Parenting

Keeping Up With The Kid Lingo

While having a large family is fun in many ways, it can also be a bit challenging with all the different ages and stages living in the house. One of the things I have a hard time keeping up with is the different wording they use that mean the exact same thing.

For example, when my elementary-aged children want to make a plan to be with a friend, they call it a playdate -- Mommy, can I have a playdate with Abby tomorrow? asks my eight-year-old.

Then I have my 'tweens who are too cool for playdates -- Mom, can I hang out with Brett today after school? When my 'tweens make arrangements to be with their friends, it's called hanging out and never a playdate.

Then there are the teenagers who don't call it a playdate or hanging out -- in fact, they don't call it anything at all anymore. Mom, I'm going over to Emily's. I'll text you. says my sixteen-year-old.

And then there’s the twenty-year-old. See ya. she says, as she grabs her car keys and heads for the door.

Where are you off to? I ask, just because I still can.

Don't know. Just out. Might meet up with a few friends.

So just out she goes to meet up with friends. Sometimes I know where she's going. Most of the time I do not. It took me a while to be okay with that. She is almost always home before eleven and if she's going to be later than that, she texts me and lets me know. When dealing with an adult-child still living at home, that's about as good as it gets, so I'm not complaining.

For the most part I get these terms right, but a tired mama can get things mixed up every once in a while.

Mom, I'm bored, complains the twelve-year-old.

Why don't you invite a friend over for a playdate?  I suggest, just trying to be helpful.

Her eyes get big and she gasps, Mom! I'm so sure! I'm too old for playdates! 

She stomps off down the hall and I then I hear the slam! of her bedroom door. Oops. It seems I have offended her. I want to run after her and argue the matter. I want to say, Yes, you DO have playdates! You make a plan to be with a friend, and newsflash: THAT'S a playdate! It's the same thing as hanging out, it's just different words! But kids get all caught up with these terms and it's useless to try to point out this logic, so I just leave her in her bedroom and go on with my day.

Later when my husband comes home from work, he hugs me and I say, So, do you want to hang out later tonight? and he says, You mean a playdate?  He's being funny, and I smile. My younger ones laugh and the older ones roll their eyes at us.

What? I ask. Did we say it wrong?

I am then told that when you are a parent the correct term is spending time together  -- The heck? That sounds kind of boring, if you ask me. I'd much rather hang out with my husband, and hey, a playdate with him sounds kind of fun, too!

Who makes kids in charge of this social verbiage, anyway?


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