The kids were not behaving. Not unusual. It was about two minutes until the school bus would arrive to pick them up. They had no shoes or socks on, no homework in their backpacks, and their teeth were yet to be brushed. And there was no indication, after repeated coaxing and pleading, that they were about to do what needed to be done. That’s when my wife raised her voice, and began counting: “ONE!... TWO!... “ And just like that, the kids all hopped to it and quickly got it all done and were out the door.
Why? Because my wife was counting? What would happen if she had gotten to THREE? We don’t know, because we’ve never gotten to three. This mysteriously effective threat is something we began to refer to as “Threemageddon.” It’s a cross between “Armageddon” and the number “Three.” It's one of many words we parents needed, but never had.
On another occasion, my son was looking in the mirror, admiring the gap in his mouth where his upper-right bicuspid used to be. In his left hand he clutched a dollar bill that was given to him courtesy of the Tooth Fairy. It was then I realized he wasn’t marveling at the missing tooth, but counting his remaining teeth. “What are you doing?” I asked. “I’m trying to figure out how much money I can get if I knock out all of my teeth.” he replied. As much as this disturbed me, I was also very amused. I thought right then and there (there should be a word for that , too), a cross between the words “Orthodontics” and “Entrepreneur”. And thus was born “Orthodontrepreneur” (ORR-tho-dahn-truh-prehn-ORR) noun : a child who is interested in knocking his own teeth out in the interest of a hefty payday from the Tooth Fairy.
These kind of scenarios led me to write “The KidDictionary: A Book of Words Parents Need But Don’t Have.” In it I attempt to provide terminology to terminologize even the most obscure notions, actions and states of being associated with children.
Some words in The KidDictionary are a combination of two or more words. Some are just slight modifications of existing words. Others are just flat-out made up because they sound appropriate to the thing, action or idea they describe. Such as “Snoot.” To Snoot is to suck in, rather than blow out, when you’re blowing your nose. Kids don’t seem to get the concept of blowing their nose. So they Snoot.
I was preparing to vacuum our minivan, a ritual I get around to every three or four years. When I lifted out the car seats, the volume of gunk and crumbs and litter and debris was astounding. I call that mess of stuff "Kiddles," because there’s currently no other word for it. Except “Gross.”