The other day I was in the car with my son Jake. He crossed his eyes and said, “Mom, look at me.” Without even thinking, my mother’s words came out, “Don’t do that. Your eyes will stick.” After I explained that his eyes could get stuck in the cross-eyed position, he says, “Do you know anyone that got their eyes stuck?”
Well, no I didn’t. “So how do you know it’ll happen to me?” asked my young lawyer in training who continued to cross his eyes and look at himself in the car mirror. I thought about it and gave my best Mom answer: Because I said so.
Then I started thinking about the other stuff my Mom told me when I was his age. How much of this was true and how much was just mom’s doing what mom’s do best – worry?
1. Don’t swim for an hour after you eat
This was said constantly when I was growing up. I spent my first 13 years living in Miami and we were literally, surrounded by water. If we weren’t at the beach, we were at someone’s pool.
Everyone’s mom had the same rule so we would all sit outside, getting hot and counting down the time until we could get back in the water.
The conversation went like this:
Me: Now Mom?
Mom: No, it’s only been 30 minutes.
Me: Come on Mom, I swear I won’t complain if I get sick from going in the water too soon.
Mom: No, something will happen and you’ll end up at the doctor’s. Do you want to spend the rest of the day in hospital?
2. Don’t run with scissors in your hands
I totally thought this one was from some paranoid Mom until 5 years ago. I ran into a friend with her little boy at the park one day. As we sent our kids off to play, she told me the story about how her son was running with a long stick, fell down and and got hurt. I’ll spare you the gory details but let’s just say I buy my son the little kid rounded edge scissors and I keep my eye on him if he walks around the house with them.
3. Stop messing around. When you fall down and break your legs, don’t come running to me.
I say stuff like this all the time. When my Mom said this to me, I stopped what I was doing and listened. But not my kid. He questions me with “but if I break my legs, how am I going to run to you? My legs are broken.”
My response, “You know what I mean. You’re going to get hurt and you’ll end up at the doctor’s. Do you want to spend the rest of the day in hospital?”
4. One day you’ll have kids just like you.
This one reminded me of a conversation Jake and I had last year.
Jake: Am I normal or not?
Me: Compared to who?
Jake: Compared to you. Am I more normal than you?
Me: Funny question, why would you ask me that?
Jake: Because I wanted to know if I was more or less than what your mom hoped for you. Remember when Grandma said, ‘I hope you have a kid who is worse than you’? Did you get that? Am I worse than you? (I think he takes pleasure in being weirder than me)
Me: Well, Jake I believe I got everything Grandma told me I would get. I got you ….
Photo credit: Swimming Pool