When did you turn around and realise that, somewhere, somehow, you’d turned into your own parents?
Remember that thing that your Mum used to do when you were a kid that drove you absolutely batty? When did you notice yourself doing the same thing?
Remember the way your Dad told really, really, really, really, really-to-the-power-of-a-million bad jokes? When was the last good joke you told?
Remember how your parents were always so out of touch, and insisted on you doing things that no one else ever had to do? When did you start making your own kids do the same things?
When I was a child/teenager, my Mum would wake my siblings and I up every morning by coming into our rooms, turning on the light, and singing a “happy” little song that she’d cobbled together out of leftover words and almost-rhymes. I detested it with the power of a thousand suns. It went like this:
Rise and shine,
Time to get up,
It’s morning time.
I would never be so annoying as a parent. Never. Instead, I greet my sons in the morning by opening the curtains and singing a pretty little song I wrote a while ago:
Good morning! Good morning!
It’s nice to say good morning!
With a hee-hee-hee, and a hey-hey-hey,
It’s time to start the day!
It’s completely different.
How many elephants can you fit in a mini?
Four. Two in the front, two in the back.
How many hippos can you fit in a mini?
None. It’s already full of elephants.
How can you tell there’s been an elephant in your fridge?
Footprints in the butter.
How can you tell there’s been two elephants in your fridge?
Two sets of footprints in the butter.
How can you tell there’s been three elephants in your fridge?
Three sets of footprints in the butter.
How can you tell there’s been four elephants in your fridge?
Their mini’s parked out front.
When I was a kid, we ate dinner at the dining table every night. Without exception. All my friends ate in front of the TV, or at least with the TV on in the background. But not us. We sat at the table, TV off, music off, with only each other for company. We talked, told jokes (see above), used real cutlery, real crockery, serviettes, and had a fresh pot of tea on the table every night (complete with tea strainer — tea-bags are for sissies).
That was fine. But the thing that really got up my nose was that we weren’t allowed to leave the table until we’d asked permission. My friends would finish dinner, get up, and go. But I had to sit at the table and politely say, “May I be excused?” or face the consequences. (I don’t actually know what the consequences were. None of us ever broke the rules.) I hated it. And yet…
I’ve taught 4-year-old Big Brother that it’s polite to ask to leave the table when he’s finished eating. So, every night, he gives me a big smile and asks, “Is it okay if I leave the table?” And then, because he’s a very particular child, he adds, “Daddy doesn’t have to ask, because he’s a grown up. I have to ask because I’m a youngster.”
(Note: ‘Youngster’ is his current favourite word. It’s apparently the best word that he’s ever heard in his whole life.)
even more annoying than my parents big on politeness, I’ve also taught Big Brother that he should say thank you to the person who cooked his meal. (That is: Me) The first night, I coached him to say, “Thank you for cooking me a lovely meal.” But while he slept, this polite little phrase morphed into a somewhat different one. I haven’t corrected him. His version is way better.
Every night, he gets up from the table, gives me a hug and says, “Thank you for inviting me to this feast. Happy Mother’s Day!”
And he’s also cute. (With a new lightning-bolt shaped scar next to his eye, thanks to a recent adventure.)