The Vocabulary of Parenthood

Contest still open folks and the odds are good. Thank you to all of the people who have participated thus far in helping me pick my best of. This was one of my first blog posts and is still, today, one of my favorites. If you read the litany, I think it has a certain beauty in the cadence that bellies the rote of the actual phrases.

Much like you look to Zagat's for dinner ideas or grab a copy of Fodor's for a trip to a new city, I think this list laminated should be handed to would-be parents. Are you willing to say these things no fewer than one-hundred times a day? No? You might want to get a dog instead.


The Vocabulary of Parenthood (reprinted from May 2008)

If you spend much time around our household you would get the impression that my husband and I operate with a pre-programmed, limited vocabulary that recycles itself, like a talking doll, over and over again, at least when it comes to the hours spent with our children.

Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you.
Get that out of your mouth.
Eat over your plate.
Put the cat down.
Pick that up.
Get your finger out of there.
Leave the poop alone(we said that at least five times yesterday at the park, in all fairness to the kids, there was both cat poop in the sand and dog poop on the grass that they were entertained by).
Get your hands off the walls.
Use your napkin not your shirt.
Use a tissue not your sleeve.
What's on your finger?
Use the hand towel not your pants.
Did you wipe?


Knock it off.
Go cry in your room.
Go to bed.
I didn’t make the mess, I’m not cleaning it up.
If you cheat, I'm not going to play anymore.
Is that where that goes?
You’re hungry?
Hi hungry, nice to meet you, I’m Daddy.
Not until you finish your dinner.
Not until your room’s clean.
If I told you that you could have candy for breakfast, I bet you’d be able to remember that.


Be nice to your brother.
Be nice to your sister.
Go apologize to your father.
Go say you’re sorry to your mother.
Don’t even think about it.
If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.
Do you want to rephrase that?
I can’t understand you when you’re whining.
How do you ask for something?
What did I say?
What did you say?
I said no.
How many times do I have to tell you?
I'm only going to tell you once.
I would advise you to remember who you are speaking to.
I will not tolerate lying.
No one likes a tattler.
We don’t talk like that at the dinner table.
Please just stop talking.

Catch us at our respective jobs or after the kids go to bed and really, we can be interesting people who can carry on real conversation and not just grunt commands and recriminations. Just make sure you don’t sniffle or we’ll tell you to go blow your nose first.Of course there is the other phrase, the one that all the others stem from, the one we hope they always know, the one they ultimately remember long after they’ve mastered wiping and don’t cheat at Monopoly anymore, I love you.

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8 comments:

Marit said... January 2, 2009 at 7:54 PM  

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I appreciate your encouragement :-)

formerly fun said... January 3, 2009 at 7:16 PM  

Your welcome Marit, I really meant it.

Practically Joe said... January 3, 2009 at 9:02 PM  

What about these?

Stop blogging and come to bed.
I can't believe you mentioned that.
Do you have to tell them everything?
Don't eat peanutbutter and jelly while you type.
Stop swearing at your modem.

Oh wait ... those are things my wife says to me.

Sandi said... January 4, 2009 at 9:45 AM  

I have said each and every quote at least once to my kids.

Betsey said... January 4, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

I have a hard time explaining to my kids why it's okay if I use my sleeve to wipe their nose but they can't use their own.

A Free Man said... January 4, 2009 at 5:36 PM  

I'm beginning to develop quite a list of my own. Oy. 11 days 24-7 with the boy nearly drove me insane.

Bluestreak said... January 6, 2009 at 8:55 AM  

so funny. this reminds me of a conversation I had with a guy nearing his 50's that said he wanted to replace all sentences in his household with numbers, since he and his wife only had like ten sentences they ever exchanged with each other. He wanted to number them so he only had to say the number and then it wouldn't have to come out as irritated or moody.

"Hi Honey, please refer to sentence number 8".

SSG said... January 7, 2009 at 2:21 AM  

hey, this post made me think how things are different in a one parent and two parent family. No-one tells you to apologise to your parent in a one parent family.

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