with the dry. As I pull the second sock up, Darcy trots over, a trail of wet footprints behind him.

“Mary, I stepped in a puddle.” Of course he did.

The boys, all three of them, were playing together in the kitchen. Darcy saw George step in the puddle. You’d think someone would have learned a lesson here. Vicarious learning, she ain’t happening this morning. Of course, I’ve been doing this for years. You think I’d have seen this coming – learned my own lesson, in fact! But no. Two boys have wet socks.

It gets worse. Darcy is here with his wet socks, and — I GET HIM DRY SOCKS! WHAT am I THINKING?

Peel off the wet socks, and find new socks for Darcy. Am just pulling on the second dry sock, when… you know this is coming, don’t you?

Arthur appears, a trail of wet footprints behind him.

“Mary? Mary…”

June 30, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy, George, Mischief | 7 Comments


Today is Arthur’s last day. You can forgive me if this news is not unmixed with just a smidge of glee. Tomorrow is Katie’s last day. I will miss Katie and her cheerful good nature, but I will NOT miss her dad, so again, not an unmixed blessing. On Monday I start a new baby, little Ki-woon, who will only be with me for the summer. He seems a sweet child, and I’m looking forward to his start day on Tuesday.


Tomorrow is Darcy’s last day.

Please share with me a moment of silent mourning.

Oh, I will miss that boy! How I will miss him. No more sneaking grins of brilliant humour, belly laughs at things that pass the others by. No more dry putting-things-in-perspective comments. Who else will have his sturdy gentleness? Who else will be that oasis of calm in the midst of toddler storms? Even when Darcy cries, he does it gently. The boy’s graduation is going to leave a hole in the fabric of my days.


June 29, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, daycare, the dark side | 17 Comments

So Who’s Who? Take a Guess!

Me: Where is Boy 1?
Boy 2: He’s sleeping on the kitchen floor.
Me: He IS? [looking into kitchen] Um, no he’s not.
Boy 1: Here I am!
Boy 2: Are you awake?
Boy 1: Well, what do you think? I have my eyes open and I’m standing right here.
Boy 2: I think you’re sleeping.

June 23, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy | 11 Comments

A Rather Shitty Situation

The sweet little birdies nesting in our porch? The birdies whose cheeping greets the dawn, whose wee fluffy babies’ pink-puffy-heart cheeping fills the early morning air? The mommy and daddy birds whose industrious nurturing entertains and educates the tots on a daily basis? Those birds?

They have developed diarrhoea. Yes. Birdie trots. Shit on wings.

I step out my front door first thing in the morning, and the shittage – it’s astonishing. The chair (metal, thank God) is spattered with white and black. The rail behind said chair is encrusted with a solid layer, and the porch deck? The porch deck has been strafed. White splats, each with its lumpen black nucleus, dot the entire porch.

Something has to be done.

Back into the house, haul out a rarely-used bucket. While it fills with steaming hot soapy water, dig out the rubber gloves and cleaning rags. Which will be turfed immediately after use. This is no time for environmentally friendly reusing, nuh-uh, but paper towels sure won’t be up to this job.

Pick up the bucket and swing it out of the sink, only to be reminded why this particular vessel has been unused for so long. It’d be that inch-wide hole in the bottom. Yes. The tots scamper into the kitchen at my cry of dismay.

“Why is your dress all wet, Mary?”

Quick empty foundering bucket into the sink. Mop floor. Go upstairs. Change. Return to kitchen with new, hole-free bucket (aka the plastic garbage bin from the bathroom).

Out we all go to the porch, tots, bucket, rags, rubber gloves, and cordless phone. “I’m going to clean this bird poop up, guys. You play on that side, all right?” (This is a treat. My neighbours have to put up with a lot without surrendering their territory to the marauding tots, so I’ve taught the children that they’re never to go onto the other side. No problem keeping them there, then – forbidden fruit, and all that.)

Don the rubber gloves (which will also be turfed immediately after this vile task is over), commence to scrub. As my avian friends chirrup happily overhead. While I’m scrubbing, Darcy arrives in his dad’s bike trailer.

“Hey, Darcy!” George’s clear, high voice carries effortlessly across the street. “Hey, Darcy! Wanna come watch Mary clean up the bird poop?”

Darcy doesn’t hear over dad’s snort. “WHAT?”


This he hears. So do a couple of neighbours. Heads pop around porch railings. Ho, ho, ho. This is even better than the burning taco incident.

“Bird poop??? OH, YEAH!!!”

Do I know how to entertain the tots, or what?

A few minutes later, the task is complete. I throw now filthy water into the garden, toss rags and gloves into the bucket, herd the tots into the house, and reach for the cordless phone.

Which has a huge dollop of bird shit right on the earpiece.

Those sweet wee puffs of fluff just better get some feathers and flight lessons in pretty damned quick, because my clock, she’s ticking… Lucky for them that I am fundamentally incapable of harming a baby of any description. So far.

June 19, 2006 Posted by | Darcy, eeewww, George | 12 Comments

Today’s Snippet

D: I will be Jesus.
A: I will be da Mother!
G: I will be the Were-Rabbit!
A: He’s not in the Jesus book!
G: No, he’s in Wallace and Gromit.
D,A: Okay.

May 31, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy, George, the things they say! | 5 Comments

Raising the Bar

We go for a walk. (Long-time readers, bear with me, as I explain the set-up.) The smallest, least trustworthy ones ride in the stroller; the middlers hang on to either side, and the big, trustworthy kids get to let go. If they’re very good, they get to “run ahead” on the sidewalk.

