Tag: headstand

The little lies parents tell you

I was thinking the other day about those little lies that you get told as a child to determine behaviour and / or have a little bit of peace. The cat was sitting on my lap demanding affection. I had been the one to feed her that evening.

The lies I was told are as follows:

Whoever feeds the cat, will earn the most love.

This one, may or may not contain some element of truth. I don’t think any scientists have studied it yet. But I can’t say that as an adult I notice any noticeable extra love dished out to the adults in the family because they feed the cat. I think this lie came from parental laziness.

Liquorice, rest her soul, loved us all equally

Liquorice, rest her soul, loved us all equally

If you stand on your head for long enough, your head will flatten and you will get better at headstands.

This was a lie told to me by my grandma. I believed this for many, many years and shortly after she told me this, I spent an inordinate amount of time on my head in an effort to perfect the skill of hand-standing. I do not know her motive for telling me this lie. Perhaps she thought it would keep me quiet for a few hours. If so, it worked.

I'm very good at this now

I’m very good at this now

The shape of your earlobes determines whether you are able to have earrings or not.

This lie was also told by my grandma. The motive is clear. I believed her until I was finally dragged by my best friend to get my ears pierced at the age of 18. The irony of this lie is that I wasn’t actually particularly keen to get my ears pierced. I wasn’t a girly girl.

This person has the right sort of earlobe

This person has the right sort of earlobe

‘Your tea is really delicious’.

This wasn’t a parental lie, but a lie told to me by my elder siblings. I believed this lie for many years and happily made all the hot drinks in the house until I left home. They didn’t confess their atrocious untruth telling until I was in my thirties.

I really thought I made the best tea in Stafford

I really thought I made the best tea in Stafford

‘You need more sleep than otherĀ  children’

I’m sure that when my mum reads this she will object to its inclusion in this list, and insist that I did / do need more sleep than other people. But there is a nagging doubt with this one. I was sent to bed after Crossroads for many years, and then that progressed to after Coronation Street and later Brookside. My school friends were allowed to stay up to watch the likes of The Young Ones, That’s Life and Not The Nine O’clock News which to me seemed mysterious and terribly rude, and very glamorous. For years I pretended to my friends that I watched The Young Ones. I didn’t.

If you stay awake on Christmas Eve night, Father Christmas won’t bring you any presents

This is probably a universal parental lie. I remember one year, aged about 9, I had a really bad cold at Christmas. I got into quite a panic about not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve. I did sleep. I subsequently received presents. I firmly believed the two were related.

If you wear high-heeled shoes your feet will be ruined in your adult life

This was another gem from my grandma and I think there is an element of truth in this although I’m not sure this is universal (otherwise most elderly ladies would have bad feet). She had a lot of problems with her feet and used to keep sheep’s wool around her big toes. As a child I certainly didn’t want to suffer as she did with her feet. As a result, I’m wearing Dr Martens at the age of 43.

This lady will have poorly feet when she's 60

This lady will have poorly feet when she’s 60

I would like to know what parental lies other people have been told. If I find out any, I will add them below.

And here are some ‘lies’ told to friends:

Friend One’s first lie: ‘If the wind changes your face will stick like that’. This is a classic. I think most children were told this at some point. I’m not sure that many believed it.

Friend One’s second lie: ‘If you don’t eat your crusts your hair won’t curl’ Another classic. I always wanted curly hair and I ate all my crusts and it never happened so I quickly learnt that this was a complete fib.

Friend Two’s first lie: ‘My boyfriend’s little brother when he was about 12 asked me why I took a pill everyday (referring to my contraceptives) and I told him it was to stop me from growing a beard and that was why women weren’t hairy. I told him all women do this so he asked his older sister if she took a pill everyday also and she said yes!’

Friend Two’s second lie: ‘My mum used to tell me that if I didn’t go to sleep at night the bogey man would get me. I believed he lived in the loft and was too scared to go to the toilet in the night in case he got me. She also used to tell me this to get me to nap in an afternoon.’

Friend Two again: ‘My boyfriend says his mum used to tell him when the ice cream van played music it was because they ran out of ice cream.’ I’ve used this one on my three children. They didn’t believe it at all.

Friend Three’s lie: ‘My partner’s mum would tell him if he told a lie his tongue would turn purple, so if he was fibbing he wouldn’t open his mouth so she knew he was fibbing! We now say the same to our little boy’.

Friend Four’s lie: ‘I spoke to the tooth fairy on the phone when I lost (actually lost) a tooth and was very upset about it. It was YEARS later before mum confessed the beautiful fairy voice belonged to her, speaking from the upstairs phone.’ This is a lovely ‘lie’. I do worry about what my children will say when they inevitably find out that the likes of Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy are not real people who come into the house at night to leave things.




Why don’t grown-ups play with home furnishings and their imagination?

I had this weird thought on my way to bed the other night. I was cold and I had wrapped a blanket around my waist to keep warm. I found myself automatically sashaying between the bathroom and the bedroom and I pretending I was a princess on her way to get her valuable beauty sleep. In my head I was about to climb on a mountain of mattresses and find a frog at the top. My way of walking changed from the walk of a regular 21st-century person to the walk of a Disney princess. Mid-sashay I stopped to think about what I was doing. I hadn’t had the urge to do that for over thirty years (most likely more). When did I lose the desire to drape myself in blankets and pretend to be royalty?

Another game I was fond of was twisting myself in a curtain until the space got smaller and smaller and smaller, then untwisting again. When is the last time I did that? I really couldn’t say.

The curtain twisting game - hours of fun

The curtain twisting game – hours of fun

I also enjoyed standing on my head (for hours) and pretending that the house was upside down. In this land you had to step into rooms and you slept on the ceiling. I did briefly stand on my head a few weeks ago but I haven’t played the ‘pretend everything is upside down’ game for many years. (A variety of this game is imaging that what is seen in a mirror is the real world and you are the reflection.)

Living on the ceiling and stepping into rooms is all the rage

Living on the ceiling and stepping into rooms is all the rage

At what point did I lose this ability to play with just my imagination and home furnishings? I also liked making dens behind the settee and pretending the house was a magical land ruled by giants.

As well as living with giants, I liked to lie in bed in the morning and pretend my knees under the blankets were hills and I was the giant of the land. An earthquake could easily be provoked by the need to shift position. The ‘little people’ didn’t like that. I would warn them not to anger me.

Now I am a grown up, I hardly ever prance around the house draped in sheets looking for Prince Charming and as for standing on my head, the last time I tried that a photo was uploaded to Facebook and subsequently I was regarded as a bit of an oddity. Only eccentric, or drunk, grownups stand on their head. Why shouldn’t grown ups play? Why do we change? When do we become, boring?

That dog is not impressed, and I hadn't had any alcohol before doing this

That dog is not impressed, and I hadn’t had any alcohol before doing this

I want everyone who reads this to put their phone, computer, or laptop down and go play – play anything, all you need is a house and your head. Be a princess. Live in the mirror. Twist yourself in a curtain – it is fun, I promise.