superfluous verbiage

i have a friend who didn’t know what the word swoon means.  i didn’t think it was such a big word.

apparently it is.

i guess i’ve always used different words, b/c i’ve had to explain what i mean more than a few times to different people. granted, those were words like fortuitous or diminutive. but i really didn’t think swoon was that big of a word.  

it’s my mom’s fault, really. when my sis and i were little and would get in trouble, my mom would always sit us down and give us these long talks about why whatever we’d done was wrong and why we would NOT do it again. during the whole talk, we’d be fraught with worry b/c my mom would use these words that we’d never heard before in our short lives. 

we’d just sort of sit there and nod or shake our heads, trying to look repentant. the only time we opened our mouths was to answer the dreaded question:

“do you understand me?!”

“yes, ma’am” we chorused. 

but i have a secret.

we didn’t really understand.

it made us really worried. we had no clue what we had agreed to. we usually walked on eggshells for the next few days or so just to make sure we were in the clear.

because we were never really spoken to in “baby talk” or had things dumbed down for us, we never really knew how to discipline other little kids when we got older and started babysitting and stuff. especially my sister.  

we used to babysit for one of my dad’s friends who had two kids–a little girl who was about six and her little brother, who was about two. when i was in high school, i’d watch the kids on friday or saturday nights so my dad’s friend and his wife could go out and do fun things. those kids really liked me. 🙂  they used to ask if i could come over all the time, which i’m sure made their parents ecstatic, b/c it meant that they could go have fun. anyway, once i went away to college, my sis started babysitting them instead. after the first couple of times, my sis called me to update me on her fun times with the kids. 

“they hate me,” she told me.

being the older and therefore wiser older sister, i told her “they don’t hate you. what on earth would make you think that they hate you?”

“the fact that they were marching around the living room, chanting ‘we hate ashley! we hate ashley!'”

oh.  

on another occasion, we were staying with my aunt in florida, and our little cousin came over. she was about three or four at the time, i think. anyway, the garage door was cracked open about a foot for the dog to get in and out. my sis & clancey had gone into the garage for some reason, and she shimmied underneath the barely-open garage door. my sis darted to the door and tried to wiggle underneath, but b/c she wasn’t a four-year-old, she couldn’t get underneath the door.  so she laid on the ground, reaching her arms out through the hole and shouting, 

“um, (little cuz)?! i don’t think that’s a very good idea!”

after which i pressed the garage door opener so we could grab (little cuz) and bring her back inside. 

she also said those exact same words to an actual baby once. heehee. 

i don’t have any kids of my own, but i find myself doing the same thing to my hubster that my mom did to my sis and me when we were little. 

i’ll go off on rants, using those same big words my mom used (none of which i can think of, by the way), and hubby just looks at me (or the floor, or the dogs, or the road if he’s driving) resignedly. i’ve even caught myself saying, “do you understand what i mean? like do you know what i’m saying?”

i sort of halfway expect him to look up at me and say, “yes ma’am”.

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4 comments

  1. OH MY GOSH!!! it’s the same for us!! When mom used to yell at us, we’d gauge how mad she was by how “big” the words got!!!!!!

  2. yeah…i still do that with my students. they constantly have to ask me what i’m talking about, but it’s cool because sometimes they pick up the words…not too often.

    1. isn’t that sad? i think the word “swoon” has been in my daily vocabulary since i was about eight months old. LOL.

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