Now, even though he’s four now, Arthur has never been allowed to run ahead. He’s too distractable, too impulsive, and, when he’s involved in an activity – leaping out in front of a truck, say – he doesn’t respond when he’s spoken to. So, no running ahead for Arthur. Until today. At four, it’s time I raised the bar on him a bit. It may be easier for me to have him hanging on to the stroller, but he needs to learn to be a bit more independent. I’m going to have to – take a deep, brace-myself breath – going to have to give the child enough independence to develop some Common Sense. (Stop snickering. It’s not kind. Oh, that’s me…)

I confess my hopes are not too, too high. But a caregiver’s got to do what a caregiver’s got to do…

We are on a very quiet street leading down to the river. Almost, but not quite, a dead end. I see about one car a week on this stretch, which is just about the right level of risk for this endeavour.

“All right, Arthur. You and Darcy may walk ahead, if you stay close together.”

Arthur’s eyes widen in surprise. “I can let go?” Darcy’s hazel eyes are no less wide.

“Yes, you may, as long as you stay close to Darcy. You must walk close to Darcy, and when Darcy stops, you stop, all right?”

This to assure that the boy will stop when instructed. If he doesn’t hear me, Darcy will stop. Solid, reliable Darcy can be his bodyguard. Best to have as many layers of protection for Arthur as possible.

Arthur evidently feels that “staying close” means holding hands. He clasps Darcy’s hand in his. The two boys trot ahead of me. Do you know how heart-stoppingly cute tots holding hands are? I walk down the street with a perma-grin, watching their little stocky bodies, dimpled elbows, chubby hands joined. Heart-stopping, I tell you.

Heart-stopping for me, bruise-inducing for poor Darcy. Within half a dozen paces, Darcy is fending off elbows, dodging feet, having his arm wrenched repeatedly by the uncoordinated and oblivious Arthur. Uncoordinated, but with a death grip on Darcy’s hand. Darcy can dodge, but he can’t escape.

“Arthur,” I call. They are only a few paces ahead of me, so I don’t need to shout. “Arthur, please let go of Darcy’s hand and just walk close to him.”

There is no response. Darcy tries to pull his hand free, but it’s just not happening. I raise my voice. Not a shout, but the penetrating tones of an actor projecting to the back row.

“Ar-thur.” Pause a beat for the name to sink into the consciousness. “Arthur, please let go of Darcy’s hand and just walk close to him.”

No response. If the boy doesn’t loosen his grip soon, Darcy is going to start gnawing at his own wrist, I can see it in his eyes.

Arthur!” Now it’s a snap. “What did I just say to you?” This penetrates. He looks up. He knows he’s in trouble, he wants to cooperate, but “what did I say”?? What did she say? Did she say something? Is this some kind of trick question?

Darcy leans in and bumps the boy with his shoulder. This seems to jolt Arthur’s memory into gear. He starts to speak.

“Please let go…” Arthur starts, then pauses.

Darcy bumps him again. Their heads brush. Darcy’s lips move. Arthur starts again.

“…of Darcy’s hand, and just…”

More jostling, More head-to-head. More lips from Darcy.

“…walk close to him.” Arthur looks up at me, beaming. He did it! With a little help from his friend.

“That’s right, Arthur. Thank you for helping him, Darcy.”

Arthur’s smile is wide and content, happy to have successfully met the challenge. I smile back at him. There is a small pause of expectation. Darcy and I wait. Arthur continues to beam. From Darcy’s mouth to Arthur’s ear and out his mouth, the brain was left out of the loop entirely.

“Please let go of Darcy’s hand,” I say, detaching Arthur with a bit of a jerk, “and just walk close to him.” Darcy’s poor hand is mottled pink and white from all the squashing.

I don’t know. Is increasing this child’s independence a good thing? Never mind Arthur’s safety, is the world safe from Arthur? Somehow I fear there’s just not enough body armour out there.

May 26, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy, health and safety, outings, quirks and quirkiness | 16 Comments

If the Elastic Doesn’t do the Trick, we Can Put this Roof on his Head So he Can Know What God looks Like

George and Darcy peer over the baby gate at the top of the basement stairs. Given its location, it is a custom-made, high, solid, thick slab of wood with heavy-duty hinges and a substantial bolt. We’re taking no chances on a tumble down those rail-less stairs to the concrete floor below. Probably because it’s such forbidden territory, the basement fascinates with mystery and horror.

George and Darcy discuss. Random boy (aka Arthur) “converses”, too. It would be too generous to say that he “joined” the conversation, but perhaps we can say he “inputted” into the conversation. (We could say that, though the English major in me recoils from it. Still, the word conveys the reality (surreality?) of the conversation reasonably well…)

G: There’s an inky, stinky monster in the basement.
A: Let’s go build a house with the blocks.
D: A monster?
G: Yes, and we have to kill it.
A: A house with a door and a window and a roof.
D: How do you kill a monster?
A: Put a roof on top.
G: With this (elastic), but he’s not dead yet.
A: A tower in the corner.
G: Oh, he’s dead now.
D: Is he sad? Is he sad because he’s dead?
G: No, he’s not sad because now he knows what God looks like.
A: I winned!
G: No, I winned!
D: No, we all winned!
G,A: YEAH!!!

The End

May 25, 2006 Posted by | Arthur, Darcy, George, random and odd, the things they say! | 6 Comments