My sister had five children in as many years. So for several years, her house was like some kind of cross between a daycare, a zoo, and an asylum. For most of these years, I lived in a different country so my main communication with her was over the phone.
So there we would be on the phone, chatting normally, when suddenly I would be deafened as my sis would break up a fight or something. Here is an example of what our phone conversations were like for several years.
Sis "...well, there he was, standing all alone, so I wen... GET OFF HIS HEAD!!! YOU'LL HURT HIM(?) GET OFF HIS HEAD NOW!!! ...t over to him and sai... LET GO OF HIS TAIL!!! NOW! HE'LL BITE YOU!!! LET GO!! RIGHT NOW!!! ...d "are you lost, luvvy? Do you need me to help you find your mum?"
Yes. I was lost. And somewhat deaf in one ear.
I thought, after listening to my sis for years, that I was somewhat prepared for the kinds of things you say when you have kids. I also made sure I had a cordless phone and many handsets, which definitely cuts down on the yelling aspect (In fairness: my sis didn't actually yell that much normally, but while on the phone back then, she was tied to one location).
Today, as I found myself calmly telling Grace "don't suck the cat's blood" I realized that yes, there are definitely some phrases that pop out of my mouth; some combinations of words that I NEVER thought I would say in that order, and it makes me shake my head. Or smile. Usually both. And sometimes the things I say make me wonder if I have been transported into some kind of bizarro world, or am somehow the star of my very own "Truman show"? The "cat's blood" thing was totally innocuous, BTW. They were playing a vampire game, and poor George had been designated a 'victim'.
Now, I had expected some strange expressions to come out of my mouth. Here are a few I had expected (and got):
- We don't bring worms/ bugs/ snails/ dead birds into the house"
- We don't run out into traffic
- We don't threaten to kill our sister/brother.
- We don't pick the neighbour's flowers, not even as a gift for Mom.
- We don't go visiting the neighbours without permission (Grace)
- No. You may not drive the car
- See! I TOLD you Teddy can't go in the bath!
- This is what happens when you don't put your gum in the trash!
...and then some things I NEVER thought I would ever hear myself say; especially not in the calm, matter-of-fact voice I perfected about a year or so after Joe's special needs became apparent.
- We don't growl at friends/ strangers/ anybody
- We don't attack other kid's moms (/dads) in the zoo ...Or anywhere, for that matter.
- We keep our clothes and shoes on in the restaurant, please
- We don't sniff the pizza delivery guy
- We don't tunnel behind the boxes on the supermarket shelf (I distinctly remember wondering where Joe was, and then when looking down the aisle, I watched a progression of cereal boxes fall off the shelf, one after another, away from me, allowing me to track his progress down the back of the shelf. He was pretty fast! There was a long line of boxes by the time I got to him.)
- Do you always pick on disabled four-year olds? Or have you waited your whole life to meet your intellectual equal? (this to a man in K-mart, who was being mean to Joe. ...and that one wasn't said in a calm voice!)
- Please don't sniff the food you are given in Kyle's house. His mom's feeling might be hurt.
- What show is that from? (this in response to a clearly echolalic utterance)
- You need to tell people who you are when you call them on the regular phone. it's not like Skype. They can't see you.
- No sweetheart. Zombies won't get into the house while we are sleeping. The alarm is set.
- I know the guy was fat, but you can't say that to his face. You have to use other words, like 'big" ... better yet: Don't mention it at all...
...and there are a few non-parenting-related phrases I never thought I would hear myself utter, either.
- "Don't call 911. It's only been 40 minutes" (since the seizure began) Don't try that one at home, kids.
- "I think we can get it back in. Just pull my arm straight out -don't twist, whatever you do. On my count..."
I'm sure there are many more, but I can hear the kids start to get wild in the background, and I suspect I will have to go and use some of my phrases in a minute.
What about you? Are there any particular phrases you never thought you would use that stand out in your mind?