When Meg was two, I told her that if the ice cream van was playing music it meant the man had run out of ice cream. One day ‘the boy from next door’ was playing round when the familiar tinkle of ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ rang out around the cul-de-sac. Ashley (boy from next door) went running out to the front gate in jubilation, closely followed by Meg yelling “No Ashley, he’s run out!”
Meg and Ashley with no ice cream in sight
Like many mothers I thought I invented that lie, but from internet research it seems it’s quite a common in-joke amongst us parents. But our parents have been making things up for years to try to keep us under control when the threat of a whippin’ wasn’t enough.
When I was a child my mum told me that if I swallowed the pip of an apple, a tree would grow inside me (sound familiar?). Worse, if I swallowed chewing gum it would wind itself around my intestines and suffocate me while I slept. If we bumped our heads, my aunts would run around screaming “rub some butter on it!” These same aunts were also obsessed with behind the ear washing and telling my cross eyed face ‘if the wind changes, you’ll stay like that’.
If you’re in a terrible accident, I have it on good authority that the paramedics will be horrified (and possibly leave you to die) if you’re not wearing clean knickers. That’s if you haven’t already caught pneumonia from going to bed with wet hair.
Whenever my sisters and I were having the best time there would always be an adult around to remind us that ‘it will all end in tears’; when it did and we were blubbing our tiny hearts out they’d tell us to shut up or they’d ‘give us something to cry about’.
I had many friends who my mum was convinced I would follow if they jumped off a cliff – I couldn’t argue with her because my tongue had shrivelled up and dropped out as a result of telling too many lies.
Of course, when I became a parent I carried on the time honored tradition of putting the fear of god into my child and I expect she will do the same.
Does anyone know where the butter on bumped head thing comes from?
Didn’t think I’d get to use this picture again