As scary as it was to become a mother for the first time, I pretty much knew what my role was — to keep my child clean, well-fed and most importantly alive. I was so worried about failing on the latter part that I constantly checked my sleeping infant for breathing sounds and woke every half an hour to flip her over from her stomach to her back. At that time, though, I had no idea how many more titles would be added to my job description. When Marley grew into a toddler, I became a nurse, holding her hand to steady her during those first steps and cutting her food into such tiny, unchokable-sized pieces that she could barely pick them up.
When she turned three, I became a disciplinarian and professional food hider (grated zucchini can definitely be hidden in pancakes). When Marley was four, I added psychologist and referee to my resume, trying to mediate playdate behaviour and break up fights between her and her little brother. When she turned six I became a tutor helping with homework (God help me when we get to anything above addition and subtraction in math), seamstress (I’m talking about mending hems and replacing buttons here, so don’t get excited) and event planner, making sure every spare minute is packed with something fun or at least entertaining. I can’t wait to see what I get to add next year, although I know I’ll still be checking for breathing sounds every night until they’re at least 20!
An art lesson
Pierce: Marley, you are the best drawer in the whole wide world and I will show you how to draw my mans and my womanses and how to trace those things on the window.
Marley: Pierce, come here. I’m going to teach you how to draw a man because I’m the best drawer. Well, I’m not the best drawer of birds and horses, but I am a good artist.
During a hike in Avebury
Marley: I’m hot. [she drops her vest on the ground]
Dad: Pick that up. It’s your responsibility. You carry it if you’re hot.
Marley: Daddy’s not even going to carry my vest and that’s his job.
Dad: Pardon me?
Marley: It’s your job as parents to carry my things and to make your kids happy.
Random hotel conversation
Marley: When you go to jail when you are a bad teenager do you get to play with toys?
Marley: I love buffets. I want to marry buffets.
Mom: What’s so good about buffets?
Marley: They are so good. You can pick your own food and you don’t even need to order it.
Walking through a graveyard in Widecombe in Dartmoor Park, Devon
Marley: Pierce you are walking on a person.
Pierce: Daddy, I just felt a dead guy’s bump.
A conversation about potatoes
Pierce: I don’t even like potatoes.
Dad: Yes you do.
Pierce: No. I don’t like any potatoes.
Dad: You like French fries and they are made out of potatoes.
Pierce: No they’re not.
Dad: What are they made of then?
Pierce: French fries.
Pierce: Did you know that once I ate potatoes and I was so proud of myself because I don’t like them but I ate them anyway.
Asking about our old neighbour, Mr. Ola who is 104
Marley: Mommy, can we call Mr. Ola and ask him if he’s still alive?
Pierce: Mom, did I get a star today?
Pierce: why not?
Mom: Because you punched my camera.
Pierce: But you said when I’m angry I can punch a pillow and there weren’t any pillows around.
Trying to understand air bags
Pierce: If that car beside us bumped into us would the pillow pop out?
Dad: Probably not.
Pierce: Why not?
Dad: Because it probably wouldn’t hit us hard enough to make it pop out and we wouldn’t want it to pop out.
Pierce: Dad, pretend all of the cars in the whole wide world are in front of us and they crash into each other and the car in front of us bumps into us really hard. Would the pillows pop out?
Dad explains how he once crashed his car into the back of a police car
Pierce: Dad did the policeman have a dinosaur expert badge?
Dad: No. But he had a policeman badge.
Pierce: Why didn’t he have a dinosaur expert badge?
Dad: Well, he probably didn’t go to the museum and learn as much as you did about dinosaurs today.
Pierce: Dad, was the police car undercovered?
Dad: Nope. He was in a regular police car.
The highway rumble strip
Pierce: Dad, can you please drive with one wheel on the side again so we drive in the rumble strip?
Pierce: Yeah! That was totally awesome.
Pierce: Punching a T-Rex in the butt is dangerous because he could eat you up.
The rules of learning
Pierce: I think my teacher should start giving spankings to Tom.
Pierce: Because he is always naughty and he doesn’t listen.
Mom: What does he do?
Pierce: He forgets the rules to sit on the carpet, cross your legs, cross your arms, open your eyes and close your lips.
Mom: Why do you need to cross your arms?
Pierce: Because if you don’t you won’t learn.
Marley: I don’t cross my arms and I still learn.
Pierce: Miss Watson says if you don’t cross your arms and you fiddle you won’t listen and learn things.
Marley (while playing at my friend Virginie’s house)
Virginie: Sam, I saw you climb over the baby gate. You know better than that. If you do that again I’m going to give you a time out.
Sam: Well, Marley did it too.
Virginie: I didn’t see Marley so I’m going to have to trust that she knows not to do it.
Marley: You shouldn’t trust me.
Ageism at its peak
Marley: Mom, when you were young did taxis have those sticks out the front and the back?
Mom: Do you mean the chariots that they used hundreds of years ago?
Marley: Yeah. Did you have those?
Marley: Did you know that Mr. G is older than daddy?
Mom: I’m not sure about that Marley. How do you know how old he is?
Marley: He told us.
Mom: Okay, so how old is he?
Mom: Marley, does he look that old to you?
Marley: I don’t know.
Mom: Well, Mr. Ola is 104. Who looks older?
Marley: Mr. Ola.
Mom: So how old do you really think he is?
Marley: Maybe 78?