Stuff My Children Say

I want to preface this by saying: I love my children. I do. They’re wonderful little pieces of themselves most of the time, and the other times… well, I’ll just say that they’re still little pieces of themselves. They’re just sometimes very difficult to deal with when the dialogue changes, when they don’t get their way, or when something messes with their own opinion of how the world should work. Yes. They’re children. If I haven’t mentioned that already.

It would be so easy to just go with the flow, to allow them screen time whenever they want, to say “Yes!” to every single request they make, but that’s not giving them the best of me and my own experience. Because, see, I’ve been there. Sure, we had a lot less technology when I was their age. (Super Mario anyone?) But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Right?

My children tend to sound like broken records more often than not (“What’s a record, dad?). Here are the most repeated phrases they use these days…

“You’re mean.”

This often follows the word “No.” Can we have tacos tonight? No. You’re mean. Can we watch a show with dinner? No. You’re mean. Can we get out of going to Girl Scouts? No. You’re mean. Occasionally it will also pop up after we’ve taken something away and put it in time out. You’re mean.

“Hush it.”

Maddie’s new favorite phrase, it can encompass pretty much anything that makes sound, whether it’s people having a conversation near her, music a bit too loud for her tastes, or other “assorted noise” that encroaches on her space. I constantly tell her that it’s rude to say “Hush it” to other people, but then she just grunts at me and that’s the beginning of a whole other conversation.

“Just a minute.”

I have become convinced this is a placeholder for all kinds of wonderful things they’d like to say to me when I’ve told them they need to either stop what they’re doing (‘cuz I’m about to ruin the image and style that they’re used to), or I need them to redirect their focus to something else. There is no pause between whatever I’ve told them and this stock refrain. Time to get ready for bathJust a minute. We need to be in the car right nowJust a minute.

“Oh my god.”

It’s not because I have some aversion to hearing the name of god be thusly abused, but maybe it’s because I have some aversion to hearing the name of god be thusly abused. It was so ingrained in me growing up that it just sounds… wrong to hear it be used like this. No one else here has a problem with it, so I try to push my feelings down deep. After all, they’re not grounded in some real reason not to let this one slide. It just grates on my ears.


This is the classic variation on the previous phrase, taking the first letter from the word god, stretching it out in its long form, and making it plural. If I was a gangster saying this phrase would amount to talking about either thousands of dollars of my homies… or both.

“This is taking forever.”

notfairI attribute this one almost 100% to my younger child who seems to think that our pace is a glacial one. She could have asked for our assistance just a minute prior to this statement, but that’s apparently a minute too long. Can you help me open this bag? [1 minute later] This is taking forever. Can you read me this book? [1 minute later] This is taking forever. Which is, of course, completely funny considering they treat a minute like it’s the longest amount of time ever, for their purposes (“Just a minute”).

“You driving me crazy.”

The term crazy just isn’t what it used to be, in my opinion, because apparently it’s as common as white rice and Mississippi sunshine. Sometimes the phrase comes out because Maddie seems to find it hilarious, and other times, when Alexa uses it, it’s because I’m doing something she used to find silly but she’s “too mature” to find silly anymore.

“Stop. That’s mine. Stop.”

This is the one phrase on this list that is said from sibling to sibling, and back again, constantly. It doesn’t matter what the thing is that belongs to one or the other of them, and it often doesn’t even matter which one is using it, holding it, or doing anything with it. All that matters is one has it and the other one notices it. Often when I break in to the middle of this conversation I get a “Not fair,” or a “You’re mean,” often at high volume.

I can’t win.


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