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PHRAGMENTS FROM PHYLLIS: Things I never thought I’d say

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Phyllis Britt

Phyllis Britt

My daughter Liz is living an interesting life with one of her daughter’s “quirks.” And some of the things that have come out of her mouth started me thinking about things I have said lately that I never thought I’d hear.

Liz posted a comment two days in a row of “things I never thought I’d hear myself say.” First was at dinner one night. Her elder daughter, Pearce, was eating but was focusing on one item in particular. We’ve all been there: “You may have another roll only when you’ve eaten four bites of green beans and five bites of chicken” ... “Yes, there’s cake, but you need to clean your plate first.” But in Pearce’s case, the scenario has an interesting twist. On this particular instance, my daughter said to her daughter, “You may have more Brussels sprouts only after you’ve eaten six bites of pasta” – definitely not the battle you expect. Then the next morning Liz posted another “things I never thought I’d say” – “I’m sorry, Pearce, you ate all the Brussels sprouts. What else would you like for breakfast?” To which her 8-year-old responded, “Fine! Then I’ll have meat!” I think I found this exchange particularly funny for two reasons – 1) Brussels sprouts are, shall we say, not my favorite vegetable, and they are certainly not something I would ever beg for more. 2) When I was Pearce’s age, I would have liked nothing better than to eat Trix for breakfast. My mother was sure she had failed as a parent if I didn’t head off to school with a hot breakfast – eggs and bacon, mostly – under my belt. (What she didn’t know was that while she was getting dressed for work, and I was supposed to be eating that hit breakfast, instead I would throw the eggs in the trash or flush them down the toilet.)

But my daughter’s exchange prompted me to list a few of those “things I never thought I’d hear myself say” (or in some cases, things I thought I’d never hear) – with a little help from my kids. So here goes:

• “Why am I the only one with clothes on?” (I’d love some context here, but my child didn’t offer any.)

• “Because I said so.” (Who hasn’t ultimately resorted to this one?)

• “No, you can’t pee outside Walmart. Just because (your grandmother) let’s you do it outside her house doesn’t make it OK everywhere.”

• “You want potato chips for breakfast. Sure, have potato chips for breakfast, just so you eat something.” (I’ve also said this about chocolate cake.)

• “Dad, you really know something!” (Daughter with surprise in her voice to Tom when he was helping her study organic chemistry)

• “Let me finish this level of Zelda, and then I’ll look at your broken arm.”

• “Mom, does math always do this to you?” (as Mom pounds her head on the kitchen counter while helping with first grade math)

• “You were supposed to throw up in the toilet, not beside it.” (Teacher to second grader whom she sat beside the toilet in case he threw up again before his parent picked him up.)

• “You fried a Palmetto bug in the microwave?! Seriously?” (FYI, it took 2-1/2 seconds to kill.)

• “Three-second rule! Eat it.”

• “Don’t rub the salami on your face!”

• “Why is the shark wearing a diaper?”

• “Yes, you have to put on underwear if you want to play outside.”

From teacher days – mine and my friend Susan’s:

• Child holding his arm out and using the other hand to move his tricep back and forth explains, “I’m trying to make my arm jiggle like yours.”

• Student finishing two pages of spelling, pushes her chair back and says, “I’ve had just about enough of this.”

• Turning her paper in, a first grader says, “Put a fork in me, I’m done.”

The pandemic has definitely changed our perspective, as well. Several items came to mind here:

• “Wait, I need to put my mask on before I go into the bank.”

• “Yes, you have to wear pants, even if you’re doing school at home.”

• “Go change into your nighttime pajamas.”

• “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to shake your hand. Would you like some hand sanitizer now?”

• “Yay, I’m going to get a shot today!”

• “I’m done sanitizing the groceries.”

• “Hey, everyone, Kroger (or your favorite store) has (insert your experience here - toilet paper, meat, cheese, bread, paper towels, bleach, Lysol ...).”

• “Sorry, guys, we can’t go to the park. They’re closed because of the pandemic.”

• “No, you may not hug grandma. You might make her sick.”

• “I just wiped off my container of Lysol wipes with a Lysol wipe.”

• “Are liquor stores considered an essential business?”

And now I am done – at least for the moment. If you have something you’ve said or heard that you never thought you would, please let me know. You can email me at or look for a link on Facebook. There may be another column in my future with all your experiences.