Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do You Want a Spanking? (and other absurdities)

While I was at the store, I overheard a dad tell his sobbing daughter, "Be quiet or I'll give you something to cry about!"

I snickered to myself at the absurdity of such a statement, and I remembered making a smart-aleck comment in response to my dad after he said that to me as a child. "So, do you want me to stop crying? Or do you want me to cry more? I'm confused." (In case you're wondering, he gave me something to cry about.)

My parents didn't just spank me and my sister when we were bad. Nope, they'd tell us to go upstairs and wait. We knew what was coming and that waiting was the worst. One day, my sister and I came up with a great idea to save our aching butts. Books! It was fool proof! I grabbed my trusty copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and stuffed it down my pants. A spanking won't hurt now! I've got protection! I thought triumphantly. Apparently I wasn't a very bright kid because it never occurred to me that my mom would notice that my butt had taken on a rectangular shape, or a hard, cardboard-like quality. Yeah.

But that dad telling his daughter he'd give her something to cry about got me thinking. I don't know about you, but my parents said a lot of stupid things when I was a kid. Sometimes they'd ask me, "Do you want a spanking?"

"Umm, is this a trick question?"

Or (here's another good one!) "This is going to hurt me than it does you." Uh no. It most definitely does not hurt the parent more. I've been in both positions and it does not hurt the spanker as much as the spankee. Just sayin'.

I was a picky eater as a kid. I would never touch the crust of my bread. My mom would tell me, "Eat the crust! It'll put hair on your chest!" Yeah. You know, because that's what every five-year-old girl wants - a hairy chest. "Hair on my chest??? Really? Awesome! Can I eat yours too, Mom?"

Here's another one that picky eaters across America heard on a regular basis. "Finish that! Don't you know there are starving kids in Africa?" I'm not sure how finishing my Brussels sprouts was going to help hungry kids on the other side of the world, but it seemed to make sense to parents everywhere.

A good one my dad said was, "Don't make me turn this car around!" You know how many times he actually turned the car around? Never. It was an empty threat designed to make us quiet down and stop fighting. And it worked every time. For 90 seconds. Really though, in the history of mankind, has anyone ever actually turned the car around? Why would you do that? You'd still have to listen to the fighting on the way back home. And then, eventually, you'd have to go back out and complete your trip anyway.

My sister and I didn't fight much as kids. We didn't go around punching each other or anything like that. (We're girls after all.) But we did make faces at each other. That was the ultimate insult. "Mom, Deb's sticking her tongue out at me! Mom, Dawn's making a face at me!" And you know what our mom said? Say it with me, everyone. "Your face is going to freeze like that." And she'd say it all serious-like, as if she actually believed it herself. Have you ever seen a person with their face frozen with their eyelids pulled up, their fingers stuck in their nostrils, and their tongue hanging out? Yeah, I didn't think so.

And finally, there was the famous, "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you follow them?"
"Possibly. How long are you going to stay with this line of questioning? Kidding! Just kidding, Mom. I wouldn't jump off a bridge to get away from you. I mean, I wouldn't jump off a bridge just because my friends do. So, does that mean no, I can't go to the concert that everyone else is going to?"

Yeah, in fact, I did get in trouble a lot. Why do you ask?

51 comments:

Crystal said...

LMAO. I actually just used the jumping off a bridge one at the grocery store with my 5 year old

Lori said...

I can see how you got in trouble a lot! LOL Those are precious! And yes, I believe I heard them all and no, they never turned the car around. Of course when I was little it was the starving kids in China that I saved by eating my veggies. Of course I was never brave enough to tell my parents I was confused by all their contradictions. I love it, thanks so much for posting this!

AussieRodney said...

While driving, my dad used " ... or you'll get out & walk." It was an empty threat until one day he used it on my brother just 200 metres from home. That threat was never the same again!

WeaselMomma said...

When my Mom used to pull the "Starving kids in Africa/ China, etc" we used to say 'You can send this to them, I don't want it".

Amanda said...

I have turned the car around. When my boys are being ridiculous in their behavior, it's just not worth taking them out. They enjoy getting out of the house, even if it's for errands, so it's a punishment to go back home. Then when my 9yo complains about something like we're out of bread, I point out that maybe he and his brother should've thought of that when they were acting like monkeys in the car.

