Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Evolution Of Language

Woo-hoo! I slept in today! All the way until...are you ready?...

8 AM

Yup - not until 8:00 was I roused from my beauty sleep...unless, of course, you count 6 AM, when my husband's alarm sounded. I had to get up and turn it off, as he was already in the shower. Oh, and then there was half-past midnight, when Susie couldn't find her nighttime water bottle....

All of which leads me to conclude that, after almost 2 decades of being a mother, certain terms in the English language are what I would call "defined down." Whereas sleeping in used to denote a solid 9 or 10 hours of deep sleep, it now specifies a situation where, by the grace of God, none of the kids managed to set the house on fire while their sluggard of a parent attempted to rack up 8 broken hours of snooze.

Let's see, what are some other examples?

  1. Mother's Night Out - What used to mean an evening out carousing and gossiping with friends now refers to the night that it is my turn to drive the orchestra carpool. I knit while I wait for rehearsal to be over, so that is obviously "me-time." Sometimes I even spring for a pack of M&M's from the school vending machine. Let the good times roll!
  2. Interval Training - commonly used to refer to an exercise session varying some easy periods with more demanding "hills," it now means running down 2 flights of townhouse stairs with a full laundry basket, pausing to reload washer and dryer, and then running back up. Repeat 3 times a day for optimal cardiovascular benefit.
  3. Lather, Rinse, Repeat - common directions on the back of any shampoo bottle to ensure extra clean hair and maximum usage of product. But with the early-onset senility often experienced by middle-aged moms, it's simply a method to make sure that one actually uses the shampoo.
  4. Date Night - This event is no longer preceded by an hour of preparation involving clothes and make-up; instead any experienced parent spends this hour threatening her teens with dire consequences if they are not "nice" to their younger siblings while the parents are out. Oh, and make sure to bring some extra cash for when your husband asks to borrow some money. Yeah, the romance is overwhelming, isn't it?
  5. Beach Vacation - Ah, this phrase brings to mind a week given over to the animal enjoyment of sea, sand, and sun, doesn't it? Not so fast, my dear fellow mothers - for us it means doing the same old thing we do at home: feeding, clothing, and bathing our little charges, only with less efficient equipment. Nothing says relaxation like trudging to a laundromat with 2 Hefty bags full of sandy clothes after cooking dinner in an under-equipped kitchen.
  6. Holidays - Not.

Anyone else care to play?


  1. Happy Hour: Obviously, this now refers to the children's bedtime.

  2. Childless: formerly unfortunate state of not having I can only assume means wealthy and well rested.

    I don't have kids, so I suck at this game! no fair!

  3. These are hilarious.

    My mom used to say carpool used to mean her night to be the designated driver with her girlfriends. Then it meant who was driving to dance class, soccer practice, piano lessons, dances...

  4. Expectation of Privacy - once you have kids, there is none.

  5. Bath time- Once upon a time it was ME, in a deep, hot, bubbly tub with candles lit, a good book to read, and maybe even some soothing music playing softly in the background.
    Now it involves 5 screaming, splashing kids, buckets of spilled shampoo, soapy eyes, flooded bathroom, naked dripping kids running through the living room in search of a specific bath toy, an aching back as I bend and stoop-repeatedly-over the bathtub holding little heads down in the water as the children thrash and scream about doing it themselves depite the fact that they can only manage to get about 2 square inches of their head wet on their own. And then after all the fighting to get them in and washed we get to fight about getting them out and wrestled into pajamas.

  6. Down time: time you get to actually sit down and do a chore, such as cleaning the mess off the carpet, etc.

  7. I don't have anything to contribute, except to say that I'm glad I'm not the only one who has rinsed and repeated simply because I couldn't remember whether I had shampooed or not.

  8. I am so glad someone else can understand these things! Because my husband can't. I can relate to them all but especially the Date Night. Last night we went out to celebrate our anniversary (my HB actually remembered so that was a plus!) and as we were waiting to buy movie tickets he asked if I had any money on me. I ended up buying the tickets, the petrol to get home, and paying the babysitter.

    And the Beach Vacation - I always tell HB I need a holiday to recover from our holiday!

  9. I love going to the beach, but it just means I have to take care of someone else's house, only with sand.

    I can't add to those except to define The Arsenic Hour: those hours leading up to dinner and beyond, when you either want to take it or give it (arsenic, that is)

    Off to "vacation" in NYC...
    I've done all the planning, but I still don't know anything about the train or the subway or the bus...

  10. Too great. My fave has to be Mother's Night Out!

  11. Oh I can play this game!

    Laundry Day - I vaguely remember hauling home 2 baskets of laundry on the weekends and spending an hour or two doing it (unless my mil did it first LOL) rather than using the coin operated machines in our appartment building. Now.... all day every day is laundry day around here.....and I love it so much I even wash the clean clothes the kids are too lazy to put away and just toss back in the hamper. Ugh!

  12. Date night?! What's that? ;)

    How about "walk along the beach"?

    Used to mean strolling serenely along the water line, gazing at the waves and letting the breeze fan back your hair. Now it means jumping after kids, hurrying kids up, dragging kids out of the water, and generally going crazy. You're guaranteed to get either cranky or wet -- you choose. Oh, and it's not much easier just taking them on the beach to paddle in the waves. I have one that still tries to walk to Africa.

    Hmm. Next date night, I think I'll take a walk along the beach.

  13. Oh bath time- is no longer a luxury- instead you need to see if you can shower under 4 minutes before the kid comes in asking if you can do this or that....found you through Michel...great read :)

  14. I always thought that Family Vacation was an oxymoron.

    Mom's just DON'T get vacations---face it!!

  15. The weekend used to be a time for relaxation and getting together with friends--now it's just a time to make sure your kids get together with their friends.

  16. Spare time: Those hours between 2:00a.m. and 5:00 a.m. when I'm not really doing anything.

  17. Oh, and don't forget "afternoon off", which used to mean a little shopping, a little Starbucks. It now means one of three things: having eyebrow hair ripped out by its roots, going for a pelvic exam, or going for a dental cleaning. Yayyyy...

  18. Vacation: a weekend away without kids

    Trip: a weekend away with kids

    What a long, strange trip it's been...

  19. To lower the tone, how about "Relaxation."

    Relaxation: The state one of my children's sphincters will achieve as soon as I sit down with a cup of coffee.

    Or "Quiet Time."

    Quiet Time: The two minutes of peace before you realize that the house is quiet and somewhere, someone is doing something really, really naughty.

  20. I'm with Jenn - weekend time is when the kids go out with friends. This is also called "date night".

    I don't know what you call it, but there used to be a time when there was some intimacy on the couch while praying that Mom and Dad didn't come in and bust me. Now it's praying that my teens won't come in and bust me. Anyone have a name for this?

  21. ok, that's not a post that makes motherhood all that appealing...


  22. lifestartsnow - I'm wondering, are there any posts of mine that do paint an appealing picture of motherhood?

  23. I would but considering the spring break we're having here, it might spur me to open my veins. Just so I can go stay in a nice quiet hospital for a few days, eating food I don't have to cook, and ignoring screaming children.

  24. Wait, I have one.

    Fantasy Life: Used to be me and Richard Gere on the beach at sunset; now: me breaking some non-essential bone so I can lie in a hospital bed for a few days....see above comment
    : )