Friday, July 11, 2014

The Problem With Mary Poppins

If I told you that when I got ready for work this morning everything went smoothly, you'd not only have to call bullshit because that never happens, but you'd fall asleep. Now if I told the truth about how I did not wake up because my alarm went off, but because my kids were fighting and that in my house, reffing their brawls trumps sleep and well being, I'd have your attention.

Could my morning have been worse? Yup. And it was. I loaded all my gear into the car and when I started it, I heard a sound that has the same power to turn my stomach as my alarm clock does at six-thirty on a Monday morning - the something is wrong with your car ding and you'd better clear your schedule for the rest of the day dong. It turned out that not only was my tire flat, but my rim was bent. Game over.

Since I had to take an involuntary, unpaid day off that will probably snowball me right into debt and foreclosure, I decided to create a new bog post for my site. But what to write? Stuck for ideas, I surfed the net, looking for creative ways to trim my hedges (as if!), updated my status on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn, and after much deliberation, decided that eight thirty is too early for a cocktail. And that's when it happened - the rest of the neighborhood emerged from their homes. I'm not like other people I know who take their morning coffee with milk, sugar, and the blinds rolled up so they can scan the street and criticize. I do research - my way of saying that I'm a writer and can manipulate words so I sound like I'm something other than a nosy voyeur into people's lives. 

I have a neighbor who was unhappily childless for a number of years. She's a social worker and provides therapy for young people and their families out of her home office. She used to think that she was the shit - the Mary Poppins of everyone else's kids - giver of gifts we wouldn't spring for and a sympathetic ear because we parents just don't get it.... Fast forward... to this morning or practically any morning for the past year or so and come sit next to me, in front of the window that faces her house:

Mary Poppins stands in her driveway, her long white prairie skirt and bushy hair whipping about in the wind, making her look like a witch, poised and ready to cast a spell. She screams into the backseat window of her car at a little girl that she adopted. The child is about two years old and is strapped into her car seat tightly, unable to flee from the verbal tirade she is subjected to on a regular basis.

Mary Poppins Evil Twin: What?! What?! I can't understand you! *pause* I can't understand anything you're saying!"

Two Year Old Car Seat Captive: "Cry, whine, garble."

Mary Poppins Evil Twin: "Did you brush your teeth?"

Two year old car seat captive: "Whine, garble, garble, whine, my hair."

Mary Poppins Evil Twin (still screaming while getting in behind the wheel): "What do you mean?

As the toddler pleads her case, while also desperately trying to crawl out of her car seat and escape back to the country she was adopted from, Mary Poppins pulls the car out sideways, but on a slant. She is blocking the driveway and part of the street. After putting it in park, she continues yelling.

Mary Poppins Evil Twin: "Shut up! Just shut up already!"

Mary gets out of the car and stands in the middle of the road so she can not only shout some more, but also so she can reach in - I'm sure to both muzzle her kid and to give the offending hair a yank - because when you're shrieking at a kid who can barely string together a sentence or poop in a toilet yet, you remember what's really important.

Mary Poppins Evil Twin: "There are no knots in your hair! This wouldn't have happened if you'd brushed it when I told you to!" 

She tore out of the driveway and down the street, still shouting.

So yeah, I listened... and I watched. Then I judged. It's part of the drama ritual - stop, stare, and critique while forgetting the time your kid dropped something on the floor and continued walking without picking it up. Questioning his IQ seemed to be the appropriate response to that situation at the time. Ask any parenting expert. 

*Be careful how you treat the kids, because MAYBE CHILDREN AREN'T INNOCENT AFTER ALL: Check out this short, but intense and thought provoking post.

CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States. 

You can now order SUKI in paperback at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE. 

CF Winn is the founder of Winning! Publications, a firm specializing in editing and promotion services for authors. Her latest project is the just released Trailer Trash, With a Girl’s Name, a hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy saddled with a girl’s name and forced into a nomadic existence. Order it now: 


Skinny And Single said...

Thank you for the mention in a HYSTERICAL post.

CF Winn said...

You're welcome. This is my life.... Thanks for reading!