Evidence that parents can sometimes bring in the monster threats a little too early

A short play based on real events.

Setting: Shoe shop, Warwickshire.

Time: Daytime, 10am.

Mother of lively 3 year old.
3 year old.
Two shop assistants (non-speaking parts)
Drop-dead gorgeous, deliciously-curvy 49 year old blogger looking at shoes on sale rack (non-speaking part)

Scene 1

3 year old:   Wanna go outside.  [Runs outside.]
Mother:        No, don't go outside.  I've told you to stay in here with me.  Come BACK.
3 year old:   [comes back]  Wanna go outSIDE.
Mother:       I said, stay in here.
3 year old:   Wanna go outSIDE. [Runs outside.]
Mother:        I said, come here.  Anyway, there's a MONSTER out there.
3 year old:   [comes back in] No, there isn't.
Mother:       Yes, there is, and he'll eat you up.  Now stay here.

Scene 2 (30 seconds later)

3 year old:   [runs off upstairs to another part of shop]
Mother:       Come back HERE.
3 year old:   [shouts]  Wanna stay up stairs.
Mother:       I said, come BACK.  Anyway, there's a monster up there, too.
3 year old:   No, there isn't.
Mother:       Yes, there is.  Do you want to be eaten?  Come down HERE.
3 year old:   [comes back down]

Scene 3 (30 seconds later)

3 year old:    Wanna go down those stairs.
Mother:       No, I told you.  Stay with ME.  Anyway ...
3 year old:    Is there a monster there?
Mother:       Yes, there's a monster there.  And he'll gobble you up if you run around.  Into little pieces.  And the little pieces will be all over the shop floor.  And the shop ladies won't like it.  Now stay here with me.
3 year old:   [stands still by mother]

End of play.

Now, I'm sure you'll have realised from the description of the character that I was the lady looking at the shoes in this episode.  And I have some questions for the mother.

1.  When your 3 year old wakes up in the night and can't sleep, claiming, 'There's a monster in my wardrobe and it's going to eat me,' what are you going to say?  You have already introduced the proposition: 'Monsters are common in Warwickshire'.  Ah, awkward.  Whatever you decide, it had better be good.  Otherwise, I hope you have a good supply of under-eye concealer in your make-up bag.

2.  Wasn't your intervention a bit drastic?  I mean, what happened to good old-fashioned, 'Don't run around the shoe shop or the manager will be cross with you'?  Couldn't you have started off slowly with, 'Don't run around or you won't be watching TV when we get home?'  Keep something back.  Otherwise, what will you do in 10 years' time when the headmaster rings and says, 'I'm afraid your child has just driven a stolen JCB truck through the gymnasium while off her head on crack?'

3.  If, say, an eight-foot tall, two-headed monster HAD appeared at that point at the door of the shoe shop, breathing fire and slashing at the shoe displays with long spear-like talons, were you prepared for what you were going to have to do then?  You would have to look very UNsurprised and say, 'See?  I told you there was a monster.  NOW will you behave?  Yes, I'll take those sandals, please.  How much is that?'

After what Mummy had said, little Angelina eyed a pair of children's trainers
on the sale rack with some suspicion


  1. Whatever happened to do as you're told or I'll whup your ass?

    Or did I just imagine that kind of childhood?

  2. And what do you think monsters wear on their feet? Shoes. And where do you think they got those shoes? Shoe shops. There is a rational explanation for everything other than the popularity of Big Brother.

  3. Hello:
    Is this not the downfall of so many of today's parents, to make threats which will not [as is the case of monsters in Warwickshire shoe shops], or cannot, be carried out?

    Doubtless in the case of The Play, the Mother had not thought through her arguments to any logical conclusion. And what if child retorts, "I do not mind running the risk of being eaten by a monster."?

  4. If the mother has already resorted to monsters when her child is three, what happens at four, at five, and so on? How silly. Children of three aren't daft, they are going to work out that their mother is a liar pretty soon and then where does that parent go? 'Stop it or the shop assistant will tell you off' worked in my day.

  5. Steve - I don't think 'ass-whupping' is even legal any more. [Note to any of my children. Do NOT write in.]

    The Hattats (I love your name) - I would LOVE to have heard the child say that. Especially if they'd added, 'Actually, compared to the delights of living with you, Mother, the monster option doesn't seem so bad ...'

    Jayne - maybe shop assistants were more scary then. They should get back into those nice crisp uniforms and shampoo and set hairdos and then we'd all feel a lot more comfortable using them as threats.

  6. I can't remember ever being threatened with a monster. Mind you, I used to be told not to pull faces in case the wind changed and I was stuck like that! And for years I believed that garibaldi biscuits really did contain dead flies!
    I wouldn't have run around in shoe shops. I was a proud member of the Clarks shoe club, and I'd have been kicked out!
    Oh, the shame.......

  7. Martin - don't tell me, you had a Blue Peter badge as well, didn't you? And, do you mean, the wind ISN'T the reason I look like this?

  8. Ha ha! At least I don't have that problem in shoe shops. My nearly three year old loves shoe shopping as much as I do!

