Don’t do that

Yesterday I dropped a spool of thread and it rolled under the table. As I crawled on all fours to reach it, I suddenly heard my mother’s voice say to me “Pick that up for me please. You are built nearer the ground!” Immediately I was back in childhood. How many times had I heard my mother say that? One of the last times was to my eldest niece. No doubt the phrase came out automatically, because we all burst out laughing. My niece at that stage was much taller than her Nana.

I stayed sitting under the table for a few minutes letting the memories of my mother’s voice flood around me. “Take those shoes off coming down the stairs.” This was something repeated to me on many occasions. As a child I liked to play ‘dressing up’ and danced about the house in a long trailing dress of my mothers, long necklaces, a hat, handbag and to finish it off a pair of high heeled shoes. The shoes were far too big for me so I ‘clackity clacked’ about the bedrooms in her shoes. As I reached the top of the stairs her voice rang out “Take those shoes off coming down the stairs.” She worried because our stairs turned 45º just three steps from the top. There were three steps on the curve of the bend and they were wide along the wall and narrowed to a point on the balustrade side. A tumble or two taught me to pay heed to my mother’s words.

It made me think of all those phrases our mothers used and that we in turn repeated to our children.

I know what you are up to I have eyes in the back of my head.

Go play outside! It’s a beautiful day!

Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.

How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it?

How many times do I have to tell you?

It’s like talking to a brick wall?

Go ask your father

Are you going out dressed like that?

Then we have the ‘Did’s, Do’s and Don’t’s’:

Did you clean your room?

Did you comb your hair?

Did you brush your teeth?

Did you flush?

Do you think I’m made of money?

Do you think this is a hotel?

Do you think your socks are going to pick themselves up?

Do as I say, not as I do.

Don’t talk with your mouth full!

Don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been

Don’t you have anything better to do?

Don’t go out with wet hair, you’ll catch cold

But the one that will haunt Elly, I think will be:

Can you bring me XXXX you will find it under the stairs?

Again this is a phrase my mother used many a time as that was where she stored lots of household items. For Elly the problem when I said it was that we lived in a bungalow. Bright girl that she is she soon learned that ‘under the stairs’ was really the second cupboard on the left in the hall!

10 thoughts on “Don’t do that

  1. Nancy

    My mother’s favorite expression was said if we didn’t come to the dinner table right away. She would say, “Are you waiting for an engraved invitation?
    And when my brother and I did the washing up and made a lot of noise clanging plates and pots and pans around my mother would always say ” Sounds like Horn and Hardarts in there” (That was a famous local restaurant noted for the exraordinary sound levels)

  2. Grannymar Post author

    Nancy we also did the wash up after meals. With at least eight people for a meal the clearing up took plenty of time. To while away the boredom we sang! The noise level was quite high and sometimes our visitors came to join us as we were having more fun than the adults!

  3. Ian

    My mother STILL says stuff like that to me – and I’m 47 next month! I think it’s because my Nan only died in February and she still talked to her children like that.

    When my Mum had a heart attack in 2000, my Nan, 87 at the time, went into the hospital and said, “Come on, I want you out of that bed. I’ve lost one daughter and am not losing another”.

  4. Wisewebwoman

    I just love your topics!
    One of my favourites, GM, was
    “If the wind changes while you’re pulling a face like that on your brother, your face will freeze that way for the rest of your life!!”
    Stopped my faces cold in their tracks. I got the greatest pleasure using that one on my girls!!

  5. Baino

    Oh my . . My mother said all of those things without exception and so have I . . . my only contributions are “Well are you waiting for the washing up fairy . . .” and “I want to know who you’re with, where you’re going and what time you’ll be home.” (My Grandma used to try to pull ‘sprouts are fairy cabbages’ on me . . .I was never convinced.

    And completely off topic . . . Nancy . . .you should get a blog so we can visit.

  6. Grannymar Post author

    Welcome Ian, I hope you are refreshed after the holiday.

    Wisewebwoman my mum’s version was ‘If the wind changes you will be left like that!’

    Baino my dad was the one to ask where we were going and what time we would be back. Sometimes he asked if he could come with us. I soon discovered that if I said yes there were no more questions.

    I remember one night when a Date had called to collect me, I had introduced him to my parents as as we reached the front door to leave, my dad called out “Mary Kate” (not my real name, and no where near it) “I hope you have two pairs of drawers on, I don’t trust that fellow!” Poor guy kept his hands in his pockets all evening!

  7. Primal Sneeze

    At night-time from my mum we’d hear get up them stairs or I’ll sell yer beds. And she’d grin, for we too lived in a single story.

    I have a million more but I’m saving them for a special post – her 10th anniversary next year. It’s a reason to keep blogging until then.

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Primal that’s a great saying ‘get up them stairs or I’ll sell yer beds.’ I might say it to myself at night!

    I like the idea of a tribute to your mum. I hope you have started to make notes already.

  9. Hoof Hearted in America

    Hey, thanks to all of you! I’ve learned lots of great things to say to my grandchildren to make them behave. Lovely posts, Grannymar.

  10. Grannymar Post author

    Hoof Hearted I hope we all learn something everyday. I certainly do from the comments people make.


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