Does becoming a grown-up really mean you have to turn into your mother?

Aasma Day
Aasma Day
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DRIVING home from work the other day, I got to a pelican crossing and as the lights turned red, I stopped while a group of school children crossed the road.

As a little lad around the age of six got to the other side, he turned to look at the traffic with an impish grin … and then pressed the button again.

“The little monster!” I thought to myself, thinking of all the cars which would soon have to come to a halt, all for nothing adding unnecessary moments to their commute home.

Then I got a sudden flashback to being a child myself, and I remembered how I too used to do the same thing and constantly pressed the button of pelican crossings, whether I was going across the road or not.

I think I just loved the beeping noise when it was safe to cross – and seeing the green man flashing.

Clearly I didn’t get out much in those days.

Whenever I travelled anywhere in the back of a car as a youngster, I used to love hanging my head out of the fully unwound window and feeling the wind on my face and ruffling my hair.

I remember on one occasion travelling in the same car as an aunt who crossly kiboshed my window activities by complaining it was messing up her hair.

I can clearly recall petulantly winding the window back up and thinking: “I hope I never become like that when I’m a grown up.”

But just the other week, I was in the car with our children and caught myself saying: “Please will you close your windows – my hair’s getting all messed up.”

It got me thinking about all the different things we tell our own children off for nowadays – even though we used to do them ourselves.

I have to hang my head in shame with my next confession of how as a child, me and my friends used to love the game of knocking on random doors or ringing doorbells and then running away and hiding behind the corner and watching as someone answered the door to find there was no one there.

Not only would I be deeply mortified if my own children ever participated in such an activity, I would also be very miffed if any scallys dragged me from the comfort of my living room to answer the door for nothing.

Eating certain foods in a variety of weird and wonderful ways was another childhood pleasure.

I distinctly recall I would only eat Jaffa Cakes by first nibbling around the edges, then peeling off all the chocolate, then eating the soft biscuit base before sucking the remaining orange jelly centre.

Disgusting? Certainly. Delicious? Most definitely.

I ate Maltesers in a similar way, carefully pecking off all the chocolate before sucking the melting honeycomb ball. Yummy.

Eating a bowl of ice-cream meant stirring it vigorously with your spoon until it turned into ice-cream soup. Neapolitan ice-cream with its vanilla, strawberry and chocolate flavours always turned into a vile sludgy colour.

Hula Hoops were also a source of immense pleasure. I used to wear the circular snacks on all my fingers as rings before munching them off.

I don’t think I could get my fingers to fit into Hula Hoops nowadays.

Custard Creams presented the challenge of trying to separate the biscuits without breaking them before scraping the cream centre with your teeth.

As you can tell, I had a great diet as a child.

If I witnessed my own children eating their food in any of the ways I have described, I know I would automatically say: “Eat your food properly – stop messing with it.” What a hypocrite.

Convinced I couldn’t be the only parent who preached what they definitely didn’t practice, I asked Hubby if there were any things he found himself telling the children not to do which he did himself.

Hubby confessed he has recently found himself telling our twosome not to play their music so loud – even though he spent all his youth and later years attempting to deafen himself with the volume of his music.

Mind you, I think his attempts to get our children to turn the volume down is more about their choice of music than how loud it is.

If they were playing music from the Beatles or Chemical Brothers rather than One Direction and Katy Perry, I’m sure there wouldn’t be any complaints.

The other day, I even caught myself protesting at how many lights our children had left on all over the house – again something I was regularly guilty of in my younger years … occasionally still today.

But my more mature self grumpily huffed: “How many lights are on in here? It’s like Blackpool illuminations!”

Arrrgh. When did it happen? When did I become a grown-up? I still feel like a big kid myself … even if the mirror tells me otherwise.

Then another more frightening realisation dawned.

Oh my God. I’m turning into my mother.