Mette Jolly: Things Adults Should Not Do

When I was a child I kept a diary. In volume upon volume, I wrote about my days and my worries. But I also wrote instructions to my adult self, telling this familiar stranger how to act around children.

Here’s a list I wrote on the day before my ninth birthday:



  1. Speak to friends on the phone and say it has been too long and we must see each other soon.  If I would like to see them, I should just see them.
  2. Argue with my husband.
  3. Visit people and look surprised when you tell their children they have grown. This is stupid. Children are supposed to grow.
  4. Clean the house for two days before visitors are allowed in.
  5. Tell children when to go to bed. We go to bed when we are tired.
  6. Smoke.
  7. Be sad if you divorce your husband. If it makes you sad then just don’t divorce him.
  8. Believe it when the child’s dentist says a tooth needs drilling. Dentists like to drill and sometimes lie about it. Especially the new one in our school. I think she is very, very old.
  9. Make a promise to a child and not keep it. Children remember.
  10. Speak in code language in front of children. I know that aunt A doesn’t take the bus. When they say that, it means something else. I’m not sure what, but it’s something bad.

    Posted 14th June 2018