I was reading the other day about all the new words and phrases that have recently been added to the dictionary of the English language. It’s nice to know those words that we use all the time (?) are now official: ginormous; netnanny; mouse potato, supersize . . . you know, those.
The invention of new phrases, of course, is nothing new to me. When my kids were learning to talk they’d come up with their own versions of words that quickly made their way into family lore.
Of course they all know how to talk now (one of them, in fact, excels in this area; I’ll let you guess which one she is), but I’ve noticed lately, with the onset of teenagedom (Is that a word? It is now!) this trend has reappeared.
(I spent quite awhile the other day, in fact, wondering what other trends will pop up again. Temper tantrums? Inability to pick up toys? Using angry words? So far, uh, yes.)
Hayden (13), in particular, introduces us to all sorts of new linguistic expressions. (In fact, you may recall that the name of our dog can be directly attributed to his tutelage). He also thrills us with delightful phrases like, “That’s just how I roll, Mom” (generally most effective when used with the well-timed disdainful look). Today I heard him use a phrase that, I have to say, may actually make it to the general dictionary, most certainly the dictionary of our family.
As Hayden hopped in the car when I picked him up from Algebra class, he was waving to a goofy looking kid on the sidewalk (frankly, 7th and 8th graders all seem kind of goofy-looking to me, except for some of the girls, whose appearances make me run screaming into the house to lock Hannah in her room). I asked about the kid, since I hadn’t met him before.
Eric, Hayden said his name was.
“Nice kid, but a little . . . weird.”
“What do you mean by weird?”
“You know, kind of annoying.”
“In what way?”
“Well, he’s always getting into everybody’s business. And he likes to be the center of attention all the time. He also talks a lot. And tries to make jokes that are not funny. Sometimes I wonder about the stories he tells us. I don’t know how to explain it, Mom.”
“Hmmm. So do you like him or does he just bother you?” I asked.
“Well, both. I’m not sure how to explain him to you except to say he’s ‘ultimate Hannah’.”
“Ahhhhh!” I said, exclaiming in sudden and complete understanding. I almost had to stop the car I was laughing so hard. The minute Hayden used his new phrase, I knew what he meant.
(Hannah, our resident dramatically gifted motormouth, is the child who wrote her first grade “What I Did This Summer” essay about our wonderful trip to Florida to visit our grandparents, where she “dipped her toe into the Atlantic Ocean”—which was all very beautiful, except for the fact that her grandparents live in Mississippi and we’d just returned . . . from Wisconsin. “Should we be concerned? What does this mean? Whatever it is, it CAN’T be good” we whispered to each other at Parents’ Open House night. Later, when we asked, she explained: “Well, the story I made up sounded way more fun than what we really did.”)
I’m delighted to know, of course, that Hayden is not just learning Algebra this summer, he’s also actively expanding his vocabulary. While I probably would not describe him as, well, ultimate Hannah, he is quite a wordulous* sort of kid, wouldn’t you say?
*wordulous (adjective) : given to inventing creative new words because one’s large vocabulary needs sustenance. You are so wordulous, it’s scary!