patter of little feet, the

patter of little feet, the

The presence of small children. This now usually ironic or satiric reference to the presence or imminent arrival of offspring was originally a bit of Victorian sentimentalism, as in Lord Ronald Sutherland-Gower’s Reminiscences (1883): “The patter of little feet, and the unconscious joyousness of children.”
See also: little, of, patter