The Man In the Ugly Sweater Gave Me Some Great Advice

As a child, one of my favorite television shows was The Cosby Show. I’ve caught a couple of reruns in the past years but the majority of my watching happened 25 years ago.

Miraculously, the stories and plot lines of this sitcom have planted themselves in my subconscious.

I first realized this last winter when my son was sick with the flu and running a fever. He asked what was going on with his body. Without a second thought I began to spin a tale about “germs having a party in his body.” I told him the germs were in his tummy having a grand old time dancing and carrying on. The only way to rid him of the germs was to drink lots of fluids and basically rain on their parade. I also told him that the fever was heating things up inside of his body and causing the germs to sweat and want to find another place to have their party.

As these words were coming out of my mouth I realized I had learned this from The Cosby Show. Clifford Huxtible had spun this same tale for Rudy when she was stuck in bed with the flu. I was in shock that I had remembered this and I was grateful to Bill Cosby for giving me this wisdom.

Flash forward to this past summer. I am pretty strict on bedtimes at our house. Even in summer I put the kids to bed at their normal bedtime. The kids are pretty good with this but one particular night they questioned why they had to go to bed and why the parents got to stay up late.

Out of my mouth came, “Tomorrow YOU can be the parents. You decide what you eat, what you do and when you go to bed.”

I had no idea where this came from. My husband’s eyes got HUGE and he look horrified by this statement I had just blurted out. I was stunned I had said it too.

It suddenly dawned on me. The Cosby Show! Dr. Huxtible let Rudy stay up late one night watching late night talk shows and old cowboy movies after she complained about an early bedtime. Once again, my subconscious came alive and I was reliving my favorite childhood show.

The next morning at the beginning of our “experiment” the kids told me what they wanted for breakfast. I made it and they ate it. They then asked me if they could eat some of their candy they had received at a parade. This would never be allowed on a normal day but today THEY were the parents so I told them they could. Their mouths dropped open at this exciting prospect!

The rest of the day they had fun with the lack of rules and regulations placed on them and took full advantage of their new freedom.

When night fell upon us, my husband and I said good-night to the kids and told them to have fun. The looks on their faces read of utter disbelief that we had made good on our promise and that they were allowed to stay up as late as they wanted and watch tv.

The next day was absolutely horrendous!

I have never seen my children so grumpy and irritable. I’m sure they both had tummy aches after a day of consuming too much candy. I’m sure they were both so tired they couldn’t even see straight.

I never said a word and we somehow managed to make it through the day. Both kids ate healthy and were in bed at their normal time.

Flash forward 3 months later to present day. Neither kid has asked to eat obscene amounts of candy nor has either kid asked why they have to go to bed early.

Thank you Bill Cosby for lodging yourself in my subconscious and giving me some great parenting wisdom!

Iris and Bency eating candy after breakfast

32 responses

    • I’m glad it turned out okay…they could have started demanding candy and late bedtimes all of the time! I really took a risk with that one!

    • This is one thing I know for sure…I will never buy my kids big lollipops…those are the messiest things I have ever seen! They couldn’t eat them all in one sitting so we were wrapping them up in Saran Wrap but they kept leaking all over the counter!! LOL! And yes…it was definitely a moment of madness…I’m lucky I didn’t create little monsters!!

  1. I LOVED the Cosbys. When life got rough, I wished to go live with them. Now that I have my own family, I subconsciously fashion my style after them, especially the use of humor. Except that the reverse psychology backfires on me. Glad it works with your kids though!

    • haha!! I loved when their family did the singing acts for their grandparents!! I thought that was the best! I try to keep the humor in everything too! Sometimes I have a success and sometimes I don’t!!!

    • Oh yeah!!! That was awesome! My husband also likes to use this one on the kids…”I brought you into this world and I can take you out and make another one that looks just like you!” So funny!!!

      • It aired here in England when I was in my teens approximately around the same time as in the US, and were adored here too. Especially Bill. To be honest I loved US TV then, such as Fresh Prince, Everybody Hates Chris, Starsky and Hutch the lot, and I still do!

      • That’s so cool!! I wasn’t sure if people from other countries would have any idea what I was talking about!! I think tv was better back then!!!

  2. Love Bill Cosby and his parenting wisdom. The oft-quoted line in our house now is “The goal is to get them OUT of the house.” and “We have four children because we don’t want FIVE.” Great post!

  3. You are a Mom after my own heart!! I’ve been “Cosby-Parenting” from day one when we reinacted the birthing routine.

    Loved your story!
    Maryellen Hooper

  4. My parents and I used to watch the Cosby Show often, too–your memory is serving you better than mine, though! You had great courage to try that reverse-parenting experiment! I’m happy for all of you that it ended well and that it ended *there*. My kids have felt the effects of staying up late every now and then, and that keeps them from complaining about early bedtimes. I’m curious to see what liberties they would take if we gave them the chance.

    • I’m glad it ended well too!! It is yet to be determined if I will ever do it again if when my youngest son gets to the age that he can complain about a early bedtime! I guess I must have had a gut feeling it would work with the other two but it definitely was a risk!!! LOL!!

  5. Wow, you are awesome (and a more than a little brave) to bust out with that Cosby experiment! I loved the Cosby Show, we watched it together as a family when I was growing up. A great show with plenty of words to live by.

    • Yes! I think I need to go back and watch them all again and see if there is anything else I can utilize! I’m sure my 10 year old self missed a few things!!

  6. Haha! When I read the title, Heathcliff Huxtable sprung to mind and I was right!! He did have the ugliest sweaters ever! Sheep everywhere were ashamed to have taken part in their creation. He also had horrific taste in music.
    Lisa Bonet’s harem pants were pretty darn scary too.
    But, Dr. Huxtable and Bill Cosby are both nice guys with great senses of humour. I remember listening to my parents’ Bill Cosby comedy albums when I was a kid. They are hilarious!!

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