Friday, May 7, 2010

Lost In Translation


The following early morning exchange occurred on a day when the world's surliest teenager woke up late for school. If this is your first trip to Angstworld or exposure to TeenSpeak, I have inserted translations below the actual dialogue. I have become well versed in "Angst" and am available for hire. [Fee: free, in the spirit of fellow commiseration.]

PARENT: "Hey, darling, you'll be late if you don't get up now."

15 YR OLD: "What time is it? Why'd you let me sleep so late? You NEVER wake me up in time for anything."

HE IS SAYING: "I am so tired, Mom. Can I sleep a bit longer?"

PARENT: "Sorry you'll have to rush, sweetie. I'll help you out. What do you need?"

15 YR OLD: "You still don't know what I need in the morning? How long have I been your son?"

HE IS SAYING: "I'm too tired to think, Mom. You always do it right. Can you do it for me, please?"

PARENT: "Here, I've got breakfast set. Come on down, I'll pack your lunch. Then you can wash up instead of a shower."

15 YR OLD: "No shower???!! Did you say No shower??!! Man, does everyone get gross like that when they get old? I'm taking a shower. You're the one that got me up late. Why do I have to be the one to go without a shower."

HE IS SAYING: "You know how important my appearance is at this age. Please figure out a way to make time stop so I can get in the shower."

PARENT: "All right. Sneak one in. Fast. I can get you to school on time. You're never late, it'll be all right."

15 YR OLD: "Nothing's ever all right at that place. They always find something wrong .. I hate having to get a tardy slip. Just get me there, on time, I can't be late."

HE IS SAYING: "I have a lot of pressures with being cool. Walking in with a tardy slip like a little kid is embarrassing. Please oh please, Mom, break some laws and get me to school on time."

PARENT: "It'll be fine. You'll just make it. Come on, honey. Everything's set, and I fixed you something so you can eat it in the car. Get dressed, and you'll make it with two minutes to spare. I'll be out in the car. Your backpack's already in there, too."

15 YR OLD: "Thanks, Mom."

HE IS SAYING: .................

BUT in his silence, he says this: Oh, Mom, Why am I like this? So angry all the time. I'm so sorry for the way I acted toward you. I spoke to you with disrespect, when all the time you just want to help me. I love you, Mom. Will you forgive me?

PARENT: "Of course I do."

15 YR OLD: "Whatcha say, Mom? I didn't say anything--who are you talking to? You're starting to talk to yourself like an old person."

PARENT: "Oh, nothing, honey. Just something I heard in my head. Lean over, you've got some Clearasil left on your face. There. Better. You're so handsome. I love you."

52 comments:

  1. Absolutely pricless...good thing we know how to read "heartspeak" rather than what actually comes out of their heads at times! Love this.

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  2. *feverishly taking notes*

    Happy Mother's Day...

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  3. Commenter: Thanks for the translation.

    She is saying: I can't stop laughing.

    Commenter: Your son is a charmer.

    She is saying: Don't you have any Duck tape for his mouth?

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  4. Well, I have decided that for Mother's Day, I want to be YOUR son. Even if I need an operation to figure that out...

    And this gave me a scary preview of 13 years from now. I'm so wrapped around my son's finger already. He is 2 and last night, he ripped his shirt off, laid down next to me and, said 'Rub my back.' Which, of course I did, for an hour.

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  5. Oh lord, I am not looking forward to teenage years.

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  6. Oh, that is perfect! I've been known, ahem, to bend the law sometimes in getting my kids to school on time!

    Happy Mother's Day!

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  7. I missed all these posts of yours - have I been that out of touch? Loved them all. This one was poignant. Will my child one day speak to me like that? Will I be that gracious? I only hope so!!

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  8. Love the translations - wishing you a very Happy Mothers Day

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  9. Loved that.
    :)

    He'll outgrow it.
    Promise.

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  10. What a lucky boy you have, sweet mother.
    Happy Mama's Day to you.

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  11. You are an insanely good translator. Do you 9-year-old too? Can I hire you to teach me?

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  12. Oh, boy, you are a saint! Here's hoping I have that much patience when my tantrumy toddlers are teens. =>

    Happy Mother's Day!

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  13. Haha, I like you... "translations." I know I was not as kind (thoughted) a teenager as your boy. ;) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. I have one of those. And I know exactly what you mean and what he means and what my daughter means. Very touching.

    And that boy? What a handsome young man.

    Have a beautiful Mother's Day.

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  15. You're awesome at translations, Empress. Try this one for me, will you?

    ME: Brush your teeth, honey.

    4-YEAR OLD SON: No!! I'm gonna spit my toothpaste on you!!

    Let me know what you think.

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  16. Love it! Where DO you find the strength? On the bright side, one day, I'm sure he really will be saying those words out loud:)
    Happy Mother's Day!

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  17. Your head is so much nicer than mine.
    Mine probably would have said, "You're 15 freakin' years old. I have two words for you: alarm.clock. You know---it's small, you plug it in, and it wakes you up on time. I'll get you one if you haven't already figured out the alarm clock feature on your cell phone."

