Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dumb Things Adults Say to Children

1. "It'll all be mixed up in your stomach anyway."

This is said in a cheerful voice as they scrape together mashed potatoes, jello, gravy, lettuce bits, ham, and ranch dressing--and expect you to eat it just as cheerfully.

2. "This won't hurt a bit!"

or, almost as bad, "Just a tiny little poke..."

This also requires a cheerful voice. As Jenny says, "Most dumb things are said with a cheerful voice."

You've had tetanus boosters and dental work done. They hurt. They didn't kill you, but they hurt. What's wrong with the truth? Like--calm, matter-of-fact voice--"This will hurt but not as much as skinning your knee."

Speaking of skinning your knee:

3. "You're fine! Hop up!"

And its corollaries, "Jump up!" "Don't cry!" "You're all right!" And my mother's favorite, "Hosht's meisly kfongga?" which means "Did you catch the mouse?"

These are spoken by hyper-cheerful adults who look on when children trip and fall flat on their faces.

I don't get it.

One woman in my life was especially big on this when my kids were little. She thought I would teach them to be wimps if I helped them up and kissed the scraped knee.

I always wondered what it would be like if SHE tripped and went sprawling on her face right in front of me, and I kept sipping my coffee and said cheerfully, "Hop up!! You're all right!!"

The idea was tempting.

4. "Life isn't fair."

Emily suggested this entry. Her explanation: "This is when something is legitimately unfair and your parents say, 'Life isn't fair,' and it's like, 'Duh. You could make it fair. Right now. You have that power."

I contend that "Life isn't fair" is justified when it's all out of your control and there simply is nothing else to be said.

5. "The starving children in Somalia would be so happy to eat that."

A Smucker offspring suggested this one, too. I'm guilty as charged.

Parent's perspective: If these picky children only had a CLUE of what the rest of the world endures they would clean their plates with gratitude.

Child's perspective: So, send these peas to Somalia if you're so worried about little Somali kids.

Quote of the Day:
Ben: So when I go to Bible school, how often will I be expected to communicate with you?
Me: Once a week, at least.
Ben: That much?


  1. I love this post! Just had to share it on Facebook :)

  2. Very funny. Also, I'm guilty of the "hop up you're ok" and pouring on the guilt over un-eaten food.

  3. I say "This is going to pinch, but it will be over in a second", in my most matter of fact voice when jabbing children with needles.

    If the mothers whisper lies of "this won't hurt a bit" in their kids ears I just grin inside because THEY are the ones who have to hold them down when they go ballistic.

  4. lol! My mom's go to phrase when we got hurt was "You'll live until you're married". What the heck is that supposed to mean? I so badly wanted to ask her at my wedding "so now what?"

  5. My mother would say, "You'll forget all about that long before you're a grandma."

    And when we were afraid to go out in the dark she said, "Don't worry. Nothing will get you. And if they do, in the morning when it gets light and they see what they got they'll bring you back."
    How's that for an ego booster? Not to mention what could happen until it got light and they saw what they had. But the world is a much more wicked place than it was back in the 50s.

  6. my family always uses the "it's all going to the same place" phrase when i take extra precautions to make sure all my food is not touching each other, but i think they also know that if it was all mixed up (unless i deem it "mixable") i would go without before i ate it!

  7. Rosy (from Plain City)12/14/2011 4:17 AM

    That first one always got me! I hated that last bunch of stuff all mixed up! And, I don't do it for my kids, so that's one I'm not guilty of. Several others mentioned...hmmm!!! But Jenny is right when she says that most dumb things are said cheerfully! :-D I really enjoyed this post!

  8. I'm guilty of the "hop up, you're ok" one. But, with 4 little ones in 5 years, I'd be comforting all the time if I did it every time they fell, got an owie, etc. I do try be sympathetic, from a distance, as it were, unless they really need a mommy's touch. I don't like saying "This won't hurt", either, but prefer being kindly-matter-of-fact. I really enjoyed your post.

  9. To all the "hop up, you're ok" moms...isn't it such that most of the time, if you wait and don't say anything, children pick themselves up and move on? Waiting, or calm sympathy from a distance, or just about anything is preferable to that high-pitched fake-smiling "Come on, you're ok." I always hated falling (that out-of-control feeling) and hated that response, which is probably where my strong opinions come from.
    Esta, I wish you could have given my children their shots!

  10. I'm for kids eating their food without fussing, but making a tyke finish a big heap of stuff he didn't dish out, just for the thrifty sake of cleaning up his plate is unfair. I also used to tell my kids, "You don't have to like it; you just have to try a little bit". Then if they wanted more, wonderful.
    Maybe I sound like the got-it-all-down-pat kind of mama. Not so. Guilty of MANY Dumb Things. -PC in VA

  11. My daughter says "do we need to amputate?" when her little one comes crying to her when he falls down. Most of the time he just holds out the hurt body part for a kiss and then runs off. I want to cuddle more, but he's not one for lots of hugging so I follow his mommas cue. Said the amputate line to a preschooler in front of a parent who looked shocked. Then pleased that it cut the crying short.
    NOTE: I would NOT use this approach if there was blood involved!

  12. I went to convent school, and a particuarly terrifying Nun was positioned for most of the lunch break next to the foodwaste bin, which was where we thought we were allowed to put our leftovers when we had finished eating.

    She would stand ,ever watchful by the bin and if you dared to take your plate towards it would fix you with her small glittering eyes and say " The poor starving children in India would be so grateful for that food"

    Of course this was many years ago and we were mostly well behaved children who sighed and trudged back to our places and tried to swallow down more spam fritters or industrially boiled cabbage and lumpy packet mashed potatoes....I always wanted to put my plate in her hands and say " Well you can send it to the poor starving children then as I don't want it," but of course I never did.

    Susan Clarke, Norwich, UK

  13. When our dog looks at his food and then looks at me, dubiously, I tell him to think of the poor dogs in China.

    He cleans up his food.

    He's a good dog.

  14. When we got hurt, my mom used to always say, "Ess haelt ep di kotz un oi laekt." (It will heal before the cat lays an egg.)