Monday, February 13, 2006

Redmum column February 9

Red Mum Feb 9

Help, is there a translator in the house?

It is funny how communication with your child changes completely and utterly a multitude of times over the years.

And nothing can prepare a parent for the whole new level of communication which is inherent for teenagers; things have taken on a whole new slant in our house anyway.

People (ie those who have no children) are under the misconception that newborns cannot communicate; oh they can, even if it is just crying it is still communication. Or toddlers who cannot speak but they can point at a biscuit yelling ‘arrrggggggggg’ and we know exactly what they want.

The point is if people are willing to listen, children can make themselves heard. Well until the young children become teens that is! Then miscommunication seems to become a standard weapon against anyone who isn’t, well isn’t a teenager and is usually used against the horror of all horrors – parents.

Okay that’s a slight exaggeration but over the last year communication for the Young Wan has gone from speaking at the top of her voice, about whatever, wherever. We did have the ‘what are tampons for’ at the top of her voice in Tesco once or twice.

But in the last year or so this has evolved into indecipherable mutterings, grunting and monosyllabic answers.

Of course this is sort of balanced out with the teenage girly long-winded ‘she said, then he said and THEN she said, I mean, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’ conversations of day-to-day teen-dramas. Most times if I knew what she was talking about then I might not believe it too.

Unfortunately I often struggle to keep up with the stories of grudges, bestest mates, romances or boring/smelly teachers because of the excitable disjointed renditions of a young teenage girl.

All this is typical and normal, really it is. As hard as it is to handle particularly when a moody, grungy teenager flounces by you looking less than happy saying ‘nuthin’ when you ask what’s wrong, this is all part of growing up.

But once again communication has taken another turn in our house into mispronunciation where what she says takes on a completely different meaning to what she intends.

Here’s one example:

Young Wan: ‘I left my buck in school.’
Me: ‘Pardon.’
YW: ‘I left my buck in school.’
M: ‘Sorry excuse me’.
YW: ‘My BUCK.’
M: ‘I asked you to repeat yourself because I thought you said ‘I left my buck in school’.’
YW: ‘I did.’
M: ‘You left your adult male of some animals, such as the deer, antelope, or rabbit in school?
YM: *SIGH* ‘My booooooook.’

And here’s another:

Young Wan says pointing: ‘Luck.’
Me: ‘Luck??!!??
YW: ‘Yes luck!
M: ‘Luck as in good luck, luck of the Irish, better luck next time luck?
YW heaves a big sigh: ‘Looook.’

This has extended into her friend’s names too which has caused no amount of confusion.

She recently spoke of Een. ‘Een’ I asked confused. ‘Yeah Een’. It turned out she was actually talking about Ian. Or there was Ilia who was actually Jenna, explain that one, maybe that’s just old age and deafness.

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2 comments:

Emma in Canada said...

My daughter has the habit of telling a story with lots of "umms", "likes" and long pauses. They now end something like this "so Mr. Hecker said 'Nathan sit down!' and ummm...yeah" It drives me mad.

Omaniblog said...

As you say, it's all part of growing. I remember communication coming in waves: sometimes the tide went out. They have their struggles these young ones... Fascinating to watch, infuriating to get in with them.

You are so right about children being able to communicate right from the start. They hook you with their smiles and then they have you.