It’s Not All Mary Poppins

At least they don’t shed

Grace has a new dog! Not a puppy, but a large, fluffy, golden-retriever mix. He’s three years old, and absolutely gorgeous. Got the wide, friendly golden face, and the easy-going disposition. They’ve had him a week.

Two days after his arrival in their home, this game started happening. That green mesh ball is one of Daisy’s dog toys. Tied to it is one of the laces from our lacing cards. But really? It is not a ball and a lace! Silly, silly people.

It is a DOG on a LEASH. Of course.

It follows her everywhere, it comes when it’s called. (A quick jerk on the lace leash ensures prompt arrival.) And it has an EVEN MORE IMPORTANT doggie feature!

Let’s look more closely. See, inside the ball? See that slip of paper? That slip of paper which Grace has carefully coloured, then torn to the right size? That slip of paper that fits inside the ball, but will sometimes, particularly when the doggie is running, it will sometimes fall out?

That is not a slip of paper! Silly, silly people!

That is POO. Because when you take them for walks, doggies POO!!! Really!

And then, being the responsible dog-mommy that she is, Grace picks up the poo. With another piece of paper that she has carefully folded, to be the “poop bag”.

This game is such fun! Mary laughs and laughs and laughs every time Grace plays it. Grace, and now Jazz, who, like any self-respecting toddler, will play any game that gets an adult’s so-rapt and joyous attention.

They make poo so they can pick it up. Hee.

Now I’m thinking. We’re out of playdough. Perhaps the next batch I cook up should be … brown?

September 25, 2012 Posted by | Grace, the cuteness! | , , | 5 Comments

Hello, mama!

“Hello, mama! You fine? You at work?”
Though it’s
“Hallo, daddy! We go to the store?”
been around
“Daddy, you gots gamma av you? You gots gamma atta airport?”
all along,
“Hi, mommy! Where you?”
it was only
“Mama? Mama, you b’ing me canny anite?”
“Dada! Dada, I wanna go onna horsie. You take me onna horsie?”
that the children
“Hello, mommy!… yes, I fine… yes, uh-huh… yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, bye!”
really noticed
“Daddy, where you? At work? In a plane? In a airport? You commin home soon?”
the toy phone.
“Daddy, I gots a booger!”

December 14, 2009 Posted by | the things they say! | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A day in the life

“We are going to be firemen!” William, in the way of four-year-olds, is organizing the play. Noah and Tyler are his enthusiastic fellow-firemen, each sporting a plastic red helmet. Noah’s and Tyler’s are, predictably, on in reverse, “FIRE CHIEF” emblazoned so that anyone behind them can see who they are.

Fire Chiefs in Mary’s house often wear their helmets backward. Shiny red baseball caps with a bold red bill out front. There are never any regular old firemen, either, only chiefs, though since none of the can read, this is less of a problem than it might otherwise be.

“We are going to be firemens, and this,” William waves the cardboard cylinder from an empty tube of wrapping paper in the air, “this is our hose.”

“Woo-woo!” Tyler hoots a siren noise. “Woo-woo, fire truck!”

“Yes, we will ride our fire truck to the fire, and we will put out the fire with this hose, and we will ride the fire truck back, and then we will all have a nap.”


Because we wouldn’t want our big, strong firefighters to miss their naps, now, would we?

December 2, 2009 Posted by | socializing | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Things you never expected to hear yourself saying

Part 184 654…

handTyler approaches, his arm extended, thumb and forefinger delicately pinched. His enormous blue eyes are round with sincerity as he presses his gift upon me.

I’m used to this. Tyler gives me all manner of beauteous things: flowers, trinkets, food… all of them presented like this, all of them formless and void.

I hold out my hand. What is it this time? Ice cream? A crown? Birthday cake? A puppy? A fire truck? He’s so sweet, Tyler.

Something lands in my palm.

Something very small, essentially weightless, mostly dry and pale, with a darker, damper streak at one end. Small and virtually weightless, but quite real. At the second I realize what what distinctively unbeauteous thing lies in my palm, before I flip my wrist and send it — this was probably a mistake — flying to land godknowswhere, I proclaim yet Another Rule of Civilized Living:

“DON’T give me your boogers! I don’t want them! Nobody wants somebody else’s boogers!”