Barb said...

I remember my parents using the "starving kids" thing on my and my answer (which was NOT well received) was "Well then you can give THEM my spinach." Probably not the best answer.
As far as turning the car around... what I find myself saying to my kids is "don't make me pull this car over" and yes, I have done that.

Thanks for the laugh though.

iffer@AOL.com said...

My mom pulled the "there are starving kids in Africa" thing on me when I wouldn't eat my bread crusts. I think I was 5 at the time. I put the crusts in an envelope and told her to mail them to the starving kids.

Bailey's Leaf said...

I've turned the car around. I've also given time-out's in store aisles and cash-out lanes. Yes, people gave me looks as if I was the most awful woman in the world.

My sister-in-law is the Queen of Empty Threats. Her first and always is, "You are going to lose dessert." My sister-in-law is a marathon runner who doesn't let her children eat any junk and only allows them to eat 3 small meals and 1 tiny snack a day. Dessert is not a part of that. You know what? It also doesn't work for her.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least you got the most important, effective saying down pat: BECAUSE I SAID SO!

Anonymous said...

Try this one, my mother used to spank me three times a day, just because she could. Then she would tell me, "if you tell your father, you'll get it again tomorrow, and if you don't tell him, your still going to get it again tomorrow."...what to do what to do? And I wonder why I have issues with my mother. My father never knew mom was doing this until he accidentally saw my backside with the lovely belt bruises.

jdb in AZ said...

My grandparents told me to eat the crusts on my toast because it would make my hair curly. I didn't want curly hair, and even as a five-year-old I didn't believe that old-wives tale.

My friends' family was driving from AZ to TX and the teenage kids in the backset didn't want to make the long drive so they argued and argued and argued, secretly hoping to annoy their father enough to turn the car around. He did, and put them on a plane instead. What is wrong with this picture?

Tammy said...

My parents never threatened to turn the car around. They threatened to pull the car over to the side. And they did. And we didn't like it.

I've pulled the car over, too. And I didn't like that, either. Neither did the two in the back.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, My Mom use to say "I,m so mad I could spit nails" That was a scary thought. Kristine in Michigan :)

Spuds said...

Yeah, well my dad really DID turn the car around! And not only that he let all five of us out of the car on the side of the freeway! My dad didn't mess around!

~Tammy~ said...

Nothing stops an empty threat faster than having the kid reply to "Do you want a spanking?" with, "Yes, please. Can I get two?"

My kids were very much like you, Dawn. Smart comebacks for almost everything.

If you don't make empty threats, your kids do listen when you tell them to behave. It has always annoyed me to be in the store with a child pitching a fit, and the parent "counting". 1....2....3... however many they plan to count to.
This gives the kid the message loud and clear, "I don't have to obey you the first time I am told to."

Oh,sorry. You hit one of my peeves there.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

my parents' only parenting advice to me was 'never make a threat you won't follow through on'

When they said 'pick up your toys or I will throw them away.' and we didn't pick up the toys, the toys were gone when woke up in the morning. Sometimes they were just boxed up for us to earn back with good behavior & sometimes they were donated to charity.

When they said 'I'll pull this car over if you don't knock it off' they pulled the car over. Sometimes someone would get spanked, other times someone would have to sit out in the hot sun/pouring rain/freezing cold for a period of time.

When I say 'stop it or we are leaving' We leave. I've developed a habit of putting necessities in my shopping cart immediately so when I say "Do you want to be done shopping?!" I know at least the food & other stuff *I* need will get purchased. The boys have gone days without snacks, cereal, honey mustard, ketchup or frozen pizza because they cannot behave in a store long enough to get to those items.

Veggiemomof2 said...

I bet you also heard the one most used on me "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Yea, I was Miss Attitude too.

Dawn said...

Wow, you guys are so serious! Lighten up. It was funny. Well, it was supposed to be funny. I knew I should've made a video blog, stand-up style, with this post!

Shari H said...

I've heard all those as well. My personal favorite is the one my mom used and it was "I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it." LOL!!!!

Chick Hatchers said...

