Tuesday’s Top 10: Things I Always Said I’d Never Say

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.”

Wrinkled brow.

“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!

22 Replies to “Tuesday’s Top 10: Things I Always Said I’d Never Say”

  1. “DON’T MAKE ME TURN THIS CAR AROUND!” aka “If you don’t stop that right now I’ll turn this car around.” This threat was OFTEN used by my Father. I can remember in particular being 1/2 mile down the road from our house when he used this phrase one time. I was crammed in between my older brother and sister, on the vinyl middle section of a late 80’s model, gray Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon, which was all of 2.5 feet wide. Another 4 hours of this continued on our way to the cabin in Northern Pennsylvania. We never turned around.

    (I have since used this threat on the children that I watch weekly, usually when they’re picking on each other or throwing a tantrum and we’re heading somewhere cool that I desperately do not want to turn around from.)

    1. That’s one of those threats that, after the fact, you always wish you wouldn’t have used.

  2. “Can I just have 2 minutes of peace and quiet, please?” – the answer is never yes.

    “Alright, let’s play the quiet game now.” usually spoken in the car, and usually followed by 5 minutes of loud heckling over the rules of the quiet game.

  3. I always loved “if all your friends wanted to jump off the bridge, would you have to do that too?” Or “are you in or out? in or out? that isn’t a revolving door.” And finally the fear-inducing threat of “just wait ’til your father gets home.” Of course, the one that is like nails on a chalkboard for me today is hearing parents say “You better hope I don’t get to 10! 1…2…3…”

  4. I personally was always a fan of “Go ask your Mother/Father.” I would literally run back and forth. “Mom, can I go to Jenny’s?” “Go ask your Father.” “Dad can I go to Jenny’s?” “what did your mother say?” “She said to ask you.” “Well it’s fine by me if it’s fine by her. Go ask your Mother” ….”Mom, Dad said I can Go so long as it’s okay with you….” …and it just goes on and on and on and on… We were a very indecisive type of family.

  5. My parents never said anything normal, so I can’t offer suggestions, but I find myself saying almost all of these. The “buy it yourself” comment has born fruit. My daughters save up to purchase stuff they want. If they can’t convince someone to buy it for them – they will always try that first, of course, particularly the oldest, who likes to save and finds it much more economical to get someone else to pay.

    1. The stories of your oldest sound like stories of my wife when she was a kid, who was known to cry when she had to spend her own money, invoking the pity of her dad who would just buy whatever it was she was supposed to be paying for.

  6. “Don’t make me pull this car over”
    “I’m not made of money”
    “I’m not so-and-so’s parents” – (in response to, “but so-and-so’s parents let him do such and such)

    1. Three classics! Don’t make me pull this car over is related to the old don’t make me turn this car around.

  7. How about “when I was your age”…. like,… Dad! My nano is full can I get the iTouch? (I just couldn’t resist) When I was your age we had the “cassette tape” try hauling all of those around, just be happy you have several thousand songs and movies on the one you have! And BTW I also used the one about spending his own money.

  8. “You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin'” and “Your ass is grass and I’m the lawnmower” were favorites in my household. I do NOT use those on my kids!!!

  9. “No – it’s not necessary”. That’s the all time worst phrase one could have used on me when I was younger. I still want to go out and do whatever I want sometimes just because I can – whether it’s necessary or not! And who ever decided what was and wasn’t deemed “necessary”? Alas – I’ve caught myself right after I’d uttered that disheartening phrase! Sigh!

    1. I do many unnecessary things these days – eating huge bowls of ice cream whenever I want, overdosing on sugar and staying up way too late even when I have an early breakfast with Bryan Allain the next morning (that’s right, I’m a name dropper).

      Unnecessary is the new necessary.

  10. this is CLASSIC STUFF.
    i’m glad you ran with the idea because i knew i would laugh at your top 10, (all of them mirrored in my own household growing up)!

    “we’re going to sit together as a family”, (in response to my insistent pleas to be excused from the dinner table).

  11. “Bedtime is my favorite time of the day.”

    This isn’t something I say to my kid (so does this even count?), but when I was older, I heard my mom say it occasionally…and I always thought to myself, “when I have kids, I won’t look forward to bedtime…I’ll want to spend as much time as I can with them.” Now, I understand. But I don’t say it out loud. :)

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