Lies My Parents Told Me

Lies My Parents Told Me

Things have been kind of heavy here at Little Merry Sunshine recently, so I'm going to lighten the mood a little for the next few days.

Over at The Tot Wrangler, a wonderful ChicagoNow blog that you should be reading, there's been a very lively discussion about lies parents tell their children. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

The stories are hysterical, so go over and read them. I'll be here when you get back. Really. I've got a glass of wine, so I'm good for awhile.

You're back? Okay, great.

Reading all those funny anecdotes got me to thinking about the lies my parents told me. Trust me, they told me some doozies. My parents were some big fat liars. Tonight we'll focus on two of my favorites.

Lie #1

When I was little (approx. ages 1 to 4 1/2), we lived in Fort Myers, Florida. At that time, Fort Myers was kind of a sleepy town. Nothing like it is today. It had a small regional airport, Page Field, located just east of US 41 (first, I remembered that without looking it up, and second, that's the same US 41 that I live off of in Lake Bluff, IL). The airport serviced bigger cities in Florida like Tampa and was home to many small private planes. My parents told me that the small private planes were "baby airplanes" that would someday grow up to become the big planes we flew to Tampa. I completely fell for this line of crap and loved going to look at the baby airplanes whenever we could.

We moved to Arlington Heights in the fall of 1975 and lived just south of Palatine Road. My Gardner grandparents lived in Northbrook, just north of Willow Road, which is the same as Palatine Road. Between our houses was Palwaukee Airport, now known as Chicago Executive Airport, which only served small private planes. We drove by the airport every single time we visited my grandparents and I'd always comment on the baby airplanes.

Even though I've recently learned (okay, probably 35 or so years ago) that the small private planes don't "grow up" to become 747s, I can't help but smile as I'm reminded of all the trips to see the baby airports every time I drive by.

Lie #2

As a toddler, I had a strong oral fixation (please keep your filthy jokes to yourself) and refused to give up my bottles. I drank out of a sippy cup or regular cup during the day, but I would not go to bed at night without my bottle.

It didn't matter how many stories my parents read to me or how many sips of water they gave me in a sippy cup. If I didn't have my bottle, I was not going to sleep and neither was anyone else. There was simply no negotiating on this point.

My parents read all the Dr. Spock books on the topic, tried everything the pediatrician told them to try, and all of it was to no avail. They would throw out my bottles in the morning with my consent and, by 7:30 that night, someone would be driving around to find an open store that sold bottles. It was 1974 and there was no such thing as a 24-hour store. If there were no bottles to be found, misery was in store for everyone.

One day, my mom heard that the Budweiser Clydesdale Horses were in town and she devised a plan. Now pregnant with David, she believed this was her final shot to break me of my oral fixation before he he grew out of bottles. It was now or wait til I was in Kindergarten or First Grade.

She sat me down and explained that along with the grown-up Clydesdales, there were some baby Clydesdales who desperately needed bottles. Would I be willing to let them have my bottles because I was a big girl who didn't need them? After contemplating the situation for a few minutes (you know I did, even if I didn't know what that meant), I agreed. We bagged up all of my bottles and headed off to perform my first charitable act.

Upon arriving at the fairgrounds, Mom took me over to the Clydesdales, told me to stand still and she'd be right back. She needed to get the man who cared for the baby horses. Don't judge my mom. This was 1974. I also probably stood in the front seat without a seatbelt the entire way from our house to the fairgrounds.

As I now understand it, my mom went over to the man with the horses and told him that I was going to walk up and offer him something and that under no circumstances could he turn it down. She didn't care what he did with it after I left, but he'd better say thank you and graciously accept my gift. He agreed, although I bet it was a bit reluctantly.

I stood proud and tall, summoned all of my Big Girlness, walked over to the man, held out the brown paper sack with my bottles, and offered my baby bottles to the baby Clydesdales. The nice man accepted my bottles, thanked me, and assured me that the baby horses would appreciate my generosity. I walked away with a big grin on my face, knowing that I'd made a difference, and had permanently given up my baby bottles.

My oral fixation never left though. To this day, I prefer to drink everything from a bottle - beer, Diet Coke, water, juice, whatever. I'm almost never without a bottle of water or other non-alcoholic beverage. In college, I kept a 32 ounce water bottle next to my bed every night and usually drank the entire thing either before I went to sleep or would drink it if I woke up in the middle of the night.

Up next: Let's talk about sex.

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    Jessica Gardner

    A native of Chicago's Northwest Suburbs and resident of the North Shore, Little Merry Sunshine comes by her name honestly. The story goes that as a child, she was always so happy that she even slept with a smile on her face. Her mom nicknamed her Little Merry Sunshine. It stuck, along with her insatiable desire to focus on the good in the world and to leave it a little better than she found it. She does this by sharing her passions and dreams, what inspires her, and maybe you too, and furthering the discussion about how we can listen to our better angels. You can reach her at LittleMerrySunshineCN[at]WowWay[dot]com.

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