Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I got a case of the giggles thinking about all the names, words, and phrases that are exclusive to my family. I almost got up and blogged right then but reason prevailed. I couldn't wait to get home today to write everything down. I believe all families have their own family-speak--intimate shorthand language that makes no sense to others but communicates volumes to those "in the know." Some of ours go way back, to when my mom was a child (who else calls the bump on the back of a sweater caused by being hung on a hook an "eddie?")

When my kids were little if I hollered, "I need a hug!" on a Sunday morning they would come racing into my room and pile on the bed with me. Usually a "tickle-pickle" ensued. We would play and tickle each other until it was time to get up and get moving. (They recently told me they used to try to keep it going as long as possible so I'd forget about church.) If someone, usually Nate, snuck up on the others and started tickling, the victim would scream, "No tickling in Spanish!" Why? Who remembers! If it happened to be a cold and rainy day we would dump Nate's Legos out on the living room floor and have a "lego pig-out" which meant we did nothing but build all day. From the time she was little, if Katie wanted something she would sing-song, "I'll be your best fwend!" Every now and then one of us will say it to the other when trying to convince them of something. On our drive to BC recently we passed a certain campsite, and I said "Camp Kiwana" in a funny voice. Nate and I shared a laugh. For whatever reason, years ago we thought it sounded funny and made up a strange little song about it. Now we can't pass that bend in the road without remembering. I know there are more...tuck in time, doing advent, why can't you be normal?...the three of us know exactly what is meant by those words. Lines from movies. Songs. We can sing all the verses of Good King Wenceslas. For whatever reason it is "our" Christmas carol.

Then there are the names we have for each other:

Katherine Suzanne became....Katie-kate, Katie bird, Kadidle, Katrinka (grandpa calls her that), Petunia (also grandpa), Boopsie, Baby cakes, Kathy McKatherson (by Nate to annoy--and it does), Kate-head (also to annoy)

Nathan Rolland became...Nater, Natie, Natie-boy, Nate-head (pay back), NRol (by Katie also to annoy), Neifi (neighbors couldn't pronounce 'th' and now I call him that), Scooter (grandpa's name for him)

I was called....Mommo, Mommio, Mama, Mommers, Mamacita, Mam, Madre

Chasse the dog (pronounced Shaw-see) was called....shawba, shawba-dawba, shawba-ding-dong-louie, louie, shawbers, shawshaw-boo, buddah (Nate--why? Who knows?), buddah's belly, belly, old girl

Kiki the cat (who died at 17 right before I sold the house) was called...Kikidiki, Keek, Keekers

Family-speak. What's yours?

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