The frequent response to almost any undone task, “I was gonna do that” is a teen’s go-to phrase. It tends to be floated as an attempt to get credit for doing what someone else has just done. For example, when seeing someone putting away her shoes that have been sitting on the stairs all day, daughter sweetly says, “Oh, thanks. I was gonna do that.”
“I did that yesterday” is the handy go-to phrase used to avoid doing whatever was done “yesterday,” as in the dishes, making a bed: really any household chore, brushing teeth, showering (at least for a boy), and so much more. It is almost always floated in a whiny tone and with well-placed eye-rolls and indignant sighs as kids get older.
“I forgot” covers a lot of ground. It’s floated as a response to the pile of dirty clothes in our guest bathroom downstairs – not even close to the owner’s or the laundry room. It can also be used in conjunction with big puppy dog eyes when getting out of the car at school when a kid realizes he “forgot” to bring his lunch or P.E. clothes, or homework, or fill in the blank. “I forgot” is often lobbed with sincere hope that someone will take pity, retrieve and bring it for them. “I forgot” is also frequently said in response to the open back door, to being reprimanded for hitting a brother, to passing gas in public, basically to pretty much anything.
A kid’s age-old response to almost every form of consequence, discipline, bad grade, or a sibling getting to do something that she or he doesn’t.
Parent’s response to kid’s “not fair”.
Husband’s learned response to his wife’s question, “Do I look fat?” in any outfit, especially when she’s pregnant or any time within a five year span around having a baby. Best when used often and without being prompted by a question.
The response to any and all home-made dinner fare–especially after a long day of shuttling kids, scrambling, refereeing, bandaging scrapes, grocery shopping and sweating over a hot stove. Circling back to the chef with a little extra honesty is fine–later. Timing is key. Especially if the chef happens to be of the child variety.
“Why me” is widely used to proclaim disdain for whatever task might be at hand that is #notfair. Whether playing goalie, taking out the garbage, being chosen to play Humpty-Dumpty in the school play, or having a mother who was caught once again pumping gas in her pajamas, “Why me?!” finds usage in a variety of arenas.
As in, how could I ever be so blessed? Who would have imagined that life could be so good. Because, how else can you describe little hands reaching up to grab hold and squeal with delight their excitement to see you. Or when the same hands morph into ones gripping a steering wheel, pitching in to drive carpool duty. Hands that in the blink of an eye grab yours and take you around the dance floor as everyone gathers to celebrate his marriage to a new love of his life reminding you that no one can take your place.
“What about this?” suggests mom to daughter as they struggle through wardrobe disagreement on the perfect dress for Homecoming or Prom. With dress options falling on the entirely too short, too tight and too low spectrum, “No one wears that” can be heard in dressing rooms around the world as mothers desperately try to offer options so their daughters can understand that they have so much more worth than a skimpy dress. Just sayin’.
#whatabouther and #whatabouthim
“What about her” acts like a reflex almost every time one kid is asked to do something with another able body standing nearby. It’s usually followed by the parental response: “I’m not talking to her. I’m talking to you.” … or the classic, “what she’s doing is #noneofyourbusiness.”
“Yes you can” fills the self-doubt gaps that lurk in the shadows and hide in plain view. It fills sails that need an extra puff of wind to sail into the unknown toward the land of confidence and independence. It should be used often, following the countless cries of “but, I can’t”. Cries that beg to be countered rather than confirmed by a well-intentioned adult racing in to save.
Whispered over sleeping children, written on napkins that hide in lunch sacks, sewn into the seams of #notfair curfews and boundaries, shouted across college campuses, cried at weddings … “I love you” paves every path of parenthood.
#sapalert, #timegoestoofast, #oldladytryingtobecool
Kay Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone.