Adam Cherepski charts the many subtle and not-so-subtle ways that our language regresses once we become parents
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
To be a dad…
…means to never speak like an intelligent human being again. I know that this sounds harsh, but often times, reality is just that harsh. There are times when we would rather not know the truth, but I am sorry—this has to be said. Dads can sound like complete morons from time to time. Before all the moms that are reading this start in with your enthusiastic agreement and proclaim yourselves omniscient, please let me explain what I mean.
The speech patterns and language structure of the creature known as the grown man evolve over time. It is this evolution that the dad must accept and embrace as he realizes it is transpiring. There is no reason to fight it as resistance is futile. And, to be perfectly honest, the process is a little fun if you are cognizant of it. Be aware, because if you are not, you will not realize when adjustments need to be made. This scenario can become socially awkward—to say the least.
For instance, my friends (all of whom are dads) and I found ourselves at a college football game this past fall. I refuse to disclose the team due to their performance during the season. It was a cold game, much colder than I had anticipated, and my dumb ass was wearing a light jacket while my friends were in parkas, hats, and gloves. It was a cloudy day, but there were brief times of warmth when the clouds would part just a little to make way for the sun… very brief. I looked at my friend and said these words:
“I wish the clouds would go away and let more sunshine in.”
What the hell was that? I instantly began talking about poor special teams play or the 4-3 defense or something like that… I can’t remember exactly. My friend was not going to let this plan take shape.
“Did you just say sunshine?”
“Yes, yes I did.”
Being that my friends are dads, there was not much further discussion of this. It was like being verbally pantsed in front of them. It happened. It was embarrassing. But, we just need to move on as if it never occurred.
This is all part of the evolution process. There are words and phrases that will never be the same as they were B.C. (Before Children). This brings me to my first point, acronyms. Why? Why do we insist on using these? We all know that up to a certain point of our children’s lives, we can spell things out, but we really resort to initials of things we are talking about? Here we go…
ME: “So earlier A #2 woke up from his nap and wanted to watch MMC on DJ. A few minutes later A #1 came downstairs, and I had forgotten I told her that she could watch FBB on NJ, so I put them in different rooms.”
WIFE: “Why did you do that? I told both of them earlier that if they were good and took a nap, we would go to CFA and maybe get IC afterward, and now it is lunch time.”
Hell, we are still using this method to hide the fact that we are going to DW this summer. The kids will be so excited to see MM, WTP, STF, MM #2, DD, and J & TNLP. CW! (Can’t Wait)
Other instances of this phenomenon include the toddlerizing of everyday words and phrases. How often have you been in a public place and realized that in front of a very general audience of strangers, you have just made it known that you were going to “go potty”? I realize that this is something one should never announce regardless of terminology, but when you are asked 19 times where you are going, your response volume tends to increase.
While we are on the subject of restroom adventures, I cannot remember the moment when it became necessary to add the second “pee” when speaking of urination. It is an unnecessary addendum. Is the word “pee” so socially unacceptable that making it “pee-pee” removes all inappropriateness? I also used to have very poetic phrases for what is now simply deemed “poop”—all lost and no longer used. What a waste… no pun intended. This word also works when you inadvertently hit your finger with a hammer while your small daughter stands nearby. However, one does sound a little silly screaming POOP! in anguish in the garage.
A beneficial by-product of this filtering is the increase in prayer. I know it has worked for me. Instead of the usual stand-by “Holy Shit!”, I find myself using the new and improved, “Holy Mary, Mother of God!” And now my kids are impressed with my devotion rather than offended by my peculiar exaltation of feces.
Let’s look at some other examples:
Injury = boo-boo
Cat = kitty
Shit = poop
Urine = pee-pee
Train = choo-choo
Adult = grown-up
Toes = piggies
Ass = tushie, bottom, etc.
Shut-up = shush
Stomach = tummy
Hell yeah = Yippee
Give me a damn minute = Go play
Give me a damn evening = Date night
Yes = Yes, unless you do something to irritate me (implied)
No = No, unless I can get good behavior out of you (told verbatim to the child or children)
Our language advances as we get older, and then regresses once again as we become dads. A further illustration of what we do for our children. Carry on a conversation with another adult using only words that you are comfortable using with your children and see how you feel at the end of the exchange. Most likely, you will feel a little ridiculous. In all actuality, you should feel proud. You are a dad, and dads talk funny.