Meet the Fockers by Emily Smart
The other half said to me the other day, ‘stop looking like your dad.’ I had just woken from a little afternoon nap, my hair was all tufty and apparently my nose was looking as big as my father’s. It’s not really a compliment to be told you look like your 65 year old father when you’re quite a lot younger and the opposite sex. Just to add to my misery, my dad reckons he looks like Anthony Hopkins. When he played Hannibal Lecter. In ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. He used to delight in saying to my friends, ‘I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.’ Followed by a tutt tutt tutting with a sharp intake of breath.
My dad has always been something of a mystery to me. Generous to a fault and a good laff, I never quite knew why he would find it incredibly amusing to make me look like a twatter in front of my mates and generally embarrass me at every given opportunity. I was reminded of this last week when I walked my seven (going on seventeen) year old daughter to school. I thought it was hysterically funny to sing ‘hey, sexy lady, woop, woop, woop, open Gangnam style’ at the top of my voice whilst dancing as we crossed the busy playground. I was told in no uncertain terms ‘Mum, stop it, you’re embarrassing me.’ To which I laughed, sang some more and then when faced with much eyebrow raising and looks of disgust, told tales of my dad who would tickle me in the middle of a shopping centre if he saw anyone I knew approaching. The more I retracted in horror, the funnier he thought it was and carried on regardless.
I have subsequently learnt that this is typical dad behaviour worldwide, along with bad dancing, telling terrible jokes (Waitress, ‘what would you like to have for lunch sir?’ Dad, ‘soup in a basket please’) and saying things like ‘is that a skirt or a belt you’ve got on?’ Added to all this is my dad’s ability to wind me up at any and every given possibility. For example, over the last ten years whenever I call home and dad picks up, I say ‘how are you Dad?’ and he (without fail the annoying git) says ‘champion as we say up north.’ My dad is from Wales. Go figure. As a kid, dependent on the time of year, he had a ready ‘witticism’ when answering the phone at home. Classics included ‘Santa’s grotto’ ‘The All England Lawn Tennis Club’ (during Wimbledon) and his particular favourite, ‘the Emily Smart answering service.’
Then there’s my mother. Apparently I now ‘walk and giggle’ like my old dear. It doesn’t end there. At the age of 42 it would appear that I am morphing into my parents. This is slightly worrying and for several reasons, but frankly I haven’t got the time and you probably haven’t got the patience to hear why. The upshot of all of this is I spend a lot of time saying ‘God I sound like my mother.’ Favourite mother quotes that I have adopted as my own include:
- The globally known, ‘you treat this place like a hotel’ – which is somewhat wasted on three young children and a dog.
- ‘I’m not waiting on you hand, foot and finger’ (shouted aloud when I am usually waiting on the kids hand, foot and finger). What does it mean anyway?
- Response to ‘Mum, where’s my…’ (insert anything from hat to tooth brush) ‘up the crack of my arse!’
- ‘It’s like Fred Karnoes bloody circus here.’ I had absolutely no idea who Fred Karno was and actually had to look him up on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Karno
- Instead of ‘wow’ or ‘that’s amazing’ we got, ‘Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.’ The mind boggles.
We never went to the hospital, we went to the horse piddle. And keeping with the equestrian theme, if we ever accidentally trod on my mother’s foot we would be told in no uncertain terms to ‘get your bloody feet off me you great horse.’
Then there’s Anita Stone (also known as Anita Bottom). As kids, whenever we asked a question which actually didn’t require a reponse because the answer was so obvious, we would be told it was Anita Stone. For example:
Me, ‘Mum, who’s put all my clean clothes away?’
Mum ‘Anita Stone.’
Anita Stone was our next door neighbour. In 1977. For years I thought she was responsible for doing our washing, ironing and cleaning. To this day, if my children ask me a daft question like, ‘Mum, who’s moved my iPod?’ Yes you’ve guessed it. Anita bloody Stone!
Both of my parents are Welsh – and that is a whole other post in itself – but have lived the majority of their lives in England. However, as they get older, they are sounding more and more like characters from ‘Gavin and Stacey’, which of course makes me laugh. A lot. Apart from the accent, they also have Welsh sayings such as ‘where to are you by’ (rough translation is: where are you?) and ‘come and have a cwtch (cuddle)’. I fondly remember my Welsh grandmother saying to my father ‘you’re not too big to get a leathering.’ She was two foot six standing on a box with her hands in the air (yes, another Mumism).
Anyhoo (a new Mum favourite), it’s time for lunch, so I’ve gotta go. That reminds me of two other expressions that my parents always quote when we’re out for dinner, and they never fail to put a smile on my face:
Waitress ‘Would you like a drink madam?’
Mum ‘God, I thought you’d never ask’
Me ‘Dad are you going to leave the waitress a tip?
Dad ‘Yeah, don’t wipe your arse with broken glass.’