The Beauty Of a Catch Phrase

This post was originally published in August 2007.

Since we all know that repeating ourselves (and repeating ourselves…and repeating ourselves…) is the name of the game in parenting, we might as well as make it snazzy.  Hubs and I seem to have developed a treasure trove catch-phrases that we use over and over.  If you were to pop in to the Dryer house, this is what you’d likely hear….

“Take what you get and don’t throw a fit.”

Every single mom
I’ve ever met uses this one.  I think that when you’re distracted by the throes of labor, the hospital must inject it directly into your brain.

“I am my brother’s keeper.”

My Hubs initiated this one with our boys–it’s taken (very loosely) from Scripture.  He has given them numerous rousing speeches about the virtues of brotherhood–really, you can almost hear the violins playing the background.  In moments of brotherly bickering Hubs has been known to call out, “I am?….” and the boys chant back (sometimes through gritted teeth) “ brother’s keeper.”

We’re going to conveniently ignore that the Scripture being referenced is, in fact, the story of one brother murdering another.  Though there are days when that seems all too relevant.

“Different is good.”

We’ve used this one with Adam since he was very little.  He’s not always the best at adapting to change, and we’ve had to coax him off a few figurative ledges by having him repeat with us, “Different is good.”

I’m predicting this one will come back to bite us someday when Stephen (who most certainly does not have trouble deviating from the norm) comes home with purple hair and an nose-ring.

“See a need, fill a need.” 

We lifted this one straight from the movie Robots.  Loosely translated, it’s a nice way to say, “get your duff off the couch and feed the dog without being asked.  Please.”

“If you’re gonna play rough, you’ve gotta be tough.”

A friend taught us this one, and we happily pull it out when there is tackle football going on in the living room.  It’s basically a new-and-improved version of “it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt,” or “Don’t come cryin’ to me!”

“Blood, barf, bones or bad guys?”

This is my favorite one.  Sometimes, a momma needs the older kids to prioritize their needs before interrupting.  “Don’t come in here unless it’s an emergency” wasn’t working for my brood, because they think a misplaced Nerf ball is reason enough to call in the Special Forces.

So, I got a little more specific.  When I need a few minutes of alone-time to accomplish something, the kids know to interrupt me ONLY if they see blood, vomit, a bone sticking out somewhere or a villain scaling the side of our house.

And really, it just warms this momma’s heart to picture them sitting around living room after my funeral someday, reminiscing about their sweet mother, and they will chant, “blood, barf, bones or bad guys,” and OH, how their hearts will be warmed.

I’m turning this over to you all now.  I KNOW you’re bound to have some
good catch-phrases you use repeatedly with your kids–let’s hear them.

38 thoughts on “The Beauty Of a Catch Phrase

  1. Stephanie says:

    So funny! My kids are pretty little still, but there is one thing we say a lot around here:
    “Did you wipe and flush?”
    Variations include…
    “Remember to wipe!”
    “Wipe and flush.”
    “Don’t forget to wipe!”
    *Sigh* Hopefully our catch phases will gradually evolve into something less, um, graphic.
    Thanks for the laugh!

  2. Shawna says:

    The one I’ve used since I was little is “No blood, No tears”. Obviously, it’s not a hard and fast rule, but it helps the kids keep little injuries in perspective.
    Another one that my son came up with is used when one of us just needs a hug…the Hug-Needer will ask the potential Hug-Giver, “Have you gotten a big hug from me today?” Of course, the answer is always no, and the hugging begins. 🙂

  3. Christine says:

    “I can’t give you what I don’t have!” as in – please don’t pitch a fit because I can’t pour you regular lemondae instead of pink lemonade. I don’t have regular lemonade – I can’t give you what I don’t have! We have a fair amount of success with that one.
    “The screaming stops now!” Not very catchy, but seriously, what is it with little girls and the high pitched screaming?! I don’t remember screaming like that? Honestly! And it could be squeals of glee or howls of frustration – it’s just really high!

  4. Leanne says:

    I use “Like it or lump it” which basically means the same thing as take what you get and don’t throw a fit.
    “And I thought this was going to be a good girl day” followed by a sigh seems to be stopping tantrums in their tracks at the minute too, so I’ll keep using that one.

  5. Carrie says:

    Sometimes I have all three kids demanding I do something at the exact same time. It is infuriating! I started to have this conversation…
    Me: Hey! Just a minute! How many people is Mama?
    Kids: One
    Me: How many things can Mama do at a time?
    Kids: One
    Me: What am I doing right now?
    Kids: Tying Ben’s shoes (or whatever it is that I happen to be doing)
    Me: Okay, so when I am done I will…and then I will… (fill in as necessary)
    Works everytime!

  6. Sheri says:

    I have to admit the “Get what you get” saying, I hated it the first moment I heard it and refuse to say it! LOL I just think it stinks. (Not the idea, the phrase for some reason irritates the tar out of me!)

  7. LisaC says:

    “You get what you get” is the phrase I use in my classroom the most. The greedy, picky kids hear it the most, followed by, “That’s Ok! If you don’t want the red you can go without! Won’t hurt my feelins at all.”
    I also use “Blood or Barf” as the two reasons people can interrupt me when I am working with a child individually. It is too important to interrupt!
    My mother’s favourite phrase for us was: “Well, fine! If you don’t really love me…” but you probably aren’t looking for that kind of psychological damage.

