Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Becoming a mom of few words

I used to try to explain in great detail the reason(s) why I was hyperventilating over any given scenario. For example, "James! You absolutely should not burn up ants with that magnifying glass and a flashlight. First, it's mean. Second, it's fire season. Third, wait, did I already mention that it's mean?"

I'm pretty confident that after the word "James!" said child had completely tuned me out and was on to his next adventure, at least mentally. That, too, was the beauty of the "time out." It gave said punished child up to five minutes not to rethink what he/she had done wrong, but to give greater thought to what he/she could do next.

So as my kids transition into teenagers, I find explaining my philosophies, thoughts, or random observations rendered useless. They use fewer words, and, so, too, must I. 

This shorthand communication is quite effective, I must say. Now, "James. Laundry." at least inspires a grunt of acknowledgement and sometimes, on a banner day, a response like "Yeah, in a minute, as soon as my (interchange electronic devices) iPod, DS, Xbox game/movie/video/whatever) is over." Wow. A complete sentence. From just two words. Amazing.

Additionally, I've found that I often speak in my own language, sort of the mom version of Urban Dictionary. recently posted an article about "momfinitions" (check it out here: which made me think about the words that I often use. I'm sure you've got your own, but here are a few of mine:

Iposuction (eye-poh-suhkshun): What happens when your tweenager wears her Ipod headphones to bed. Example: Katie, perform some Iposuction stat, it's time for bed!!

Carpoolepsy (carpoolehpsie): The result of sitting in the school's carpool line for more than 45 minutes without a good book and/or a restless pet. Example: "Hey mom, maybe we should swing through the drive thru for a Diet Coke, 'cause you look like you've got a wicked case of carpoolepsy."

Damper (damper): My hamper in the summer, filled with a random array of wet towels, bathing suits, and, occasionally, a cat. Example: "Mom, why did you put my JEANS in the bottom of the DAMPER???? Now they're all wet!!!"

Housepeeking (howspeeking): The act of checking out your friend's, neighbor's, play date's house to compare cleaning skills. (Oh, and don't say that you don't do this!!) Example: "I was at Jane's doing a little housepeeking, and it was so depressing. How can a woman with five kids have more than one room that was absolutely spotless? It's not fair."

Shug (shug): A tweenager hug. This involves the very slightest of motions—as quickly as possible. Example: "James, you're going to be at camp for a whole week, do I at least get a shug??"

Becoming a mom of few words has it's benefits. It's given me time to perfect my "you are so not going to do that again!" stare. My head tilt/hand on hip "cut it out pose" could earn me Olympic gold. And, most of all, it's given me the opportunity to tune in to what my kids say, when they do talk. And that is scary. I mean, enlightening.

And, while you're perfecting your own parenting shorthand, check out some other fun momfinitions at 


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