"You can't go swimming for an hour after eating."
As I was re-reading the "we only use 10% of our brains" myth at Snopes.com, a link reminded me of this little gem.
God, how many miserable, boiling hot, sunscreen-less, fly-stricken hours did we spend as kids sitting waiting for that hour to pass, pestering our mums who possessed a fortitude unknown to mothers today (okay, to me) to be able to resist all whining and pestering until that hour was up?
Lots is how many. In my memory half of my childhood summer was spent in this way.
At some point the waiting period reduced to half an hour.
Either the science progressed, our mums relaxed a little as none of us cramped up in the water over the years, or else maybe they wilted under the pestering after all.
It's easy to laugh.
But here's my take on these so-called "old wives' tales".
They almost all contain a little bit of truth.
You see, those "old wives" of yore were mothers and women and I think too often science sneers a little at the knowlege of women.
Women who had to take care of their kids and who stored up and passed on knowlege that helped - such as that swimming right after a heavy meal could cause cramps that a kid might have trouble with.
I'm sure there are studies proving this a nonsense but I don't find it hard to believe that swimming after a big meal could cause a "stitch".
The article on Snopes discusses some of the arguments for and against and while it concludes there is no basis for fear, it makes the very true point that it is very hard to talk yourself out of a lesson ingrained so deeply during childhood.
My kids don't swim yet. When we were on our last holiday I let them "swim" in the shallow pool and beach right after lunch - but a twinge of doubt ensured I was extra vigilant during those first 30 minutes...