It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Fun? Wow!

Table Manners for Safety!!!

I am all about the education of children. Thoroughly invested in the formation of young minds and characters. It is, you might even say, my life’s calling. Healthy bodies, healthy minds.

I teach kids to eat their veggies, to use their words, to sleep, to share, not to hit, bite, scream, kick, nor eat their friends’ boogers. I keep them safe from injury, both accidental and intentional. (cf above, ‘no hitting’.)

I have spent years of my life not feeding nuts to toddlers. I have created untold miles of apple peels. I have cut food into mountains of bite-sized morsels. I have taught children to take one bite at a time — ONE! And to swallow the first bite before they cram the next one in there.

And yet through all of this care and caution and training, I have never once found it necessary to let my children know that eating is serious business. Never once.

One pictures the children of the parent successful in this eating-is-serious-business training, sitting very quietly around a table, staring nervously at the potentially deadly items mummy has so lovingly dished out on their plates.

Um. Except… Food is fun. Eating is pleasure.

Oh, but that’s not all! You can “create fun placemats with [your children] that contain key choking prevention messages.”

Fun… choking prevention messages. I don’t know that those words belong in the same sentence. Call me crazy, but I don’t see any “fun” in “choking prevention messages”. Can you just picture the visuals an 8-year-old would draw? Whee, fun. That’s what I’d like staring me in the face with each lift of my fork, uh-huh, uh-huh.

(Mind you, they mightn’t be bad strategy for any adults around the table who are trying to lose weight.)

It’s important to teach our kids how to eat safely. It is. But you know, I really think that good manners — don’t wolf your food, take small bites, chew thoroughly and with your mouth shut — pretty much cover ‘choking prevention’ … and without the disturbing visuals.

Polite eating is safe eating! Polite eating isn’t nauseating! And mealtimes can still be fun, even…

July 19, 2011 Posted by | food, health and safety | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Be still, my heart


It’s hard to write the sound of a child gasping for air and not getting it, the sound of a child struggling to breathe, unsuccessfully.

It’s probably not hard for you to imagine the cold jolt of terror that shoots down my spine and bursts open in my gut when I hear it. How my heart stops for a second, and I freeze in my tracks. How my eyes widen as I — quick, quick, quick — scan one face after another!

One happy, healthy, pink-cheeked face. After another.


Rory smiles at me. Little Rory who has a vocabulary of about 12 words right now. Little Rory, previously the Silent One, is just emerging into the wonderful word of words … and sounds. And hey! Isn’t that just the COOLEST sound, Mary? That I just learned to make? And that I will spend the rest of the day practicing? Over and over again?????

And every time I hear it, EVERY TIME, I get the same cold jolt of terror. And I always check. Of course. Only now I start with Rory.


Oh, lordy. I’m not sure my heart will survive this phase…

December 8, 2010 Posted by | Mischief, Rory, the things they say! | , , , , | 7 Comments