One simple word – ‘mum’
(Or ‘mom’ if you live on the other side of the world)
I am constantly amazed by how my children can take that one word and say it in so many different ways, giving it so many different meanings.
I am even more amazed that I can decipher exactly what they mean even though they have only said one word.
Here are eight ways my kids say ‘Muuuum’ – and what they mean.
Said with a low growl at the end.
Means: OMG! Seriously! I can’t believe you just said/did that! I am so embarrassed!
Said in a sing song voice with a tone of affected innocence.
Means: I’m about to tell you something or ask you something that I’m pretty sure you won’t like.
Said in a short, sharp, shout.
Means: I need you here, right this instant, usually because I can’t find something I need right now that I should have put away three days ago like you told me to.
Said with a long whine.
Means : It’s not fair! I never get anything! The whole world hates me!
“mum mum mum mum mum mum”
Said in a low monotone, will never end unless you reply.
Means: I see you are busy but I suddenly have to ask you or tell you something right now. I may forget what that is in the minute it takes you to finish what you are doing and respond to me.
Said with a gradual rise in tone, volume and urgency.
Means: There is a tiny spider on the other side of the room which is about to kill me. Or similar life threatening issue such as a tiny scrape that requires an enormous bandage or a massive injustice caused by one of my siblings.
Said in perfectly timed unison by two or more siblings.
Means: I know my sibling wants you and that has reminded me that I suddenly want you too, OR, I am racing to tell you something before my sibling does, for a variety of reasons, none of them good.
“… mum …”
Said in a quiet voice often with the words ‘love you’ preceding or the word ‘thanks’ following.
Means: Despite everything, I love you, and I know you love me too.
Do your kids have this same skill with language?
Do you have the same skill in translation?
Do you have a ‘Mum’ to add to the list?