Monday, May 27, 2024
BLOGSPeace of Mind

Nonsensical semantics in the house

A lot of the funny in-jokes and pet phrases in our little family are things we’ve been saying so long, I no longer even recognize that they’re not proper semantics.

It’s kind of like how you get so used to your own clutter, you stop seeing it after a while. Except it’s like I’m tone deaf to my own words.

Forcing my hapa baby to be a Chinese baby.

I came home and greeted my husband, then asked him, “What doing?”

We three have been saying “What doing?” for a really, really long time. For us, it’s an inquiry as to what someone is doing, or by illogical extension derived by inference, how they are doing. (Yes, so the senselessness just keeps on going.)

Claus finally stopped me and said, “Why do we even say that? Where did that come from?”

Wow! Why DO we say that? I forgot to note that I’ve been walking around sounding like an idiot for a decade!

Ironically, I am paid to speak. Like, my whole job centers around the deft use of words, yet the words I am saying do not always make sense.

Hello! I talk nice.

While I contemplated the origin of this phrase, Claus continued wondering. “Why did we drop the ‘are you’ from the sentence? Was it that much more energy to use those extra two words?”

“I think it has to do with Olivia learning to speak,” I guessed. As with so many other life changes that added to the richness of our lives, we thought our daughter’s first stabs at speech were adorable and we would often laugh and repeat it to each other.

We still have a few gems that crop up regularly: eyebrowses, narsals (nostrils), and that national favorite, pasghetti. We also kept alive, “Put it in there,” which Olivia used to say and then point to her mouth when wanting to be fed.

Then there’s “peanut work,” referring to tedious paperwork. That’s a long story involving Paris, a toddler, and a raided mini-bar. That little explanation makes no sense, does it? Welcome to this blog’s theme.

So while we don’t specifically remember any “What doing” moments from Olivia’s toddlerhood, we’re pretty sure that’s the correct theory.

Knowing doesn’t change anything. “What doing?” continues to live in our family lexicon, along with a whole bunch of silly words and phrases that give history and texture to our lives.

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