I just read a fun post by Irene over at Our Little Piece of the World which talked about sneaky methods for getting your kids to do what you want. The post really tickled my funny bone because I do the same things with Csilla all the time. She is already a very competitive kid (I wonder where she gets that from?) and I exploit it mercilessly. If I ask her to brush her teeth it's a no-go, but if I tell her that I'm going to brush my teeth faster than her... well then Csilla is all over a toothbrush before I can say rubber-baby-buggy-bumper.
The same goes with food. As I've mentioned before, Csilla is an extremely picky eater. I have a terribly hard time getting food into her that is more exciting than a plain spaghetti noodle with no sauce. You may even recall that I sneak vegetables into her meals?? Occasionally I'll convince Csilla to try something new by suggesting that she can't do it - that she is physically unable to eat a piece of broccoli. Csilla will almost always rise to the challenge, even if she spits it out two seconds later.
Which leads me to the reason for this post...
I told Irene that while I was reading her post Sneaky Methods I was reminded of a wonderful poem by the amazing Canadian author Dennis Lee. If you're Canadian, you probably don't remember a childhood without Alligator Pie or Garbage Delight. Certainly I don't. Dennis Lee's childish poems are silly and irreverent and quintessentially Canadian with many references to Canadian locales and Canadian past times (specifically hockey, eh!) If you've never read one of Dennis Lee's books to your kids, I couldn't recommend it more highly. Csilla is just getting to the age where she can really appreciate Dennis Lee's ridiculous rhymes and the wonderful illustrations by Frank Newfeld (in my 35-year old copies of Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight). The books are delightful, whimsical and perfect. They recently released an anniversary edition of Alligator Pie with the original illustrations, but unfortunately the new editions of Garbage Delight feature illustrations by a different artist. Grrrr. I'm currently tracking down a used copy of Garbage Delight so that when my brother has a child we won't be fighting over who gets to keep our jointly-owned-Frank-Newfeld-illustrated copy at their house.
(Which, interestingly enough, is also signed by the author because when I was about three or four Dennis Lee came to our local library for a reading. It's one of my earliest memories!)
Anyway, without further ado, I'd like to share with you one of my all-time favourite childhood poems called Tricking, by Dennis Lee:
When they bring me a plate
Full of stuff that I hate,
Like spinach and turnips and guck,
I sit very straight
And I look at the plate
And I quietly say to it: “YUCK!”
Little kids bawl
Cause I used to be small,
And I threw it all over the tray.
But now I am three
And I’m much from like me –
I yuck till they take it away.
But sometimes my dad
Gets terriffickly mad,
And he says, “Don’t you drink from that cup!”
But he can’t say it right
Cause he’s not very bright –
So I trick him and drink it all up!
Then he gets up and roars;
He stomps on the floor
And he hollers, “I warn you, don’t eat!”
He counts up to ten
And I trick him again:
I practically finish the meat.
Then I start on the guck
And my daddy goes “Yuck!”
And he scrunches his eyes till they hurt,
So I shovel it in
And he grins a big grin.
And then we have dessert.
Also - For some reason I remember how, as a child, I always loved that they italicised part of terriffically just to emphasise the word. Funny the things you remember from your childhood, eh?
So, tell me... are you familiar with Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight? And if so, which were your favourite poems? Aside from Tricking, I also loved On Tuesdays I Polish My Uncle and of course, Alligator Pie.
(BTW - be sure to check out Irene's blog because she's an amazing photographer too! Double bonus.)