Parents tell their children a lot of things to explain away awkward questions and give themselves a quiet life. Stork and the baby, anyone?
My parents were no different. In all fairness, it was more my father who was partial to making up a story or two, and my grandfather is the worst culprit of all. There are many porky pies that I have fallen for through my childhood, some innocent little fairy tales (like Mary the Fairy) and others slightly more devious, like the time that my grandfather convinced both my sister and I that a bowl of green olives in the centre of the dinner table were in fact green grapes. We soon realised the error of our ways, but not before consuming one of the horrible little things, and feeling suitably done.
In fact my granddad has never let the truth get in the way of a good story, but is a little flummoxed that we have now managed to work out when he is fibbing and call him out on it. The reason is this; he rubs his hands together when he is telling a tale, and looks very smug with himself. As children we failed to notice this, but as we got older we cottoned on to the lies and now he is rather less successful when trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
My dad has come out with some right treats too.
My sister, until she was about eighteen, was convinced that if you were to write on your hands, then you would get skin cancer. I think this is a little inappropriate to be telling young children, but I suppose it to be a means to an end, so we didn’t come home with biro all up our arms after a particularly interesting day at school. I was the worst; being a little bookworm who wanted to know everything about everything, I would jot down reminders on my lily white skin, ready to ask about it when I got in. But my sister believed this to be true for a long while longer than she should and often looked stupid when arguing the point with her peers.
Another winner that my dad provided us with was the use of hamsters to power a plane. Whenever we walked across the tarmac to go on holiday, he would do a little jog on the spot followed by a superman arm. It was drummed into us by that point, after years of trips that he was referring to the hamsters who powered the engines, getting ready for takeoff. This troubled me more than my sister, and my mum had to soothe me as I worried about the rodents in the massive engines. Yeahthanksdad!!
Did you ever get told anything ridiculous, or are you in fact the one who is currently conning your kids? Answers on a postcard please!