Hindsight Parenting: Top Five Most Misused Words and Phrases by Preschoolers

Fluent in Preschool

You did it!!!  It may not have been smooth sailing at times, but at least the dingy didn’t capsize! You made it through the sleepless-nights-poopy-diapers-tantrum-throwing-potty-training years of infancy and toddler-dom.  Now, you have a preschooler, and he or she can speak! What does that mean? All of that incessant crying to get what they want—done!  After all, you are living with a pint-sized communicator–all right–a rudimentary communicator, but at least able to say what he or she wants and needs.  Now it’s going to be much easier, right?

Maybe…It really depends, because you see, those teeny humans, like any human learning a new language, may use a word or utterance in a way that it is not meant to be used.  And without a translation guide, parents are…well… back in that dingy without a paddle.  Luckily, not only have I unlocked the code to the top five most misused words and phrases by preschoolers, I have devised a parental action plan to take for each, and share them with you here:

“Nuthin” (as an answer to “What are you doing?”)

TRANSLATION: “I am doing something that I don’t want you to know about.  It is something you told me not to do a bazillion times, (like pour shampoo into the toilet) and therefore I do not under any circumstance want you to be interested one iota in the thing that I am doing that I am not supposed to be doing.

PARENTAL ACTION: Move as quickly as you can to child’s location to investigate what this “Nuthin” could really mean.  Caution:  Once the child is found, you may feel an urge to scream out of fear, yell in anger, or cry out of frustration.  Instead remain calm, escort or pick up the child, repeat and fill in the phrase that all parents around the world have uttered at some point in their long and arduous roles as “person-in-charge’; “How many times do I have to tell you…?”

“Urgggg wah eeeeeeeeeeeee”

TRANSLATION: “You just requested that I do something that I don’t want to do in any way shape or form.  Perhaps this whiny unintelligible garble will distract and annoy you enough so that you forget that you told me it’s dinner time, or the end of play or time to clean my room.  The more times you ask me the louder I will become and since it works quite often I will continue the aggravating noise until someone in charge does something to stop me.”

PARENTAL ACTION: Go get earbuds and blast your favorite music at full volume.  Give request repeatedly until child complies.  When all else fails say something brilliant like, “Do it now or you won’t eat for a week!”  Or the ol’ standby, “If you don’t do x,y, or z you are grounded for life!”



A. “I know your guilt threshold and therefore am quite aware that one way to get your attention away from the blasted dishes and back to me is to be inquisitive about the world around me. Intellectual growth, you simply can’t resist.”

B. “I can see that you are massively frantic because you overslept and have to get to work and so I thought I’d slow down the process by asking you to explain something that may seem trivial to you, but to me seems extremely urgent.”

C. “I don’t really like the direction you have just given me and so I have decided to tentatively assert myself by asking you why I must do something right away or in the exact manner that you tell me I must.  If truth be known, I have a very busy schedule and would like to put off said direction.”

PARENTAL ACTION:  If “A” occurs, Youtube is a fabulous resource.  Just find a video.  Click play and POOF you are back to the dishes in no time flat.  For “B” and “C” the solution is simple; just repeat that wise old adage, “Because. I. Said. So.”

“I don’t know.”  

TRANSLATION:  “Can’t you see I am not in the mood to talk.  I am right in the middle of my puzzle, right in the middle of my favorite cartoon, right in the middle of making dinner for my doll, right in the middle of racing my cars around the track.  Please stop asking me questions.  My mind is too occupied to think of an answer.”

PARENTAL ACTION:  Use body as a tool to make them answer.  Place it in front of the television (If you have one of those very large screens at least it will block some of the picture.  If the bottom half of your body looks like mine it will block the entire set.).  Get on all fours like a horse or dog using your body to shield the puzzle or race track so that the play can’t continue until you get an answer.  Sit on top of play kitchen so that the pretend cooking can’t take place (Be cautious: the asset of have a large bottom half when blocking the TV will NOT be an asset when sitting on a play kitchen.).

“I didn’t do anything!” (Upon hearing a loud crash or without prompt.)

TRANSLATION:  “It was me and I am in trouble.”

PARENTAL ACTION: Be sure to walk around the house muttering to yourself about how you can never have anything nice because of those blasted kids. Slam pots and pans in the kitchen to make your point.  Don’t forget to spit out words that are taboo when spoken aloud especially in public places. And when the inevitable happens and those words get repeated in a store, at grandma’s house, or say standing next to a priest, you’ll be prepared when your little cherub’s response to “What did you say?” is-“Nuthin! Urgggg wah eeeee! Why? I don’t know? I didn’t do anything!”


Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s MotherhoodEye on EducationFaces, and Appleseed.  Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around every first and third Tuesday of the month.

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