And then I wash my hands.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | eeewww, Tyler | , , , , | 3 Comments

Persistence pays off

goulash“Would you like some goulash?” Anna tips the ‘pot’ (aka cowboy hat) which she has been stirring with a ‘spoon’ (aka rhythm stick) so that Timmy can see the ‘goulash’ (aka wooden puzzle pieces). Timmy loks up from the puzzle he’s completing, peeks into the pot and makes his decision.

“No, thank you.”

“Would you like some goulash?”

“No, thank you.”

“Would you like some goulash?”

“No, thank you.”

She’s hearing him just fine. Nor is there any misunderstanding. He’s answering cheerfully and very clearly, each and every time. But he is also giving the Wrong Answer. Anna tries yet again.

“Would you like some goulash?”

“No, thank you.”

Repetition is not working.

“Okay, I’ll make you some goulash!!!”

Because, come hell or high water, this boy is going to get some GOULASH, dammit! Timmy’s head come up from his puzzle yet again.

“Oh, you’re going to make me some goulash?”



Toddlers are just plain weird.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Anna, Timmy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I just work here

caution“FAAAAATTY-CAT!!” Timmy aims a two-handed shove at the substantially larger Nigel, and manages to set him back a pace. They grin gleefully at each other.

“FAAAAATTY-CAT” Nigel charges at Timmy, back arched, and they slam into each other, belly to belly. They both shriek with delight upon impact, staggering like a pair of miniature drunks around the living room.

“FAAAAATTY-CAT!!!” Nigel waits, tense with thrilled anticipation, for Timmy to take another almighty shove at him. They careen into a couch.

“Mary, we’re playing ‘fatty-cat’!!!” Timmy hollers at me.

Evidently. I have no idea what “fatty-cat!” means. Neither do they. (“Wherever did that come from?”, asked a bemused parent later that day. Only the depths of their imaginations, I’m sure, and the fact that “fatty-cat” is a collection of sounds that bounce nicely off the tongue, perfectly suited to a game where you bounce off your friend. Things don’t have to “come” from anywhere. A three- and a four-year-old are perfectly capable of making stuff up!)

(And who but a three or four-year-old could make this one up?)

I scan the room, assessing risk. The only sharp edges accessible to the kids are those of the brick fireplace. I shove a (soft, upholstered) chair in front of it. The worst that’s going to happen now is that they’ll fall over. I let them have at it.


Attracted by the uproar, the girls join in. Within 90 seconds, Anna is in tears.

“He pushed me, Mary! He pushed me and I fell dooooown!”

“Well, that’s the game, lovie. If you don’t want him to push you, don’t play the game. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. But if you decide to play, you’re going to get shoved.”

Well, that settles that. Anna trots off to the kitchen.


Twenty-three more seconds, and Emily approaches, wailing.

“I fell down and hurted myself!”

“I see that. You landed with a bump on your bum. But you know what? That’s what kind of game it is. If you want to play that game, you’re probably going to get bumped. If you don’t want to get bumped, you don’t have to play. But if you want to play, you can’t complain about a bump.”

“I want to play.”

“Okay, then, but no complaining about a little bump.”


“FAAATTY-CAT!” Emily belly-bumps Timmy right onto his butt.
“FAAATTY-CAT!” Timmy hip-checks Nigel.
“FAAATTY-CAT!” Nigel shoves Emily who dominoes into Timmy. They cling to each other, teetering, and land in a heap.

And Emily laughs into Timmy’s gleeful face.

It’s a seriously weird game, but they’re having fun. And learning to assess a small risk while they’re at it. (In case you’re wondering, Babies Noah and Tyler stayed with me. Gravity alone is enough of a challenge to their powers to remain upright just yet.)

I figure the Big Kids can play fatty-cat for another 4.3 minutes until I just can’t stand it any longer. Not the risk. Not the falling down. Not the crashing to the floor. Goodness, it’s only a bump or two at issue. No, no, it’s the NOISE. My LORD, the NOISE!


Because, worthy as it is to let them evaluate and experience risk, the risk to my sanity is even more real and immediate.


