I can’t think of a single profound thing my parents said. They were (and still are) bloody awesome parents but they showed love through their actions, not words. So I can’t remember any huge life lessons from my parents but I certainly remember plenty of the annoying things they used to say.
1. Don’t tread on your lip. How to crush a five year old’s soul in five words. This line used to completely infuriate me. As a kid, I could do great ‘sad face’, complete with hunched shoulders, downcast face and major bottom lip protrusion. And if I tried really hard, I could squeeze out tears too. It was emotional blackmail, not that I knew the term for it. But my parents did. So, with barely repressed giggles, they would tell me not to tread on my lip. It killed me.
2. Bread and Pullit. Have you heard of this delicious dish? It’s what my mum used to threaten to serve up for dinner on a regular basis. I don’t like surprises. I like anticipation. I love to look forward to things. Even small things, like what I’m having for dinner. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. About 7:30 every morning, I would ask mum what we were having for dinner that night. It’s only now that I’m the chief cook in my own household that I realise how completely annoying this question really is. Thinking of what to cook is harder than actually cooking it. Mum’s typical response was ‘We’re having breadandpullit’. For ages, I thought this was some exotic French meal; pullit sounds a lot like poulet, right. After a while I realised it was code for ‘Don’t ask or you’ll get nothing!’
3. Offer it up. The scenario would be this. I would ask mum or dad for a biscuit/barbie doll/bike (not everything started with ‘b’) and they would say ‘No’. And I would whinge. And they would say ‘Offer it up’. WTF?? I didn’t get it then, and I still don’t. Offer it up. Up to who? Offer what? I now think it’s something to do with sacrificing your desires for God or something similarly nonsensical to the 8 year old me, and come to think of it, the 35 year old me doesn’t get it either. Would God really have minded if I got a chocolate bickie? He would have been happy, I reckon.
4. Be Careful. This was actually my Nan’s favourite. She played it on high rotation whenever we saw her. She should have saved herself the breath. Kids aren’t about care. Hell, they don’t know how to do up their own shoelaces, let alone how to look after their own safety. Stupid thing is, I find myself saying it regularly to my own three year old as she walks along walls, climbs ladders at the playground and nearly treads on her baby sister’s head. Does it make a difference to her behaviour? Nope. Just makes me feel a little better. It’s a little tick against my parental responsibility chart, so if she does fall/break a limb/sit on her sister, I can at least feel assured that I did warn her not to.
5. I’m just resting my eyelids. Well that’s an L to the I to the E. If you’re snoring and drooling, you’re sleeping, not just resting your eyelids. Besides, eyelids don’t get tired. People do. Especially parents.
6. Because I said so. Inside every child is an inner-dictator. Actually, make that an outer-dictator. Kids make no secret of wanting to be the master of their own world, and yours. Being a parent is like being the boss of several cantankerous employers who like to answer back, a lot. (Sound familiar, Gen Y?). Kids just don’t seem to get the simple fact that parents are in charge. Yes, in this day and age, parents are supposed to reason and rationalise with their kids. I try. I do. But after my preschooler’s fifth ‘why?’ we are down to discussing the origin of the species. Sometimes it’s just easier to nip it in the bud and pull out the big, bad ‘B’ word.
Cassie Hamer is a freelance writer with a background in TV journalism and PR. You can follow her blog at www.mumplusmore.blogspot.com
What do you remember your parents telling you as a kid? Do you use any of these sayings yourself?