  9. Fluggies, that's what my dad used to threaten us with. Much scarier. Monsters? I laugh at your monsters.

  10. Executioner, that what she needs (see previous post). Never fails.

  11. PhotoPuddle - your child is definitely reading all the right books!

    Isabelle - I want to know what a fluggie is. Or ... do I?...... aaarrrggghhhhhh!!!

    Invisible Woman - ha ha! If I see her again (and I'll definitely recognise her - she's the one whose child looks over her shoulder all the time) I will pass on your advice.

  12. The singular of fluggies is fluggy. Not fluggie. Call yourself an English teacher? And you're right. You don't want to know what they are. You're too young and impressionable.

  13. Oowee I believed the pulling faces, wind changing thing too! Dammit! It never worked as I still have a continuous grimace!

    I worry about todays parenting - can't control so scare.

    I used to worry about monsters under the bed - not parent induced - merely believing that Dr Who and The Outer Limits were sort of true.

    Anna :o]

  14. Isabelle - Oh my word, you are so PEDANTIC! I thought you were retired!...

    Hypercryptical - Dr Who is not TRUE? Blimey, I wish people would stop leaving comments that smash to pieces all my long-held beliefs.

  15. Now I've seen the shoe monster, I can't sleep ...

  16. Oh dear, monsters are worth going out to have a look at. A far better threat is to tell your children you will call them snookum's in front of their coolest friends. Give the big sloppy kisses in public and threaten to sing to their teacher (musical stylee) on the first day back to school.

    Works with mine!

  17. Hmm all my Mother needed to do was give me THE LOOK, you know the one! If that didn't work I was slapped - not allowed now, and I'm not advocating it. Sometimes I'm so glad not to be a parent :-)

  18. Poor teacher, poor girlfriends, poor friends, What kind of lesson does this give to a kid? Ah yes, none!

  19. My son had monsters, of his own creation, that would visit in the middle of the night and sit on the end of his bed. They were called Snotgurgles and I had a spray bottle full of magic water to make them disappear.
    They didn't visit for very long and came after he'd looked at a book of gnomes with my sister.

  20. Eliza - I think that mother was hoping that the monster would provide THE LOOK if not just carry the child off to its cave.

    L A Speedwing - thanks for visiting. Yes, er, what lesson does the child learn here? To stay alert while shopping, that's for sure.

    Sue J - EXACTLY! What IS it with gnomes? They are basically gargoyles for the garden, so what's the attraction?

  21. The poor little mite's last thought , when she's being gobbled up by a monster with messy table manners , is going to be , " If only I had listened to my dear Mama ".
    But , on the bright side , shoe shopping in Warwickshire should be a lot more fun .

  22. Wait, I'm confused. Which of them is the child?

  23. I just can't get over that perfect pic of those monster trainers! (Yes, I realize I'm overlooking the entire point of your both witty AND insightful post.)

  24. SmitandSon - I wish I could say I found shoe shopping at ALL fun. Had to take back the shoes I bought there yesterday because they were faulty. Serves me right for paying much more attention to family disputes ...

    Stan - aha! You have the nub of the issue there, methinks.

    I'm Crayon - it's okay. I'm the same. I sometimes look back over my posts and think, yep, the pictures are DEFINITELY the funniest bit. But then I love writing captions.

  25. My favourite parental threat (overheard on Merseyrail): 'You do tha' again an' Bob the Builder's goin' in the bin!'

  26. Those are the most perfect shoes to illustrate this post! If only the Warwickshire shoe shop had them hidden in the back, the threat might have been a bit more believable!

  27. broken biro - FAR more effective than monsters! Brilliant!

    Katie - I couldn't believe my luck when I found that picture! Talk about made for my story.

  28. WHAT a coincidence! My children were with me in that xact same shop and they WERE eaten by monsters..... Heed thy mothers I say.... 'specially at the 6th and 7th week of the summer holidays!!

  29. Lou - thanks for coming over! So YOU were the one saying, 'Yes, run outside dears - no, of COURSE there won't be a monster there, sillies!'

  30. Personally, I blame the teach...., erm, parents.

    Funny, but I never had problems like that. Somehow my kids knew that the great big hairy scary monster was right there in the shop with them and it was their loving mummy.

    I always meant what I said and never needed to say it twice. I have the sneaking suspicion that we have a lot in common, even if you don't know your siskin from your elbow.

  31. Friko - What is an elbow?

  32. Is that for serious? She actually told her son he would be eaten by a monster? Jeez, there are some bloody stupid people out there! Another one that makes me cringe is when I see parents screaming at their kids (sometimes swearing) .... !!

  33. Annie - I kid you not. But come on - have some mercy! Maybe she was trying to buy herself a pair of shoes. Who WOULDN'T try desperate measures?

  34. I'm in the warning with 'snookums' and singing club, with The Look for instant horror. No monsters needed- scary story

  35. Mum

    1. Very funny
    2. Yes I remember the wooden spoon
    3. You are English. It's spelt MUMMY. Did they not teach you anything at school?!


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