Four point two minutes…

March 13, 2009 Posted by | Anna, Emily, health and safety, Nigel, Timmy | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Have dress, WILL wed

bride1“Let’s get married, Timmy!”
“I don’t want to get married, Anna.”
“I have my wedding dress, see?”
“Oh, it is white and it has flowers on it.”
“Yes, it is my wedding dress. Let’s get married!”
“I don’t want to get married.”
“Let’s have a dance, Timmy.”
“We can have a dance, because we are gettiing married.”
“But I don’t want to get married!”
“Mary, we are getting married!”

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Anna, power struggle, Timmy | , , | 3 Comments

Lateral thinking

Anna has taken a fancy to our nesting/stacking cups these days. They have been out every day, hours at a stretch. Who says toddlers have short attention spans?

Oh, sure. When you want them to sit at the table for an entire meal, attention span is a problem. Try putting on socks or have that diaper changed, and there are forty-seven other things that must be done NOW!

But. Give them something riveting to do, something like putting the dog’s food, kibble by kibble, into the dog’s water, or stuffing 500 pieces of lego under the couch cushions? Anyone notice a whole lot of inability to focus when they’re trying to get your attention when you’re on the phone?

So… the stacking cups are big this week.

So far, they have been beds for her babies.
You think those are cookie cutters in there, I know.
You’d be wrong.
They are babies.
“Baby Mika, and Baby Boo-boo.”
I have no idea which is which.
I’m not sure Anna does, either.

They have been cups for lemonade.
Lemonade which needs much vigorous stirring with those spoons you see jutting out of the cups.
Spoons which miraculously morph into straws when the time comes to drink said lemonade.
You thought they were train tracks, I know.
You’d be wrong.

They have been sorting cups.
Red pigs in the red cup,
blue pigs in the blue cup,
green pigs in the green cup?
(I taught her how to sort.
I am so proud.)
I know, you thought those were bears.
You’d be wrong.

They have been stuffed full of playdough, and have been cakes and cookies and toads.
Cakes, cookies and toads all look like lumps of playdough stuffed into a cup to me.
I’d be wrong.
She ‘eats’ the cakes and cookies.
She shares them with her friends.
She does not eat the toads.
Nor does she share them.
She just pokes them full of holes with a pudgy finger.
“There, toad! And THERE!”

She lines them up on a stair,
and plonks herself down in front of them
(Yes, those are her jammies.
Some mornings are like that.)

And plays the drums.
You might think that’s a drumstick in her hand.
You’d be wrong.
It’s a rattle.
I might think she’s pretending the rattle is a drumstick.
I’d be wrong.
“I’m hitting the drums with a rattle,
because I don’t have a good drumstick.”

September 8, 2008 Posted by | Anna, quirks and quirkiness, random and odd | , , , , | 7 Comments

Innocence can be so cruel

It’s a Potato Head extravaganza at Mary’s! By virtue of diligent garage-scale scouring, Mary has no fewer than five large Potato Heads and eight mini ones, with accompanying accessories.

Odd to think that body parts — eyeballs, ears, hands and feet — could be accessories…

“Mine is going to bed now, so I’m going to put on her toes.” It is no surprise that Malli’s Potato Head is a girl, and even less of a surprise that she’s wearing a pink hat, pink hands, and pink nose. Sadly for Malli, there are no pink shoes. Nor even feet. The shoes are neon green, and the bare feet, orange.

People do not wear shoes to bed, so Malli is exchanging green shoes for orange bare feet. Nigel reaches across to remove Mrs. P’s hat, but Malli jerks it away, indignant. Apparently, people DO wear their hats to bed.

No, they don’t!
Do, too!
Do not!
Yes, they do!
Enough, you two.

The Potato Heads go to the store, they fix up an old house while living in a “fresh” one, they get their hair cut, they fight fires, they shoot robbers. Busy lives these Potato People live.

Then they get hungry. They want to eat. They are going to have a picnic! All the Potato Folk are ranged around a pink bear bag (non-directive toys are so much better for imaginative play!), awaiting their meal.

And what is on the menu for today’s picnic luncheon for the hungry Potato People?

French Fries!!!

July 31, 2008 Posted by | eeewww, the things they say! | , , | 6 Comments