The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Speaking Code

on October 25, 2012

While randomly searching for a different subject yesterday, I ran across the fact  that there was a documentary a few years ago titled “Speaking In Code”.   I don’t know how I missed that….wait…yes I do. I’m not a documentary fan.  The title, however, intrigued me and I, being me, began pondering how often I speak “in code”.  A friend once told me that she and her husband used to use the code phrase “playing a game of Scrabble” for their…ummm…”intimate time” when their children were little. (wow – Scrabble was much easier to type than the other word.  They may be on to something here!)  I found that amusing.  I guess “Twister” would have been too obvious. I can’t say that my husband and I ever came up with a code word for that but I realize I do remember speaking in code when our kids were little so they wouldn’t know what we were talking about. Of course kids grow up and figure out what you are talking about so code speak becomes less useful eventually. Then you just have to say, “Go away so we can talk.” which is effective but less fun.  The more I think about it, however, the more I realize there is still a lot of speaking in code going on at our house.  Here are some of my top codes:

  • “Do I look serious”  is code for my kids to know they have gotten on my last nerve.
  • “Does this house look like it came with a maid” means you had better pick up your stuff or Mom is going to get cranky.
  • “Were you talking to me?” is a signal that you might want to reword what you just said.
  • “Grocery shopping tomorrow” is the phrase I use to communicate “Just shut up and eat what I put in front of you because that’s all there is.”
  • “My ears are tired” should cue you that it is time to shut up.
  • “You know where the peanut butter jar is.” is code for “This is not a restaurant. If you don’t like what I made fix yourself something else.”
  • “Is that your final answer?” means I noticed your story is changing and I’m ready to be done playing that game. This would be your last opportunity to tell me the truth before I go “ninja mom” on you.
  • “Give me a minute” or “Hang on” is my signal that your request is not at the top of my priority list and I’m not going to drop everything to fulfill it. The sub-meaning is “Chill. The world isn’t going to end before we do whatever it is that you want me to do.”

Likewise my family has their own code phrases.

  • When my husband says “I want to get your opinion about something” what he really means is “I’m about to screw up your plans.” or “I need you to tell me that I’m not insane” depending on the “something” that follows.  This can also be coded as, “What would you think about…..”
  • “I’m fine” has two different meanings.  When one is upset it means, “I don’t want to talk about it right now.”  If one is looking sick or injured it is translated, “Leave me alone I’m trying to be tough here.”  Both have the sub-meaning “Back off Mom.”
  • “I’m just tired” is code for “I’m in a bad mood and have no idea why.”
  • After asking what I’m cooking for dinner our youngest son’s “Yessss” means “Good choice mom. I like that.” “OH” means “Seriously? You expect me to eat that.”
  • “I’m not very hungry” is a quick clue that he didn’t like what I made or he is getting ill.
  • When my oldest daughter asks “Do you need me to do something?” what she really means is “I want to take a nap so please tell me no.”
  • Youngest daughter saying “I don’t have anything to wear!” is actually her signal that she thinks her sister has more clothes than she does.
  • “Didn’t I tell you that” means “Oh! I forgot about that until just now.”
  • “Mom do you know where my fill in the blank is?” really means “Drop everything and come help me find this.”
  • “Yeah. I had it.” means “I have no idea where I put that.”
  • “Have you seen my article of clothing?” signals me that someone hasn’t brought their laundry down and they now expect me to run a load for them.
  • “I could have sworn I out that in my back pack” is our youngest son’s code for “I left it on my desk at school.”
  • When questioned about how much homework she has my youngest daughter answering “Not much” means “I don’t want to do it right now.”
  • “ummmm…” is always code for “Let me stall until I come up with a good answer.”
  • When requesting someone do something the response,”I will”, actually means “I’ll get to it after you ask me to do it three more times.”
  • “I’ll take it up to my room later” means “I’m too lazy to walk up the stairs right now.”  Then it means “It’s easier to leave it on the stairs for a week.”
  • “I hate to ask, but….” is a signal for “Prepare to be annoyed.”
  • “Do you mind if…” is code for “I know you probably aren’t going to like this but I thought I’d give it a shot.”  (Funny thing is that I usually don’t mind most things. My kids just think I’m unreasonable.)
  • “Sort of” , “Probably”, and our youngest’s “Maaaaybe.”  mean “you are one hundred percent right but I’m not going to admit it.”
  • “Guess what” is the start of the “you’ll never figure it out but I want to draw this story out to make it exciting” game. (My kids love this game.)
  • “Hang on. I have to go to the bathroom” is code for “If I waste enough time I won’t have to help with the dishes.” (Okay – I used to do that too.)
  • “Uh huh” is code for “I’m not listening”
  • “MOM!” means “Will you STOP? You are embarrassing me.” (This is my favorite one!)

I’m sure there are more but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head (which is code for “I’m getting old and can’t remember anything anymore.”). I imagine most families have their own version of code-speak. Maybe not. Maybe my family is the only one around who does this.  Nah. We can’t be the only people fluent in code can we?   What I have figured out is that you have to know someone fairly well to translate their codes.  If someone doesn’t know you they really do believe that your “oh great!” means “oh that’s great.” instead of “I’m being sarcastic here and am less than thrilled about this.”  You have to be careful to whom you speak code. They might just take what you said at face value.  It makes me wonder why we don’t just say what we mean all the time.  I’d ponder it further but my husband just started sighing. That’s the code for “Could you pay attention to me for a while please?”  I’m getting pretty good at this code reading thing!

Feel free to share your family’s “codes”. Really. It’ll make me feel more normal.

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6 responses to “Speaking Code

  1. This is soooo funny!!! Of course we all have these codes I just never interpreted them in this fashion! I didn’t realize there was so many! I especially love the one about when they say they will do it, it actually means after you ask them three more times!!!

    • wedelmom says:

      That’s the way it works in my house. Kind of like “sort of” in answer to “Is your room picked up?” means “It can be if you are planning to come up and look.” Really – I am trying to raise good kids but there are days….

  2. javaj240 says:

    We all have our codes. When we get to “death stare”, they know it’s bad.

    • wedelmom says:

      Ah yes, the death stare. My kids have shortened it down and simply call it “The Look.” It’s one of the few things that can still make my 21-year old 250 pound weight-lifter son shudder. Love the power of “The Look”! (Insert evil laugh.)

  3. Valerie says:

    Oh my goodness, funny!! My husband and I used to use “playing football” as code for sex. I’m not sure why, we never even said it in front of the kids! I guess it was just fun for us. “Want some touch football tonight, honey, or the full-on tackle sort?” Lol We have lots of codes we use around here. “I’ll do it in a minute” said by my 8 year old son, means it will not get done unless I ask, remind and finally threaten him! (this is usually about putting something away) From my 12 year old daughter, “Oh, I’m sorry, Mom. I shouldn’t have done that. I was wrong.” means “I don’t want to lose computer and I think I just did something to earn that consequesnce, so maybe if I hurry and apologize as genuinely as I can, she won’t catch on….” For real. 😉

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