Tag: tea

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.




British values aren’t that hard to define

This is the weird thought I had today over lunch (not on the toilet, I might have to change the name of this blog at this rate).

Sometimes I like to engage my children in lively debate over mealtimes. It’s fun (for me at least). I like to know what they think about various contemporary issues and topics (I also often do this on car journeys as well when they can’t run away from my annoying questions).

Today over posh soup and bread from Morrisons I asked them: can you name any traditional British values?

It's not Heinz

It’s not Heinz

Number one son replied with: I don’t know what you mean. What do you mean?

Number two son said: Oh we did that at school, I can’t remember.

Number three son didn’t respond.

Number two son, after some careful thought, finally came up with: tea!

A traditional British value: the love of tea?

A traditional British value: the love of tea?

The reason I posed this question was in response to the most recent ‘coffee and chat’ session between parents and the headteacher at my two youngest sons’ school last week. At the ‘coffee and chat’ we talked about the most topical recent addition to the curriculum for primary schools: the teaching of British values. Ofsted will now judge schools on, among other things, their teaching of British values. The discussion was lively and the conclusion was that British values are quite abstract concepts and hard to teach and the same as the values of most regions in the world: tolerance, democracy, individual liberty. They are mostly common sense.

The Internet, that oracle of truth, tells me that Ofsted lists four British values that primary schools should be teaching. These are: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

These do indeed seem to be universal values. However, my children appeared to have little understanding of the first two certainly and some limited understanding of the latter two. As all they could come up with was ‘tea’, which I was swift to point out came originally from China and India, this doesn’t bode well for their understanding of the issue at hand. I’m just glad there isn’t an exam.

However, after giving this matter some thought I managed to come up with, over lunch, some fundamentally ‘British’ values that may or may not be found abroad and that my children might be able to grasp:

  • Respect for tradition (we are very fond of old things and anything with a bit of pomp and circumstance such as a Royal Wedding)
  • Respect for people who are more senior in age (this is a ‘value’ that we share with a country such as Japan, where respect for elders runs very deeply)
  • Respect for those with more experience than us (in this area, we are again very similar to the Japanese)
  • Decorum (we all know when to turn on the please and thankyous)
  • Tolerance of the expression of individuality (we are a nation of eccentrics after all, such as the man number two son saw in HMV last week dressed as a dog)
  • Tolerance of minorities in our society (we live in a country which has been conquered and which has in turn conquered so we are by our history multicultural – tolerance is a must)
  • Openmindedness (we have lead the world in granting equal rights to all regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation etc)
  • Strong work ethic (compared to many of our mainland European neighbours we are very ambitious and career-orientated and many of us are complete workaholics). This probably comes from our Protestant past. As I pointed out to my children, look at how much work mummy and daddy do – too much.
  • Strong education ethic (we want the best for our children and we want them to achieve better than we did, however impossible that might be). Again, I blame the Protestants.
  • Belief in our right to democracy (our ancestors fought very hard for democracy so we feel very strongly that it is a given in our society)

I’m sure there are more ‘British values’ that we didn’t come up with over lunch of posh soup from Morrisons today, and some of these above fall into the values listed by Ofsted. However, I think mine are very peculiarly British.

I wonder if I am feeling a bit more patriotic than I was when I wrote this?

So then after the discussion I asked my children again what they thought constituted a British value and number one son responded with: Sunday dinner?

Granny Food

Granny Food