Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Things My Parents Used to Tell Me

Growing up, did your parents ever say funny things to you? Myths. Little tricks to keep you from doing something, or bribes to get you to do something else. Did they tell you these "big made up stories" or wives tales that you believed for many many years? You may still. I'm sure most people even grew up still thinking some of those things were true, and I bet others even went on to pass it along to their children.

My siblings and I will find ourselves in conversation over the phone, or over Christmas dinner, laughing about bits and pieces of our childhood and the things that our parents used to say to us.

For us, these were actually happy memories and surprisingly...I wasn't scarred by this whole idea of parents "lying" to their children.

Here are a few off the top of my head:

1. Don't drink the creek water. Tadpoles swim in there and will take over your insides.

2. Watermelon seeds. Make sure you spit them out. If you don't, you will have watermelons growing in your belly. Anytime I had a belly ache when I was older {we are talking pre-teens here}, I truly believed that I had a watermelon growing inside me. I didn't want to actually ask my mom if this was true because by asking would be me admitting that I did in fact eat the seeds.

3. Umbrella. Don't open one in the house. If you do, you'll have bad luck. Life will rain on you.

4. Stepping over someone. Don't do it. If you do, they will not grow.

5. Peeing in pool. I'm pretty sure everyone was told this at one point or another when swimming in a public {or private} pool. No peeing allowed. If you pee, it will turn red and everyone in the pool will know that you did it.

6. Swallowing gum. Always spit it out. If you don't, it will only accumulate throughout the years and then a doctor will have to go in and do surgery to remove the pile of gum. I also remember my brother having some sort of surgery when I was little and my mom telling me "It's because he swallowed too much gum." Needless to say, I never swallowed another piece ever again.

7. Don't lick knives. It brings on bad luck/bad health. Something bad.

8.  Don't let other girls try on your engagement ring. Bad luck for the marriage.

I'm trying to think of more, but of course whenever you sit to think about something, it doesn't exactly come to you. Not the way you want it to, at least. I'm even tempted to call my mom and ask her. She'll probably think I'm crazy and tell me all of those things are real truthful statements. And me, at 27, will probably still believe her.

The other day I was trying to get Elli to get in the car and she was of course pre-occupied with something, and that's when I told her that if she didn't get in the car the spider on the ground would eat her. She giggled, and her distraction miraculously went away and just like that she got in the car. I thought to myself...did I just lie to her? Truly, I battled this one for a moment. A brief moment. And then I quickly realized how serious this world has become. And how foolish for me to fall into this trap of being some perfect mom trying to raise some perfect child and doing it in the most perfect way. And that telling her a spider will eat her will result in her growing up to hate me one day. At three, she knew better than that. I imagine at 27---she will then too.

I mean, for goodness sakes, telling your children about the idea of Santa is a big fat lie and it is viewed as "damaging" to the child and your relationship with that child. Really? That's what our world has come to? That the idea of a Santa is going to be the deciding factor on what will or will not damage our children? What about everything else out there. Does none of that matter? We are going to base their future simply one a fib, a "lie," a tradition that brings families together and provides moments of bonding? What about x,y, and z.

Andrew and I have had the conversation about "lying to our children" and we have always said that we will be 100% honest when they ask us questions. This includes Santa--if they ask, we tell, if they don't ask we keep on pretending. If they ask about what sex is---we tell {what is age appropriate at the time}. If they ask us about something bad that happened to someone else---we tell {what is age appropriate at the time}. Another thing we have said from day one is that we won't say the words "I promise..." as that is something that we never want to not be able to do if something were to occur. Other than that? Watermelon seeds growing in your belly, spiders eating you if you don't get in the car, licking knives is bad for your health, and anything else that sounds silly and ridiculous---that's all fair game.

Man, I hope my kids read this one day and I hope they laugh. I hope that they have that magic and fire in them to not take things so seriously, and to find humor and fun in the little things in life. And I surely hope, and know, that our relationship will be much bigger and stronger than that. That with all the things that are messed up in this world, with all the damaging things that are happening to children out there, with all the pain and suffering going on, that little fibs and jokes won't be one of those on the list.

Kids---- don't be so serious all the time. Find magic where you can. Make rainbows and sunshine out of the memories you create. Tell jokes. Tell fibs. Dream big. Don't settle. Think outside the box, and please please don't ever lose your laughter and imagination. Hold onto that when you need it the most. Look toward that when you need strength. And always believe.

 It's not about what's real, or what's physically there, or what's technically true, it's what is deep within your heart and mind. Which to me? Is bigger than anything else out there.


  1. Hahaha, I got a lot of these same exact ones! GLad I wasn't alone:)

  2. I love this! It is SO true. I'll admit, I don't like lying to my kids and I try to be honest with them. I even battled inside of me the whole Santa thing because of the way people were talking about it & I decided that was ridiculous. My parents lying to me about Santa, gum, watermelon seeds etc didn't scar me and it damn sure isn't goin to scar my kids. I love the magic kids have and it's so fun keeping magic alive!

  3. We decided to always be honest with our kids. We did the Santa bit, and when they started asking, we simply answered "He's real if you believe in him. If not, then it's us giving you the gifts.", followed by "don't ruin it for any other kids you know that do believe!" Now our daughter is 17, and she talks to us about everything - sex, drugs, drinking, friends, etc. When she first started learning about the "birds & bees", she came to us with questions, and we answered them honestly. I think it's really important to have open communication with your kids - your job as a parent is to prepare them for the real world!

  4. I let someone try on my first engagement ring (I've had two... from the same guy. Long story short, we returned the first one and got the one I wear to this day!) Ever since then, whenever I'm reminded, I get all sick to my stomach. I'm so superstitious lol

  5. Great post. Same standpoint we have on Santa. Made me laugh as I was recalling some of the things my mom would say. Sleep with hair in a ponytail it will fall out, shoot a bird/put middle finger up a baby bird will fall out of the sky, so funny!


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