There were always things my parents said that I said I would never say.
Did you get that?
Yet now, nearly 30 years later, when my kids start pushing my buttons, and I am at a loss for words, these old go-to phrases suddenly emerge from my own vocal chords, as if ghosts from the past have taken up residence in my over-sized Adam’s apple and are controlling everything I say.
These are the top 10 things my parents said that I now find myself compelled to say:
1) “Because I said so.” This was the ultimate ending of any argument, and I find myself using it more these days as my kids get older and their reasoning power reaches a new level. I finally understand why my parents used it – there is no comeback. For example:
“Dad, can I have some ice cream.”
“Not tonight. It’s almost bed time.”
“What?! You always eat ice cream before bed! Why can’t I?”
“Because I said so.”
2) “I’m not saying it again” (AKA “I’m saying this one last time”) – This basically means nothing. I tell it to my kids all the time, and they know that it’s meaningless. They will ask again, and I will say it again. The only way to break out of this particular cycle is to drop “because I said so” on them.
“C’mon dad, can’t we stay up for 10 more minutes?”
“It’s bed time. That’s it. I’m not saying it again.”
“Please, please, please let us stay up? Why can’t we stay up?”
“Because I said so.”
3) “As long as you live in our house, you’ll play by our rules” – how condescending can you get? Our kids aren’t quite old enough to appreciate this one, but I still drop it from time to time:
“Take off your shoes, kids.”
“Why do we always have to take our shoes off? We’re going right back outside!”
“Hey, as long as you live in my house, you’ll play by my rules.”
4) “one more time” – this one is more of a fragment, but can be used in all kinds of different settings: “if you so much as touch your sister one more time…” or, “if you come out of your room one more time…” or “if you shout here in the library one more time.” This particular phrase is only useful if it is followed up by a suitably ambiguous threat like “you’re gonna get it.”
5) “If you want it, then save your money up and buy it yourself” – this one might be more specific to my household, I don’t know, but I’ve decided to use it as a standby when requests for stuff become frequent. It makes about as much sense as “because I said so,” seeing that my son gets an allowance of about $4 a week, half of which he has to put into a piggy bank as “savings.”
For example, sometimes when we’re at the store he’ll see a Nintendo Wii and ask for it – if I’m correct, these run for around $300?
“Dad, can we buy a Wii?”
“Hey, if you want it, save your money up and buy it yourself.”
“How long would it take me to save up $300?”
“About three years. Give or take a few weeks. If you never buy anything else.”
I’m going to stop at five today and ask you the question: what are the old stand-by phrases your parents used? Help me fill in the final five for tomorrow’s post, and if your phrase is included I’ll be sure to give you credit.
This Tuesday’s Top 10 idea is brought to you by Janelle. Thanks!