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  18. How kind of your son to give you so many subtextual compliments! I will think of this exchange the next time my kids are dragging ME out of bed.

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  19. hee hee. I try to do the same thing all day long with my first graders, but the language barrier can be very pronounced!

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  20. I second what Stacia said. You are 200 times more patient than I am! (Please tell me this is fiction and in real life, you gave him the look and told him that he needed to learn to set an alarm clock like everyone else. Please? Or am I, as my kids claim, the wicked witch of Winnetka?)

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  21. Lol Empress,

    I love the translations. What a great Mom your fifteen year old has! Pretty one too. He is a handsome young man Mom...even if he doesn't like getting up on time!

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  22. This was funny! Made me laugh. I remember being that angst ridden young man not all that long ago. :-)

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  23. You are way nicer than I am, that's for sure!

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  24. (How is it that I did not see this until today?? I think there is a time lag on my reader...)

    I just LOVE this, Alexandra! I laughed outloud and wanted to cry. You packed alot in there about how the teen mind works - the things that are important to them - and how a mother handles it all in stride. Wonderfully done. I hope you will do more posts like this. Selfishly speaking, I can use all the warnings and previews I can get!!

    You're an amazing mother too, for being able to read between the lines and respond accordingly.

    Happy Mother's Day, love!

    P.S. Your son is gorgeous.

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  25. that was freaking perfect. i am printing it. and giving it to my 15 yr old son. framed.

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  26. yes, yes! so true!! I have done this in my head over and over with my 17yo sweetie. lol

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  27. I needed to read this. My son is a bear to me every day. I need to react as if he said what he meant. I'll try. *sigh*

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  28. If only we could all understand our teens the way you do! This is so refreshing.

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  29. I love it! You really are a Saint. I had an almost identical conversation with my 14 year old girl this week and it was early but, if I recall correctly, I think I told her to "bite me"...or something...under my breath:)

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  30. You mean it goes beyond yelling, "No, I no like you!", I think I missed the angst chapter in "What to Expect When Your Expecting".

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  31. Oh *sniff* I hope my teenager is like this one day...when he's a teenager. I mean..well, you know what I mean, right?

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  32. Ahhhhhhh...the teenage years. So very much to look forward to.... You know when I was a teenager, I threw an entire cantelope at my stepmom. Lucky it didn't actually hit her.

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  33. You. Are. Good! I'd have needed a Xanax to get through that morning :-)
    Cheers,
    jj

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  34. the love of a mother....not slapping the child who talks to you like that. :) This is sweet..at least the translations!

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  35. OMG, hold me! I'm going to have 4 teenagers at once. Eeeek!

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  36. I have a 16 yr old....you handled yours a lot better than I handle mine. Mine would have been like "Can't I stay home from school?" "Nope"
    You are so mean and do not understand me!"

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  37. very well done. maybe if more parents did a adult to kid translation like this we'd have fewer problems with the teen years. amusing and insightful at the same time. Fantastic post!
    dianeswords.wordpress.com

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  38. You must be a saint. I have a 13 year old, and that is NOT how our conversations go. Maybe I need an in-depth tutorial in teenage translation.

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  39. Love hopping...and somehow came across your blog...I love this post. You are a wonderful mom. I know I would not have been that understanding. However, with your angst translations...I think now I could be. My oldest is only 12..so this is a nice preview. :)

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  40. Ack--only 14 more years until I know exactly what you mean!

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  41. I love this! Having an almost 13-year-old son these are very frequent conversations. I will look at it in a total different way now!

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  42. Loved this! My daughter is grown now but I can totally relate. And she has 2 children of her own to expect this kind of angstspeak from in the future. LOL Visiting from Lady Bloggers.

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  43. Awwww.... so beautiful... made me feel so happy... such a beautiful post

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  44. So sweet! I've always felt kind of terrified at the prospect of my babies growing up into teenage boys, but you frequently manage to put me at ease.

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  45. Will I have that kind of patience when my eldest is 15? Because right now? The exchange would go NOTHING like that. It would involve yelling (me) and whining (his) and tears (both of us). Ugh.

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  46. I love it - I agree - You must deal with these things with a bit of humor. I see these angst ridden teens, and I think, there they go - the tragic, surly teenager. Oh, the drama. The tragedy. :)

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  47. Always a pleasure to read your posts! Boy, I can't wait for teen years. Mine is already angst-filled -- at 7!

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  48. Say, you know what? I'm putting your button on my blog! Why I haven't done it before, I don't know.

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  49. I loved this. Truthfully, you could also translate for my 7 year old...same cranky words, same litte being who, in the end, just wants Mommy to take care of it all.

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  50. Thanks for that glimpse into the future. Oh my god. I don't think I'll ever be ready for it. I'm going to take a lot of pics of G at this age so I can stare at his 4-year-old face whenever his 15-yr-old mouth is spouting teen stuff. Your methods are good, too though! I love it.

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  51. Wow, I SO needed this today. Thank you for reminding me that there IS a translation and that we all have those moments. I think I'll print this post and tape it to the wall of my closet for those mornings when I need the commisseration! xx

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