It’s no secret that kids and parents have trouble communicating. That cell phone commercial where the mom tries to speak “text shorthand” back to her daughter and gets all tongue tied is a perfect example. In an effort to bridge the communication gap, I thought I would share with the young folks a few popular parenting phrases and their translations.
“In a Minute”-From the Latin word “minutia”, meaning unimportant to me right now. This phrase is used by parents as a stalling technique because we have neither the time nor the desire to stop what we’re doing right now to accommodate your wishes. The use of this phrase means you will not likely get what you want in a minute. In fact, there’s a really good change you won’t get it at all…especially if you keep asking.
“I Need a Minute Alone”-Originated thousands of years ago. In fact, Jesus used it on the disciples. It means you are driving me crazy at the moment. I have no more patience, and you will be wearing your butt for a hat if you don’t back away…s-l-o-w-l-y…NOW.
“Didn’t I Just Give You Money for That Last Week?”- Derivation of the slang term “Crap”. This generally means that it’s two days before payday, and I don’t have two nickels to rub together. It’s at this point I usually ask if the school cafeteria takes credit cards. (My daughter once asked me for lunch money on a particularly stressful morning when I didn’t have a dime. Rather huffily, I said the lunch lady would just have to wait ‘til payday. The lunch lady told me later that when my little second grader rolled through the lunch line and was asked if she had brought any money to add to her account, she told them rather righteously, that her momma said they’d just have to wait ‘til payday. I was rolling in humility that day.)
And my all time favorite, “Because I Said So”-Many cultures claim to have originated this phrase. It has been seen on cave walls and documented in ancient Egyptian history. Loosely translated, this phrase means “no”. I don’t have or need a good reason to turn you down, I’m just saying no. It trumps all arguments from children. It’s often used in conjunction with “Because I’m the Parent”.
And just to show I’m willing to learn about the language of our youth, I am practicing the use of some of their terms. Just yesterday, my daughter asked me to stop dancing around the house. I responded with a roll of the eyes and a drawn out “whaaaatevvvver”. I think we’re getting somewhere.
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