Being a parent means having to develop new skill sets, from learning how to change a diaper in the wee hours of the morning to learning how to change your teen’s passwords so they can’t text in the wee hours of the morning. In order to enjoy every moment of the terrible twos to the terrifying teens, you must constantly update your vocabulary and expand your understanding of words and phrases. Failure to do so could result in bodily harm, missed opportunities for sincere discussion or worse – embarrassing yourself in front of your teen’s friends and becoming the subject of slander in social media venues. Which is fine, really – because you’ll never understand the acronyms or know how to use the social media to begin with so you’ll never know what they’re saying about you. And know by the time you do figure out how to use that form of media, it will already have become as obsolete as Facebands and Silly Book (or is it Silly Bands and Facebook? I can never remember.)
To keep you sane and your child safe, it is first important to realize that many common words and phrases have alterative meanings which you will need to know throughout your parenting years.
Understand the Alternative Meanings of Words The need to flex your Webster and Roget muscles start from the moment of conception when you are forced to learn the alternative meanings of common words, such as Oops (meaning “I forgot to bring my birth control pills on our trip to Hawaii”) and brush up on words not used since fourth grade like Plus Sign (meaning, “Hey honey, guess what?”). In pregnancy, it means learning the importance of certain words such as Thing (“Get the hell away from me with that thing!” and Now (“Get me ice cream, NOW!”). It is particularly crucial for expectant fathers to brush up on these terms, as failure to do so may result in bodily injury.
Childbirth itself brings on a whole new slew of juicy terms. These include Ice Chips (meaning frozen nectar of the gods and the only thing you will be permitted to consume within 12 hours of the actual birth) or Owwww! (meaning“^&#%$!!). Then there’s always Sitz Bath, but don’t worry about memorizing this one unless you plan or getting knocked up, hemorrhoids or need a reason to hide out in the bathroom in the immediate future. Otherwise, you won’t have to relearn this term until you’re well into your 90’s, in which case you wouldn’t remember the term anyway, much less your own name.
And then, sometime after year one, that beautiful infant you gave birth to begins taking baby steps towards becoming a fully communicating human being. In the toddler years, you will enjoy teaching your child new words and practicing those words in lyrical melody using songs that will be indelibly imprinted in your brain as permanently as the Ice Cream Man jingle. In elementary school years, you will enjoy helping your child expand their vocabulary and use increasingly complex sentence structures, such as the following: “Aw, honey, the tooth fairy didn’t forget to leave you money, she just has a major brief due on an appellate case tomorrow and if the plaintiff is not successful in this medical malpractice suit, Mo- I mean the tooth fairy – will lose her job and relinquish all abilities to cash or even earn a paycheck in order to heretofore leave said dollar bill under your pillow.”
Understand the meaning of their words As your child begins to master his or her words, parents will want to understand the meaning behind the words their children will be using. These will include Barney (meaning if you wish to avoid an epic meltdown, you should put in the video now even if you’ve already seen it 50 times today); Rainbow Loom Bracelets (meaning your child is now a tween but don’t bother buying a kit because the fad will be totally over by the time you sign the receipt) and I know your email password (meaning two things: 1). your child has excellent vision so you may want to cover your keyboard with something impenetrable like the national debt; and 2). it’s probably time to clean up your potty mouth in those bitch sessions with your BFFs). Children will likewise benefit from understanding mom’s words, such as Magic Eraser, Bedtime and Mommy’s Grape Juice.
Proper Usage of Words and Terms Once your infant turns 13, you will be well advised to stay ahead of the curve and learn not only the words your teen will be using, but whether you too are allowed to use those terms as well. Failure to use these terms in the proper manner could result in disaster, unwanted tattoos or a You Tube video of you in your shining moment doing butt thrusts for the amusement/horror of your teen. (By the way, You Tube is NOT an online educational tool approved by your school district even though she will tell you it is.)
According to my teen, the words that parents are allowed to use are: Driver’s License (“Sure, I’d love to take you to get your driver’s license!”), Mall (“Sure, I’d love to take you to the mall!”) and Tattoo (“Sure, I’d love to take you to get a …WAIT, WHAT? There is NO WAY you are getting a tattoo!”).
Words that are forbidden to parents include: Twerk (“Hey, can you teach me how to twerk ,too?”), POS (“Hey, why did you just type POS and close your laptop?”) and Swag(“Hey, do you think I look swag in this outfit?”). But it’s because I’ve mastered the science of being a POS that I even know the words “twerk” and “swag”, LOL! If you don’t know what these mean, just wait – one day your child will be a teen and they will only talk in terms of made-up words and acronyms and you, too, will have no idea what’s going on.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
Since communication is vital to both parents and teens, tools are becoming available to assist in this inter-generational dialogue. Parents want to have a copy of the “Teen to Parent Translator” on hand to fully understand what your teen is talking about. (Coming soon to a blog near you). Teens, you will want to check out the “Parent to Teen Translator” in case you wish to know the real meaning behind your parents’ words (Sorry, I mean “ BRB, TTYL!”)
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