Like all parents, I got my Parental Hearing Aid* the day my first child was born. This amazing device saved me tons of grief as my kids were growing up. It let me hear…
… a change in the quality of the silence that sent me sprinting to perform the Heimlich maneuver on my toddler, who was sampling the dog’s kibble.
… a tiny “erp” that woke me from a sound sleep in time to get to my 7-year-old’s room, get her vertical and get a waste basket in front of her before she hurled a stomach-load of Chuck E Cheese birthday party fare all over her new Lisa Frank bedspread.
… the subtle undercurrent in my 16-year-old’s voice when she said “I’m sleeping over at Ashley’s,” which clued me that she meant “we’re going to a drunken orgy at some stranger’s house where no parents will be around.”
The translator feature of the Parental Hearing Aid really comes in handy. This is invaluable for figuring out what your kid is REALLY saying since parents and children don’t speak the same language.
Here are a few examples of how the translator works when an adult child spouts off about education, relationships, marriage and life in general. I have yet to hear many of these phrases myself, mind you, but other parents tell me these are common translations.
What they say: I’m changing my major to Women’s Studies.
What parents hear: I plan to live in your basement forever.
What they say: My new tattoo/piercing expresses my individuality.
What parents hear: My highest career ambition is to be assistant manager at Hot Topic.
What they say: We’re moving in together.
What parents hear: He’s getting the milk without buying the cow.
What they say: This is my fiancée (no ring or date).
What parents hear: Deep down I retained enough of that puritanical stuff you drilled into me to be embarrassed about shacking up, resent being made to feel that way, and don’t want to deal with any crap from judgmental old people.
What they say: I’m taking a few classes.
What parents hear: I want to get you off my back and avoid working full-time as long as possible.
What they say: We’re getting married on the beach in (fill in exotic destination here.)
What parents hear: We’re not planning on having any guests who are poor, old or have young children.
What they say: My wedding day is my once-in-a-lifetime, special day.
What parents hear: You’ll have to push back retirement 5 years to pay for this extravaganza.
What they say: I want to take a year off to see the world.
What parents hear: See translation for “I’m taking a few classes.”
What they say: You can’t tell me what to do – I’m an adult!
What parents hear: I’ll be paying for my own car insurance and cell phone, starting immediately.
What they say: Your religion isn’t relevant to my life. No offense.
What parents hear: After I ripped your heart out of your chest and stomped on it, I had it gift-wrapped in this pretty paper.
Of course children get their special hearing aid the same day as their parents. The Kiddo Hearing Aid* has its uses, but the translator feature rarely works right.
Time after time a parent will give her child sound advice motivated solely by love and a desire to help. Nine times out of ten, however, the child does not properly hear these pearls of wisdom based on vastly superior life experience. No, the child hears the endless, critical nagging of someone so out-of-touch they must have lost their last clue when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
The problem is obvious; the Kiddo Hearing Aid must be garbling the message.
Most people find the translator feature on the Kiddo Hearing Aid doesn’t really work properly until the child gets to be 40 years old. At that point their parents’ true genius finally comes through, loud and clear.
At least, that’s what I heard.
*Parental Hearing Aid and Kiddo Hearing Aid are two more fine offerings of Peg-Co, a division of Peg-O-Leg Industries. Be sure to check out our catalog for more life-enhancing products. (Peg-Co makes no claims about the suitability, safety or efficacy of any of their products. As we at Peg-Co always say: “A fool and his money are soon parted”….or…”Buyer Beware”.)