Magic in small things

Did you ever imagine that something as small as a few 100s and 1000s could be powerful enough to save relationships with the ones you love?

My mother told me about her use of the phrase ‘100s & 1000s’ when I was a young child. I have used the phrase with my parents, siblings, my children and their children. It defuses almost all situations and puts smiles on faces.

My youngest daughter is due to give birth to a baby girl soon and I got to thinking about what fun thing I could leave for her to open on her 16th birthday. I propose to give her a special bottle full of 100s & 1000s and I am sure her family will give her the story behind the magic phrase.

My mother, Joan, was born in England and met my father, Frank Hosie, during WWII. My father was from Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe in Africa. They married in England and mum came out to Africa as a war bride.

Five years later her mother sailed out to Africa for a holiday to meet her grandchildren. My elder brother was about four and I was eighteen months old. My mother had been able to cook and care for us very well before the arrival of her mother.

According to the story that my mother told me, no matter what Joan did, her mother criticised her method and used the phrase: ‘No, Joan, not like that – do it like this’ multiple times every day. After a few weeks of hearing this, Joan struggled to maintain ‘her cool’.

Joan simply poured the 100s & 1000s out of the box and onto the cupcakes

The straw that broke the camel’s back

The last straw event was when my mother was icing cupcakes for afternoon tea and she was putting 100s & 1000s on the top of the icing by sprinkling the container over the cakes.

My grandmother told my mother that she was doing everything wrong again and that my mother should place a tea towel under the cupcakes before sprinkling the 100s & 1000s over the top. ‘That way, you can collect any of the 100s & 1000s that do not stick to the icing and use them again’.

Without the weeks of being told that whatever you did was not the correct way, to get upset about sensible advice would possibly seem like an ‘overreaction’.

Joan had a monumental meltdown and their relationship was never the same afterwards.

Regularly being told what to do becomes tedious, even if the advise is useful

Avoiding conflict with a catchphrase

Everyone in our family knows the story of the cupcakes and 100s & 1000s. On those occasions when you do not wish for advice from a well-intentioned and much-loved person in your life we have all learned to simply say ‘100s & 1000s’.

The simple phrase works like magic. The person who hears it knows instantly that no further discussion or action is required, in fact, nor is it wished for.

The phrase is used often by the members of my family and a few special friends. It always makes us smile, it has the ability to reduce tense situations into ones we laugh about instantly.

Permission to do things the way you want to

Saying 100s & 1000s gives one permission to do things in the way that you want to ‘at the present time’ , without having to listen to a lecture about a better way to do something from anyone.

Saying the phrase acknowledges that you understand that there may be a better way to do something, but you don’t want to know about it now.

From little things big things grow

Unlike Paul Kelly’s song about Vincent Lingiarri and the positive effect many little things can make, multiple small negative actions can literally ruin relationships.

Works like magic

Once I was visiting my adult daughter, Tamara, the kids were noisy and excited. Tamara was preparing a special meal. I noticed the way she was cutting beans in a different way to how I usually do. I offered to cut them up for her. She knows me well and to avoid any discussion about why the beans were to be prepared in a ‘different’ way, she simply said – ‘no thanks, 100s & 1000s, go play with the kids’.

No further discussion required.

We all laughed, my daughter got to cook her meal exactly how she likes to. I got out of helping prepare dinner and gained extra time with my grandkids.

The last words

Feel free to use my ‘100s & 1000s’ phrase with your family or friends. Better still, make up one that works well with your family.

Use the ‘safety phrase’ to deflect possible unwanted advice/criticism between yourself and ones you love. It is handy to have a bottle of 100s & 1000s handy in your kitchen so that you can point at it occasionally, no words necessary.

Any criticism about my blog? Well, ‘100s & 1000s’ to you, for today anyway!