Vocabulary Matters

Conversation between my teenager, my husband and me:

Abby: You didn’t save me any chicken last night.

Me: What? What was last night?

Abby: I had dance ’til really late. I came home and the chicken was gone. You didn’t save me any.

Me: Huh. That’s weird.

Abby: It’s not weird, Mom. It’s mean.

Me: Well, I’m not sure I’d say it’s mean. That might be a tiny exaggeration, right? Mean implies intent, and I certainly didn’t intend to not save you any chicken.

Abby: Seriously? You fed all your other children food. Just not me. Unkind.

Me: Hey, Greg. Did you know we didn’t save Abby any chicken last night?

Greg: What was last night?

Me: Dance. Abby was out late. We didn’t save food.

Greg: We didn’t?

Me: That’s the way I heard it.

Greg: Huh. I guess we forgot about her.

Me: EXACTLY. That’s what I thought, too. SEE, ABBY? We’re not being mean. We’re being thoughtless and neglectful.

And this is why vocabulary matters, folks. Language is a precision instrument; we must teach our children to use it correctly. 

Can I get an amen?

Abby totally agrees.


ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. i think this should go in the book! lol though i actually think it might be best (for the book version) stopping at either amen or maybe the sentence about language/precision instrument 😀

  2. Beth, We don’t know each other but we do have mutual friends which is how I found your blog. I must say I LOVE IT!!. Thank you for your inspiration for me to be me… the imperfect wanna-be-perfect mother of 6 that I am. ( Oh and like you I have twins… but 2 sets of them… so I REALLY relate to you. 🙂 )

    So I have to tell you this. In the middle of the night the other night I was suddenly awoken by the sound of my 5 year old vomiting in the hallway. My husband and I worked on cleaning him up, the hallway floor and walls, and then also his bed, bedding, floor, and walls. It was a wonderful sight. A 10 in my books. As we were doing all of this we put him in our bed with the vomit bucket and strict instructions on how to use said vomit bucket. Apparently he didn’t understand. Yep you guessed it. Everywhere. So after we cleaned up our bed and I made him a bed on the floor next to us I said…. I am sure Beth would have something enlightening.. something funny…. something to get me through this lovely ordeal. So no, even though we don’t know each other, you are with me even in the middle of vomit. LOL!!! THANKS!!

    1. Welcome, Tracie! I’m so glad you’re here.

      And, um, yes. I might know a thing or 60 about the kind of vomitty night you mentioned. http://putdowntheurinalcake.com/2011/09/of-all-the-vomitters-in-all-the-world/ Proof. 😀 And ALWAYS happy to hang out with you in the middle of the mess.

  3. I’m so glad other families have these discussions. We have had several similar ones with our 12 year old. Vocabulary is important and should not be taken lightly. I hope she has learned her lesson : )

    1. Hehehe. Yeah – she totally learned her lesson. Not a bit of eyerolling. 🙂

  4. LOL Some days you really make my day!

  5. There was a always a dictionary immediately available at the dining room table in the house in which Beth grew up. “Words Matter” was a family axiom. Do any of you see a trend here?

    1. Aren’t you glad you taught me to use my words? I know Abby is.

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