  8. Carrie says:

    You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.
    No blood, no bandaid.
    Obey the first time cheerfully.
    Stay with Mama, use your inside voice, and NO running.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    As we got older we would complain about what my mom made for dinner. My mom’s favorite phrase for that one was, “Eat it or die!” (said with love…of course!)
    Her other favorite saying was, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!)

  10. cathier says:

    Right now dealing with young adult children my phrase is “it’s your choice” meaning that if you would do it the way I suggested, it would turn out much better but I know you gotta do it your way.

  11. Deanne Broscious says:

    We have three boys, 15,12 and 5.
    “Don’t open your mouth if you don’t have anything nice to say”
    “Nobody makes you do anything, you choose your actions”
    “Brush your teeth and put on deodorant”
    And the most important one of all
    “I love you more than anything in the whole world”

  12. Deanne Broscious says:

    Oh! Almost forgot my all time favorite passed down through four generations.
    Child “I wish I could get that….”
    Me “Wish in one hand, poop in the other
    and see which one fills up quicker”
    I know, gross, but effective!!!!!

  13. liz says:

    My two favorites:
    Obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart.
    And “If you aren’t pleasant, you can’t be present”
    (this applies to little whiny ones. If they get fussy, they go to bed. They can’t spoil the fun for everyone else!)

  14. Jennifer says:

    Lately I’ve been saying “Don’t cry when it hurts” alot. The 4 year old seems to think he is indestructible. A family favorite is “Crying is for dead people and big owies”. That one was coined for our younger daughter who cries about everything. Another favorite is “Hugs don’t hurt!!” My oldest child thinks hugs and full body tackles are one and the same.

  15. peggy says:

    to the blood, barf, bones or bad guys. . . and I know it breaks up the lovely alliteration (SORRY!) but it’s important. . . “FIRE!”
    Don’t ask.

  16. Brenda says:

    I get kick out of hearing my son tell his kids at bedtime, “Flush and Brush.”
    My kids tease me about my lack of sympathy for them when they were bleeding pushing them into the kitchen saying, “Do NOT bleed on the carpet!”

  17. Amy says:

    When my girls come in to tattle on each other, I ask if anyone is Bleeding, Broken, or Burned. Usually if the answer is no, they have to wait until I have finished what I am doing or I won’t hear it.

  18. Mrs. Q says:

    LOL..I love the “blood, bones, barf or bad guys” phrase…
    Our variation on that is:
    Me: What is an emergency?
    Kids: Bleeding, dying, broken bones or fire.
    I need to add bad guys… 🙂
    The most frequently used-by-me phrase is: Don’t interrupt me while I’m talking on the phone unless it’s an emergency!!!!

  19. Melinda says:

    Used when the kids have questioned the usual rules for the 500th time: “Are you new here?”
    My mother’s favorite warning: “You’ll put your eye out!”

  20. Angel Sullivan says:

    #1 Whenever my kids try to lie down on a bench at a restaraunt, prop their feet up, or sprawl across the table in some way: “this isn’t a bed and breakfast.”
    #2 “Wipe, woosh, and wash.”

  21. Phyllis@Aimless Conversation says:

    “Can you see the phone on my head/at my ear??!”
    “Anything less than instant obedience is disobedience.”
    “Choose Obedience.”
    “Are you bleeding?” (This is said by me from behind the bathroom door.) I like your version better. =)

  22. Bonnie S. says:

    My mom’s favorite thing to say to us in the car when we were fighting was, “Stop it, or I’m gonna reach back there and hit whatever I hit!” It was pretty effective because it only took a couple of times of getting slapped all over our legs to believe her.

  23. Richelle says:

    there are a few commonly heard around our home:
    1) for bickering/tattling – “if mama has to come and solve your problem, ain’t nobody gonna like the solution.” – which gets me out of the referee role, at least with the little things.
    2) the corollary – “Is there blood or barf involved?”
    3) “unless it happens the first time, right away, exactly as told and with a good attitude, it isn’t obedience.”
    4) “finders keepers” initially regarding dirty diapers, but then regarding any “mess.”
    5) and this one, coined by hubby during the potty training days: “heads down, bottoms up!”

  24. Rosa says:

    Disobedience causes suffering.
    In case of injuries or suffering, “Offer it up don’t waste it”
    “you will always have to suffer, but you never have to suffer in vain. Give it to Jesus for something.”

  25. TrishNotChris says:

    When the kids are doing something that will eventually lead to crying and pointing of fingers, I will ask them “How much sympathy are you going to get from Mom when someone starts crying?” “None”, they reply. “Glad we’re savvy.”
    I will also cut off a tattler with “unless you are bleeding from the head, you need to work it out between yourselves…”

  26. Kelly says:

    Treat people the way you want to be treated
    If you’re not bleeding or on fire, handle it yourself
    If you see a job that needs doing, do it.

  27. Catherine says:

    In my household the saying is:
    You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit and if you throw a fit you don’t get S**t….
    My favorite saying however is….No one ever told me life was fair..and it’s not…a fair is a place we go in the fall and ride rides and play games.

  28. Heather says:

    These are great – and we have a few of our own to add:
    Are you going to adjust your attitude yourself, or will I have to adjust it MANUALLY???
    SLOW obedience is NO obedience!
    Are you ‘golden rule’ living sweetheart?

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