Just Words

Success means _________.

Fun means _________.

Retard means _________.

Love means _________.

Value means _________.

Boring means _________.

Sporky means _________.

Go on, fill in the blanks. You can do it.


Bet your answers don't match mine.


Frequently when the topic of my college educations comes up, I hear comments like, "Wow, you sure aren't using THAT!" or "Whatever did you plan to do with that?" or "Seriously? That's a real major?"

Apparently having a degree in Spanish Translation doesn't seem all that valuable in the world of a working mom involved with corporate training. On the surface, it's not. I don't translate anything in my work. I don't even own a Spanish dictionary right now.

However, there is one major lesson of translation that I use every single day of my life.

The meaning of words is in people, not in words.

Think about it. All those words above? Have different connotations for different people. Your life experiences shape how you interpret a word. For example, some people would say that success means being good at what you do. Some would say it has to do with income levels. Some would tell you that it's being happily married with 2.5 kids. Some would define it entirely different.

For some people, it's a pleasant word. It gives them a chance to revel in their own personal success as they have defined it. For others, it's a hurtful word that conjures up memories of discussions about disappointment, goals not reached, and choices. It's an innocent little word, yet the emotions attached to it can be very different for each person who hears it.

Context can help to clarify the speaker or author's intention when using a particular word, but the meaning of words is still open to interpretation by the person receiving the message.

The meaning of words is in people, not in words.


Alexis and I walked casually through The Emporium, in search of the perfect memento from the Magic Kingdom. We studied t-shirts, we dug through piles of stuffed animals, we glanced at household items. Finally we stumbled upon an aisle filled with miniatures figurines.

Alexis enthusiastically pointed out all of her favorite characters. "Look! It's Minnie!" "I love Daisy." "There's Cinderella!"

Then she saw it. The shelf with the characters from Aladdin.

"Momma, I miss Jasmine. Not purple Jasmine. I miss white Jasmine," she said in her stereotypical high-pitched cheery little kid voice.

It wasn't toddler rambling. It wasn't an incoherent statement. It was a fact. A fact that instantly tore open a hole in my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

She misses our sweet little Lhasa Apso who passed away last fall.

I do, too.

Alexis didn't mean for her words to hurt me, but they did.


Pucker Up

We were flying through Wal-Mart when I spotted it: Bolt. On DVD. Two whole days BEFORE it was supposed to be available. Of course I felt the undying need to buy it because I am SUCH a law breaker. (Shhhh . . . don't tell the Feds.) We had big plans to spend the evening watching the movie as a happy little family.

However, before Mr. Husband could finish up whatever it is that he does upstairs every evening, Alexis committed a major sin. MAJOR. I won't publicly rat her out, but it was BAAAAAD. I was left with no choice but to put the kibosh on the Bolt viewing.

I was sad.

Mr. Husband was sadder.

Sometimes it really sucks to be the grown-up, but there it was.

Alexis, for her part, was also not very happy with me. When Mr. Husband appeared, she pulled the ago-old trick of asking The Dad when The Mom has already declined the request. He did the wise thing and maintained the united front.


Then he sensed a shred of weakness emanating from my being.

He told Alexis, "Y'know, you really should apologize to Mommy, and if you want to watch Bolt, kiss her butt."

Alexis looked at me, grinned her cheesiest grin, and said, "I sorry!" as she walked towards me. She crawled up on the couch next to me and started grabbing at my leg. "Momma, I can't see your butt!" she said.

Mr. Husband and I started laughing. "What are you trying to do?" I asked.

"I can't see your butt!" she repeated. "I need to kiss it!"

The Classic Toddler Misunderstanding Moment? Way more fun than watching any silly movie.

(Yes, this is Day Two of the Tutu Monster.)


Monster. Created.

I was all set to thank Clumberkim for reminding me about no-sew tutus. I had made them before way back in college (you can ask why exactly a Spanish Translation major made several multi-colored adult-sized tutus, but I won't answer you), and knew just how easy they are. I had more than half the materials already on hand because I had intended to make one for Alexis easily a year ago.

Now I'm thinking procrastination was a good idea.

The girl spent the ENTIRE day wearing the ridiculous thing. She chased Mr. Husband out in the street with it on.

She tortured the dogs. A lot. While wearing the tutu.

She . . . um . . . "helped" with some yard work while dressed like a deranged swan from Swan Lake. (By "helped" I mean she pushed the wheelbarrow everywhere it did NOT need to be. Including into a car. Or two.)

Alexis went for a bike ride wearing the silly tutu, and then fell asleep in true Sleeping Beauty fashion.

The tutu and its obsessed wearer went for a ride on a horse.

Alexis scrubbed a week's worth of spilled food and drink from her table. While wearing the tutu.

She even managed to hang out on the deck blowing bubbles. While wearing the tutu.

So, uh, how exactly do I pry the thing off her?