Archive for the category “lingo”

‘Stuff’ and, like, nonsense

There are moments as I mum when I realise that I am doing it all wrong. This is one of those moments.

I am in the car, driving my son and two female friends to after-school swimming. The ‘MOB mobile’, as we affectionately call the 7 seater ‘bus’ I use mainly to ferry small children around town, is full of bodies, bags and … silence.

“So,” I say cheerfully, glancing at my boy in the rear-view mirror, “what did you get up to at school today?”
His face doesn’t register, not even flicker.
“Hello there!” I sing. I have his attention. “What did you get up to at school?”
He gazes into the middle distance, studiously ignoring his inquisitive mother’s stare. “Stuff,” he grunts.
“‘Stuff?’” I repeat. “What kind of ‘stuff’?”
He yawns. “Just, like you know… ‘stuff’.”
“Hmmm,” I acknowledge reluctantly. “And you girls… what did you get up to?”

Half an hour later they both draw breath. I now know every single detail of every single hour, including who did what to whom, where and why. Blimey, I think, rubbing my throbbing temples, maybe having a slightly less forthcoming boy isn’t so bad after all. We arrive at the pool and tumble out.

***

Later that evening we are back from swimming. I am sitting at the supper table with all three boys.

“So,” I say to the swimmer’s brother, “what did you get up to at school today?”
He opens his mouth, realises it’s full of pasta, and rapidly closes it before I can say a word. Gesturing he’ll respond in a minute, he chews vigorously. Swimming son, however, sensing an opportunity to put in his two’pennyworth, fills the temporary void.
“We did maths today… it was really cool. And then we did PE and then ICT… ” The monologue continues for some minutes whilst his brother tries frantically to get a word in edgeways. ‘Swimmer’ however, is on a roll – he’s centre stage and he’s not getting off. His brother, disgruntled, eventually gives up and angrily stabs pieces of penne with his fork.

***

Still later that evening, the boys have had a book and are ready for bed. I kiss them goodnight, turn out the light. “Goodnight boys,” I say, “sleep well.” My foot is on the top step, poised to go downstairs.
“Muuumm,” says swimmer son.
“Hmmm?”
“Muuumm, I need to talk to you about something.”
“Now?!” I retort. It’s been a long day and my evening cup of tea is calling.
“About something that happened at school today.”
He sounds so serious, so sensible. I sigh and go back and perch on his bed.
“Right,” I say, settling in, “what is it that you need to talk to me about now?”
We sit in the darkness and I listen as he speaks.

***

So, I realise now what I’ve been doing wrong. I have been picking far too obvious and easy moments to try to communicate with my sons. What I need to do if I want more than just ‘stuff’, is to either ensure there’s plenty of fraternal competition for airspace when I ask my openers, or embark on a conversation when it’s actually high time for bed.

Then I bet you my MOB mobile they’ll be more than happy to chat.

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A Right Fug Up

So my youngest son, my ‘Feisty Fellow’ is 7. He is, he announces at the breakfast table as he waits for his porridge, a ‘donut.’ His brothers and I nod, knowledgeably. A donut. Course he is.

You see the problem is that there are some words, some turns of phrase, which my boys use and which I can’t quite bring myself to correct. Words which will forever evoke certain memories of their very young lives.

Take ‘vee-ve veel’ for instance. Any guesses? Let me give you a clue. We are in a cafe en route to stay with friends who live a hideously long way away. It is late, we are hungry and the menu is limited. We have chips. The waiter delivers bowls of crispy French Fries. ‘Any sauces?’ he asks. ‘Ketchup please,’ replies our 3 year old eldest ‘Sensible Son’. His 2 year old brother looks at the red stuff in disgust. ‘Vee-ve veel?’ requests ‘Binary Boy’. The waiter looks confused. ‘He means…er… olive oil,’ I clarify, a tiny bit embarrassed by his precociously odd tastes. The waiter returns with a bottle of Bertolli’s, Binary Boy drizzles it all over and guzzles his chips.

Did we correct his pronunciation, then or indeed later down the line? No. Why? Because it was cute, sweet, made us all smile. And so ‘vee-ve veel’ lives on to this day in the Evans’ house. As do catameringues, seeeriup (Golden, a special treat topping on the afore-mentioned porridge), ‘thumbs’ (of the numerical kind), ‘wirells’ (red or grey and found up trees) and Savil (that miracle antiseptic cream which cures just about anything). Should we correct our children’s minor verbal misdemeanours? Are we condemning them to a life of ridicule by encouraging, and perpetuating, our own in-house lingo?

The other evening, I was having supper with some ever-so-slightly posh people. We sat at the beautifully laid table, a large log fire crackling in the background.
‘Goodness,’ I exclaimed merrily during a lull in conversation, ‘it’s a right fug up in here!’

Silence. The hostess inhaled through her teeth, an elderly gentleman fiddled with his hearing aid.

I reddened, then burbled… ‘A FUG up… you know? Fug… like it’s really toasty and warm in here.’ They stared at me blankly as I continued to roast. ‘Well,’ I mumbled, sensing I was fighting a losing battle, ‘that’s what we call it in our family… it’s what my mum’s always said.’ Someone passed me the potatoes and I quickly muttered my thanks.

Anyway, back to the donut and Feisty Fellow.
I turn from the stove where I’m stirring porridge oats. ‘It’s a ‘grown up’ you are (nearly!) not a donut, I’m afraid.’
He looks a little disappointed not to be sugary, round and oozing jam, but is swiftly distracted by the appearance of his birthday breakfast.
‘Seeing as I’m a grown up today, can I have some seeeriup on this?’
‘I’ll get some from the cupboard,’ I say. He may not be a donut, but for the time being at least, he can still stay sweet.

***

What in-house lingo do you let go in your house?

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