Ears on pitchers?


The adults were talking and the grandkids were playing.  I wasn’t really paying attention until someone pipped up, “little pitcher’s have big ears,” which immediately sent me into a tailspin. What exactly does that mean?

My husband used that phrase a couple of times when our kids were younger.  I had never heard that odd saying before and was not sure if he was talking about the guy that throws baseballs, the thing  you pour milk from or, for that matter, the framed landscape that hangs on the wall.  I asked him once what the heck it meant and he said that his stepmother used to say it all the time and point to him behind her raised, flattened hand.  It always made him mad.  He quit using that saying around our house.

I forgot all about that annoying idiom and filed it away somewhere in my mind’s folder with other things of nonsense like, “why is a raven like a writing desk?”  But, the other night when almost in that zoned out, turn off the light place, in bed, reading Flannery O’ Connor, I bolted straight up when her character said, “little pitchers have big ears.”

Twice in one week, forced me out of bed, to the computer and to google. There it was, the phrase, and it’s meaning.  Seems like someone, somewhere thought that children are like milk pitchers and their ears are like the handle – hence, even though they are little, they can hear what the adults around them are saying.  Really?

Still annoyed and confused, I ask you, why not,  “Little sugar bowls have big ears?”.