You can’t have idiom without id

By Mir
February 29, 2008

Chickadee was sitting at the breakfast table this morning, trying to finish the homework I’d cruelly sent her to bed before completing, last night. She was to bring in a list of at least twenty idioms and what they mean, and was on number eighteen and struggling to finish.

Monkey was spinning in circles, being a general distraction, and Otto had retreated to the office to get away from it all, I think. I was trying to help, but running out of expressions. Plus, it had taken entirely too long to get her to understand what the “can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” saying means.

Of course, I was also sort of busy mediating the bickering that was happening.

“Otto!” I called into the other room in exasperation. “Do you have any ideas?”

“How about, SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD!” he called back, nice and loud and with the barest hint of… something a little too enthusiastic.

Funny, the kids stopped bickering after that….


  1. Leandra

    Well, there’s always “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t” but something tells me Chickie’s teacher might not appreciate that one!

  2. mammafor2

    I am gonna have to use that one! My kids were going to austin for the weekend…. home sick now!! AHHHH….

    I am gonna go find a rod now and beat my head with it! Have a good one!

  3. Megan

    Well done Otto! It’s not a loving day in our house without some sort of creative threat of violence and mayhem. (ie: “if this living room is not tidy in TEN MINUTES I will… guys, what was this week’s threat?” Children, in bored tones, “hang us up by our toenails, MOM.”)

  4. dad

    My favorite has always been “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
    But that’s because I really like glass houses.

    On another note, I’m glad to see that when threats fail, you haven’t fallen back on the family hallmark…guilt.

  5. Bob

    it used to exasperate Laura to no end, she couldn’t get the kids to stop bickering no matter what. I’d bellow from the next room and quiet would suddenly ring through the house.

    there’s nothing like the booming dad voice. until the kids get older, then there’s nothing like mom guilt. you’ll get your turn.

  6. Niki

    My dad used to threaten my brother that he was going to break both of his legs. Not sure why it was both. He stopped threatening that when my brother (in public) said “Please don’t break my legs!” when caught misbehaving.

  7. karen

    ummmm….silk purse, what? Never heard of it and don’t get it either. lol. I’m with Chicadee.

  8. Aimee

    Heh. Otto’s funny. You can always add “Children should be seen, not heard” as a back-up.

  9. Monica (in Austin :)

    My favorite is “a pot is never so crooked that you can’t find a lid to fit it,” meaning that there’s someone out there for everyone, even those people who are really screwed up. My mom says that a lot.

  10. All Adither

    That Otto is a smart man.

  11. Pave.Gurl

    “Little pitchers have big ears” was heard a lot in my house.

  12. Sharkey

    Otto made me literally LOL. Too funny!

  13. Rachel May

    Hm… I thought it was “People who live in glass houses should change clothes in the basement.”

  14. Cassie

    HAHAHAA. I love Rachel May’s answer, only because my mom ALWAYS did that. Only, instead of it making any sense at all, she’d just mix and match at whim. The idioms in our house never made any sense. I can’t even think of an example because I had to block them out. Lol.

  15. Tootsie Farklepants

    Good grief! Twenty?!? I swear teachers get a little carried away and over assign. I mean, I’m sure the kids get it by 10.

  16. Flea

    I so don’t get pitchers having ears. At all. And there’s always “Don’t throw your pearls before swine.” Or “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Is that an idiom or just a stupid saying?

  17. arduous

    Yeah, I’ll be honest I don’t know what the silk purse out of a sow’s ear idiom means either. :)

    I guess that’s why God invented Google.

  18. Katie in MA

    Is there anything sexier in a man than wit?

  19. Caryn

    Ooh, good one!

  20. mike golch

    Ah the joys of parenthood.I my BH and I would baby sit our two nephews when they were young and they were a handful,the nice part was that we would go home to peace and quiet,seeing how we never were able to have children.

  21. lynn

    Defective yeti started a cliche rotation project, to get rid of the old cliches and create new ones. Check it out:

  22. Little Bird

    I’m not exactly sure I get the sows ear one, but I THINK it’s all about how you can’t make something that is worthless into something priceless. That being said, I know I don’t agree with it. You could always trot out the pot and the kettle.
    I once almost said “It’s an idiom” to someone who didn’t speak english all that well and thought better of it. She would have thought I was calling her an idiot. She definately knew the word idiot. And she would have crucified me. Language barriers, so much fun.
    Did I mention that she was the mother of my then and still ex-boyfriend?

  23. sharon

    is this one–you play with the bull you get the horns? I said that to my younger son who wanted to wrestle the older one today. It just came out of my mouth!

  24. Heather

    Ah, Otto, such a wonderful match for our pretty, witty Mir!

  25. Daisy

    My husband likes to mix his idioms, his metaphors, and more. One of his favorites is “Take the bull by the horns and run with it.” I prefer the vision of being “up a tree without a paddle.”

  26. Cele

    Oh mi gosh, either I eeehemmm more unusual that I thought or you guys are thinking too hard. Silk / pork rind it’s like a 180 to me.

  27. carson

    At least he didn’t say “beat you like a red-headed step-child.”

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