Friday, May 21, 2010

The Things We Tell Our Children...

The other day while at a family gathering, my nephew sat with his chin propped in his hands and the corners of his little mouth pulled down into a frown. When my daughter asked him what was wrong, he commented the other kids had teased him about all his freckles. She tousled his hair and told him he should like his freckles because those were angel’s kisses. Of course the child rolled his eyes and looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. Then he asked me if he could have an extra piece of cake since the other kids had been so mean. I even added ice cream.

This conversation reminded me of some of the tales I’d been told while growing up. So, I thought I’d list them here.

1. Don’t cross your eyes. They’ll get stuck like that.

2. Cats eat mice head first so they can use the mouse’s tails for a toothpick.

3. The sound of thunder is Thor throwing his hammer. (I must have Scandinavian ancestry somewhere.)

4. The sound of thunder is the angels bowling. (This was from the other side of the family.)

5. I found you under a cabbage leaf. (No one in my family even said the “S” word much less ever committed the act.)

6. When I was young and saw a pregnant woman, I was told she’d swallowed a watermelon seed. (See item number 5.)

7. You can’t have coffee. It will stunt your growth. (My aunt must’ve had a lot as a child. She’s just 4’8”)

Were you told any stories as a child?


  1. The only thing that comes to mind is "Don't sit too close to the TV. You'll go blind."

  2. Children should be seen and not heard.
    Close the door! Were born in a barn? Knowing full well she had me in a hospital.
    That's all for now.

  3. I heard a variation on #1. Don't make a face, it will freeze that way. And clean your plate, children in Europe are starving. I'm sure there were many more but I can't think of them now.

  4. How could I forget the infamous "Don't sit too close to the tv" or "Born in a barn"? I heard those both many times myself. Thank you, ladies! :)

  5. Yep! Clean that plate! I remember that one too. :)

  6. I heard #1 and #4, especially #4.

    My dad would say, "Close the door. I'm not paying to heat/cool the entire neighborhood." Or something to that effect. Another dadism: "When I build a house there's going to be an iron fence around the tv so no one can sit closer than 6 feet." Or something to that effect.

    A babysitter told us that if we continued to make pig snorting sounds the inside of our noses would cave in.

    A friend's sister told us that breasts were mosquito bites and the more you scratched the bigger they got. (Didn't work.)

    When it was time for me to go to kindergarten a big kid told me that the kids who went to afternoon kindergarten would have to go to night school for the rest of their lives. So, of course, I opted for morning kindergarten. Yup. I was gullible. I also believed the bigger kids who threatened to stick me into a gumball machine so they could get some gum. Yup. I'm that old. Back then you could get stuff out of the gumball machine for a penny.

  7. I like to use Bill Cosby's line when my kids (middle school age) are being real pains: "I brought you into this world; I can take you out of it!"

  8. I used to tell my kids that the tooth fairy took their baby teeth and gave them to new babies who didn't have any yet. Who knew the tooth fairy was a recycler? A Green fairy!

  9. If you cross your eyes and someone hits you in the back they will stick that way.
    If you crack your knuckles they will grow huge. Nope neither one! LOL

  10. What an entertaining post, Maeve! I enjoyed it. All the favorite sayings are already here, but I'll add the classic, "Because I said so!"

  11. Oooh, my mother used some of those...and I've used a few myself.

    And I have to agree with Pat, "Because I said so..." Usually a favorite of mine since I don't try to sugar coat much....I just try to explain in better terms...until I lose patience :D