Monday, January 25, 2010

Mama Dictionary

When I took my first linguistics class, I was intrigued at the discovery that there are actual grammar mavens. They sit on some high throne in some mystical place (probably England) and make decisions that become the law of the language land. That particular semester, the grammar mavens determined that it was no longer necessary to use "whom." It wouldn't be considered wrong to whom someone, but the cocktail party know-it-alls had definitely lost some footing.

As had I.

The idea that grammar rules were fluid shook me to the core. I'm not saying I have perfect grammar. I do not. On the contrary, I believe in using grammatical duck tape and creative punctuation when effective. However, I had assumed that there were all-knowing people out there who could chuckle at my mistakes and marvel at how smart they are when they read other people's writing. This meant that there could be people chuckling at the chucklers.

The journey continued...

Later in college, I had a teacher who had previously worked for Webster Dictionary. He had written the definition of words for a living. I couldn't imagine how there was enough for him to do all day. I had figured that someone had written them a long time ago, so the only job left was for the rest of us to memorize them in hopes of winning Scrabble.

And now, my journey has reached a new place. As a mom, the meaning of some words and phrases has completely changed.

So - you up-tight rule followers, it's time to jump in my boat and paddle through the waters - the muddy, muddy waters that I like to call "definitions-and-rules-were-just-made-up-by- someone-so-you-can-change-them." Not a very creative name, but I think it really says it.

Here's a few examples:

1. A Good Nap:
Before Maddie: Planning to sleep for 30 minutes and waking up 3 hours later

After Maddie: Cleaning all the bathrooms, all hard surface floors, prepping dinner, and folding laundry - while Madison sleeps

2. A Good Dinner:
Before Maddie: Putting on my fancy jeans and tennis shoes (that's just me...) and going out for dinner

After Maddie: When my daughter eats from all four food groups in one sitting. Wait, did I forget to eat again?

3. Tired:
Before Maddie: Hey, I could use a nap, 7 hours just didn't quite cut it last night

After Maddie: I haven't slept through the night in 359 days

4. Multi Tasking:
Before Maddie: Grading papers while watching Law and Order

After Maddie: Grocery shopping while holding my Little One in my arms, letting her push the cart, dangling a gold beaded Mardi Gras necklace for her to hold, and finding the perfect cantaloupe.

5. Planning:
Before Maddie: I think I'll go for a run during lunch today, so I should pack my sports bra

After Maddie: Plans? I don't make those. Life is the moment we're having. (by the way - one of the coolest parts of having a baby)

6. Cool:
Before Maddie: A pair of smokin' hot gold strappy sandals

After Maddie: My little sweetheart rocking out to Up All Night, grinning in my arms, dancing around the kitchen. (by the way - another one of the coolest parts of having a daughter)

7. Mom:
Before Maddie: Someone who knows me better than anyone, takes care of me, knows how to make me angrier than Gargumel when a Smurf gets away, and who I am eternally grateful for

After Maddie: Me! I'm Mom. I'll have to work on the Gargumel thing...

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