You wrote: Have you ever seen a person with their face frozen with their eyelids pulled up, their fingers stuck in their nostrils, and their tongue hanging out?

Dawn, have you ever walked along Kenmore & Bryn Mawr in Chicago (a block west of Sheridan at 5600 north)? I used to live over there and, yep, you can see people like this. {Yikes!}

On Stage said...

Love the hairy chest comment. My mom said that too... as if that would make me eat the crust.

Seems to have worked for Brian though... my son says Dad must have eaten a lot of bread crust as a kid because his chest is sooo hairy!

Dave S, said...

Oh no mom, NOT THE BELT!

Cinderella (aka Kristin) said...

It builds character.

Have you stumbled across Shit My Dad Says? He has a twitter feed but also a FB feed too. Fabulous stuff.

pednurse said...

I've actually turned the van around....lol Works wonders the next time you have to use that threat after you've actually done it once! :)

MaBunny said...

lol Dawn, I've used some of those and you are right - most of the time they didn't work.

Bonnie said...

You know it took me years to figure out how my dad could actually pinpoint each one of us in the back seat of the car. He used to tell us he had eyes in the back of his head ... I actually believed him when I was little but I still didn't realize how he could peg each one of us with amazing accuracy from the front seat without turning around. That was until I started driving and realized I could see the entire back seat from the rear view mirror. Loved this one way to go :)

Anonymous said...

So, yeah, my mom did the whole dont you know there are millions of starving chinese children thing too. (luckily I had a dog, that got fed really well when she left the room) - The next day she got a call from my 1st grade teacher telling her that I had given the chinese boy in my class a bag of groceries.

Que said...

WOW! I think you, me and Spuds were using our super powers of telepathy. We were all on the same wavelength. You will see when you read my guest post. If you, for some reason, read Spuds blog.

Kari said...

My mom's favorite seemed to be, "Do you want to live to see your next birthday?" Uh no, actually I was hoping you would murder me. LOL

Debbie in Kansas said...

Oh, how well I remember!! I always got the bridge one, too. BUT... around 12 years old, I starting get a mouth on me. So, when my mom told me there were starving kids in Africa, I pushed her my plate and said, "Then, send this to them." Yeah, that earned me a spanking!!!

Julie said...

One day had all three of my kids, plus 3 of my brother's kids in my car. My nephew wouldn't quit annoying me, and I said "If you don't quit, I'm going to tie you onto the top of the car." He thought it sounded like fun, and was ready to ride up there. I think that was the worst idle threat I'd ever made, although I really don't remember any specific ones I used on my own kids.

Lisa said...

My mom threatened to put my sister and I out of the car, which she did. Usually it was somewhere close to the house, like at the front of the neighborhood or at the corner. My favorite story is the day my sister made her so mad she put her out along the highway (2 lane, speed limit 40 mph) about 3 miles from the house. We lived in a small town, and of course a neighbor drove by, saw my sister walking down the side of the road, stopped and insisted that she get in the car and gave her a ride home. That was the last time Mom put us out of the car - ha ha!:)

Jennie said...

I have to defend the parents of the world who do the 1...2..2 1/2..2 3/4....3 count because for now that does work with my 4 yr old. It's all about the infliction in your voice!
I love this post cos it does remind me of all I heard growing up. My mom would count while holding the good old wooden spoon until we would come in on whatever number she was on and that's how many we got. I was the idiot who would stay until double digits.
My dad was another ballgame he would stand in the hallway and hold both ends of the belt, make the circle and SNAP it to prepare us for the incoming doom. I used a pillow instead of the book lol.
These famous parenting lines should live on just because they are so pointless but classic and funny.

Anonymous said...

My mom used to threaten to sell us to the Indians. I don't think they would've wanted us.

Krissy said...

SO TRUE!!!! I hated when my mom used those expressions to me as a child and always came back at her with some smart ass answer. Worst part? I now use those same expressions with my kids. Of course, they do believe me and my 4 year old comes up with the same smart ass comments as I did. My mom tells me that karma is a bitch. It probably is. I am probably being punished for the shit I put my mom through when I was a little girl!! LOL :)

http://theartsymom.tk

Anonymous said...

