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12 things you’d only know if you grew up with your Jamaican granny


Growing up with Jamaican grandparents – especially one’s grandmother – is a very unique experience.

Strict by nature, excellent in the kitchen with a kind, sassy mouth, Jamaican grannies are generally a force to be reckoned with. They are adored and respected by everyone.

Here are 12 things you would only know if you grew up with a Jamaican granny at home:

  1. “Wen mi sen yuh guh a skool, a learn mi sen yuh fi learn, nuh fi ketch man (or fi guh look ooman)”. This was her way of letting you know that education is VERY important. Most grannies encourage their children to excel academically and athletically – sometimes urging teachers to “just spare the eyes.”

  2. Cleanliness is next to godliness: a household run by grandma should not be unkempt or untidy. Dishes must always be put away; floors, rooms and furniture must be spotless, because you never know when she’ll have company over or she’d use this classic line: “Yuh can always drop dung an dem bring yuh come back a yuh yaad.”

  3. Stubbornness was always met with the same question, “Stick mussi bruk inna yuh ears” or “Ah walk yuh ah walk pan yuh ears?”

  4. Discipline is high on the list of attributes a good grandchild must have, or else the belt, stick or switch would meet with you for a few minutes. That means no backchat, no hiss teeth, no grumbling, and answer “When mi call yuh!” (respectfully of course).

  5. By age 10, you would have to learn to iron your own clothes, wash, cook and clean. Granny neva raise nuh wutliss pickney!

  6. Going to church is NON-NEGOTIABLE. You are expected to “give God thanks” and you have to stay all day until it’s time for rice and peas dinner at home.

  7. There is nothing bizzy, cerassee, and fever grass tea; cod liver oil; rubbing alcohol; Vick’s vaporub; extra virgin olive oil; bay rum and rose water can’t cure or fix. NOTHING. There was also no sickness that wasn’t “gas” trapped somewhere (lol).

  8. Tie-heads are an ever-present accessory during the daytime; granny goes nowhere without her ‘slip’; and nighties are the traditional mode of dress for bed.

  9. The reliable Dutch pot (dutchie) is used for almost any dish and has been in the family for years. Most times, it’s older than you are, but the food always tastes great.

  10. A can of Danish butter cookies are standard at home: only opened for special occasions.

  11. Jamaican grannies are dramatic. There would be a time when you were met with this line, “Yuh tink yuh ah guh kill me off?” or “Unno nah raise mi blood preshah!”If she didn’t like your boy/girlfriend, she usually never hesitates to let you know. Granny always cautions you about the company you keep because “yuh cyah trus people.”

But at the end of the day, despite all the discipline (and the licks), nothing compares to granny’s cooking, her love and the time spent becoming an adult around her.