Jaye Wells


This weekend, Spawn got in trouble. That’s certainly not news, since his real name is Spawn Time-out Wells.

This was one of those times when I wanted to laugh, but knew doing so would only encourage the behavior.

See, a couple of months ago Spawn said the following phrase: “Frack it up!” He just said it one day. At that time I laughed because it was close to a curse without being one, and frankly it was such a descriptive yet ambiguous saying that it seemed a good phrase to add to my own daily conversations. As in, “Frack it up, people!” or “Ah, frack it up.”

Now, some of you may recognize the word “frack.” It’s used a a replacement for the f-bomb on a popular science fiction series called Battlestar Gallactica. Since Spawn has never seen the show, I knew he wasn’t using “frack” in that context.

So for a couple of months, various members of the Wells household could be heard exclaiming “frack it up” in a multitude of contexts.

Until Saturday.

I asked Spawn to do something. Spawn said, “Frack it up.” Mr. Jaye and I looked at each other and then at Spawn. “Wait a second,” I said. “What does ‘frack it up’ mean?” For some reason, it had never occurred to us to ask this question before.

“Nevermind,” he said and tried to walk away. Eventually, with much cajoling, we got him to admit that when he said “frack it up,” what he was really meant was “Shut up, parents.”

My four year old has been telling me to shut up for two months and has gotten away with it. Keep in mind, growing up I was not allowed to say the words “shut up” to anyone. It was the ultimate insult. Therefore, Spawn has been taught this same lesson. So, his devious four-year-old mind came up with the perfect solution. He’d come up with a way to say them without actually saying them.

I have to admit part of me is a little proud. I mean, the kid is a diabolical genius, just like his old mom. But I can’t have the kid telling me to shut up. I guess what I’m most disappointed about is that I can not now use the phrase again. I’ll admit that I did try to convince Spawn to come up with another meaning that wasn’t against the rules. He wasn’t having it. So now I find myself in a position to give this phrase my own meaning, as long as I do not use it within ear shot of Spawn. Yes, basically, I’m plagiarizing my own son. Stop judging me.

What made up words or phrases do you use?

14 Thoughts on “Semantics

  1. Bernita on April 16, 2007 at 3:56 am said:

    Most are plagerized from les enfants and have become a kind of family code/secret language.
    They are not all polite.
    Tulips are “tulpins” – that’s an innocent one.
    Don’t think I should share the others.You might acquire some very strange ideas about our household.
    Entirely incorrect, I assure you.

  2. Heather Harper on April 16, 2007 at 4:51 am said:


    Bobbatia. Translation: Momma Mia.

    But mostly my kids like to say butt.

  3. Sean Ferrell on April 16, 2007 at 6:24 am said:

    I have to admit, I think I’d like to buy your kid a drink. Something in the grape juice or Kool Aid family. That’s quite the devious little man you’re living with.

  4. Jaye Wells on April 16, 2007 at 6:42 am said:

    Bernita, I would never judge.

    Heather, “butt” is popular around here too. The most popular phrase is “stinker butt.”

    Sean, I feel about Spawn the way Dr. Evil feels about Mini Me–proud yet a little scared.

  5. Kids are the best to have around when in need of new phrases.

    We call our kids “Little Butter Nut” when we are frustrated with them. This came from starting the phrase, “you Little Butt…er Nut.” I don’t want my kids knowing I’m calling them Butts.

    Affectionately we call them “Little Nugs,” because we took to calling them love nuggets at one time. My little girl also like to call herself my “Love Cookie.”

  6. jason evans on April 16, 2007 at 8:35 am said:

    I have to admit part of me is a little proud. I mean, the kid is a diabolical genius.

    OMG, I can so relate! My younger daughter is Dr. Evil, Damien, and Spongebob rolled into one. (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. Forget Spongebob.) I’ve had those cringe/proud moments. 🙂 The truth is, I understand how she thinks. She is very much like me as a child without the shyness to moderate it.

  7. Jaye Wells on April 16, 2007 at 8:40 am said:

    Jason, is this the one we discussed? If so, I’m telling you, a witch!

  8. Jaye Wells on April 16, 2007 at 9:41 am said:

    Joni, sorry I missed you when I commented on Jason. I love those little nicknames. Spawn has gotten t the age though where he questions them. “Mama, I’m not a sugar booger!”

  9. jason evans on April 16, 2007 at 10:30 am said:

    Amazingly, no. Maybe it’s a case of Glinda vs. Elphaba. The “witch” is the good witch of the north. Well, most of the time….

  10. Sean Ferrell on April 16, 2007 at 11:55 am said:

    Sugar Booger?

  11. Jaye Wells on April 16, 2007 at 11:58 am said:

    Sean, it’s a Southern thing. Although, I really just use it because it’s so disgusting it’s funny.

  12. kathie on April 16, 2007 at 7:05 pm said:

    Oh Jaye, that’s so freaking hilarious, I can’t stand it. Just what I needed on a day so sad with this shooting stuff. Sorry to bring it to your blog, but this really lightened me up. Thanks and sorry you’re now charged with getting your kid to shut up with the shut up stuff. Great phrase. Def. genius material.

  13. Scott on April 17, 2007 at 5:02 am said:

    Well, I used to say to call my friends Mooley, thinking it meant something innocuous like “Fool.” Then I found out it is the Italian equivalent of the American “N” word years later. I was hollering that at work quite liberally, full of mock Italian inflection that I had totally perfected.

    Talk about embarrassing.

  14. Sonya on April 17, 2007 at 6:46 am said:

    Oh, that’s too precious! (I mean, bad Spawn! LOL) This is one of those times where it would be reeeeal tough for me to keep a straight face. I’ve encountered similar situations with my nephews… had to leave the room while my sister reprimanded them, because otherwise I’d laugh and ruin everything!

    We steal made-up words from movies and use them all the time. My son’s come up with some awesome ones on his own, too, but I’m drawing a total blank here!

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