My Dad would close his business and we would head out on vaction for the month of October every year. I lived in central Washington State. My Dad told us *once* to stop arguing and we didn't. My brother said he knew we were in trouble when he saw the Welcome to Idaho sign and within an hour saw the Welcome to Washington sign. Yup.....first day of our month long trip we were back home in our own beds that night. No idle threats in our house......! Loved my Dad to pieces! He was the best!

Marjorie said...

I use the jump off a bridge thing, but in a different way. There is always one of my kids saying, "But Isabella told me to!"

"If Isabella told you to jump off a bridge would you do it?"

Yeah they always look at me like I'm insane, but I think it gets my point across.

Heather said...

I think I out smarted you during the waiting process though. I would go to my room and put on ever pair of panties that I owned. My dad knew but by the time he got home from work he would just come in there and pretend that I didn't have them on. The key is to cry before they actually hit you and make them feel bad about having to spank you.

Christina E. Pope said...

LMAO I have to admit I have said a few of those to my kids. Especially, the "I'll give you something to cry about". It works! They know I mean that crying for absolutely no reason is not okay and will get you a spanking. I guess I could just say that, but that's just not what pops out in those times of stress and frustration. Never heard the "hair on the chest" one, but that is hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I used to count to three, til my two year old mimicked me. I said "one" and he taunted me with a very sarcastic "two." At least he learned to count.

Natasha said...

Don't forget, "Don't cross your eyes, or they'll stay that way!" and "If you read with the lights out, you'll go blind." ;D

Sheryl said...

Instead of promising "hair on your chest" for crust-eating, my husband's parents would tell him it would "put lead in your pencil." Uhhhhhh, yeah. :-)

My mom was famous for "If you keep it up, I'll knock you into the middle of next week." And no, she never laid a hand on me, but when she grounded me -- and it was ALWAYS me and not my sister! -- she meant it. I was not ungrounded a minute sooner than she said. I was a smart mouth, too, and spent a LOT of time grounded.

One last thing ... I know this was supposed to be a funny post, but I can't help but defend we parents who count. My kids have never transitioned well. When I tell them to do something, and count it off, that gives them a minute or two to get transitioned into whatever I'm demanding. It lets them save a little face, and have a little bit of a choice -- and if it doesn't work, well, that's when things get ugly. :-)

~cj~ said...

Maybe there's something special about Dr. Seuss books....we used to do the same thing. Now that I have read this to my kiddos (for a laugh) I look forward to finding books shoved jubilantly into their jammy bottoms the next time I threaten (ha!) to swat them :o)

Anonymous said...

how about - if you fall and break your neck don't coming crying to me.........

missamandadear said...

We have threatened to pull the car over, and have actually done it. My mom used to tell us she was going to beat our behinds (through she used a much cruder term) when we got home. Several months ago, she pulled something similar on my little brother who tells me, "She always says that and never does it. She forgets by the time we get there." He was SO right. Lol.

Spencer Park said...

Wow, my parents in England used to use all of those (I probably use some). Who would have thought it?

Amanda said...

I never understood a parent saying "We Do NOT hit" as they give a kid a spanking.

Tiffany said...

LOL I have to admit that I ask "Do you want a spanking?" and it used to work - I say used to because my now 4 year started replying "yes" and then he turns around and sticks his butt out! Then he starts crying when I don't spank him! Um thats not the desired result I wanted!

I blame the dumb stuff we say on mommy brain! It works for me!

Frosted Fingers said...

Haha. That's a great post. :) I only got "spanked" once. It was actually a smack across the face, but I deserved it. I find myself saying stupid stuff like that, but then it's out of my mouth and what am I supposed to say, "oh wait, that's stupid, let's start over."

Dream Come True said...

My husband had pictures of the starving children from Africa on his refridgerator when he was a child...and I remember that comment about the starving children as well as all the others...we used to get something to cry about but then my dad would just have to listen to us cry for longer which really makes me think 'did he win in the end?'

Anonymous said...

When our children were little, they were quarreling in the back seat of the car. My DH told them to quit or he was turning around and we were going home (instead of going out for dinner.) They didn't quit; he did turn around.
He fixed them dinner, from a can. He then went out and got me my favorite salad. (There is a reason we're still married.)

From then on, "Quit or I turn around" has been used and believed.

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