Monday, April 28, 2008

Suck it up, buttercup

I was at the park. My middle gent fell down and got a little tiny scrape. Tears and much wailing and gnashing of teeth over barely any blood. So I said....

"Suck it up, buttercup."

A mother gasped in horror and fled with hands clasped over her child's ears.

Ok, so she didn't really gasp in horror and run away. She did kind of look at me funny, though. You know the look, like, "Um, what kind of mother are you? Who says that to a child?"

(In the interests of full disclosure, I should also mention that, as usual, I'd forgotten to brush his hair, and he'd been digging in the dirt, also as usual, so his fingernails were filthy because I don't carry a nail brush in my purse. Plus his pants had a hole in the knee. Doesn't bother me to take him out like that, but I'm not exactly looking like a nominee for Mother of the Year either.)

Anyway, back to "Suck it up, buttercup."

It's not like I said, "Quit your crybaby whining, you little wimp" and socked him in the arm, but I realize that taken out of context it's not exactly the most....P.C. ...thing to say, especially to a little boy.

Here's the context: A friend and I were talking about trying not to baby our children when they get hurt because they're getting older and more capable. When we were kids we were expected to get up, brush off, and try again. She told me about a friend of hers who used to say, "Suck it up, cupcake."

I thought it was funny, So I told the kids about it. And the next time one of the fine young gents fell down--nothing broken or gushing blood--I said, "Suck it up cupcake." And he laughed. After much experimentation, we decided that "buttercup" was the perfect partner to "Suck it up" so we've stuck with it. Although "cupcake" has a nice ring to it, too, so we sometimes go with that one so as not to get in a rut.

Now it's a kind of inside joke. "Suck it up, buttercup" has become a mutually-agreed-upon multi-purpose phrase that means it's not going to hurt forever, I love you, practice makes perfect, I'm sorry you're hurt, do it even if you don't want to, you'll feel better in a minute, "you're braver than you think" (from Pooh's Grand Adventure), and I think you're pretty cool. All rolled in to one.

Life is good. Even when the kids have dirty fingernails and messy hair and holes in their clothes and fall down and cry.

1 comment:

living in PA said...

I love "suck it up, buttercup." I think I'm going to borrow it from you.
I think it is great for a boy or a girl. I have a little girl right now who often needs to, "suck it up."