I cracked another part of the teen-speak code! Parents, pay close attention, because this phrase never means what you think it does.
The phrase is “Go to bed.”
In teen-speak, I’m certain this phrase really means “Go to the fridge and get something to eat”. Try it, parents. After you’ve all finished watching a movie, cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, or started your nightly wind-down routine, go to the kitchen and tell your teenagers to go to bed. They’ll immediately go to the fridge to empty out what they can.
Now, this works for both teenage girls and teenage boys, but the latter group is far more dangerous when this phrase is spoken, and the consequences can be dangerous to your family’s food budget.
Once this phrase is spoken and the fridge is opened, the conversation will go something like this (with the translation of what each phrase really means):
Me: “Close the fridge and go to bed.” Please eat whatever you want because I’m just the dad here.
Son: “But I’m hungry!” I’m hungry.
Me: “You can’t be hungry, you just ate a bag of chips and everything on the top shelf of the refrigerator!” You ate an entire bag of chips and whatever was on the top shelf of the refrigerator?
Son: “How come you get to eat right now?” I’m hungry.
Me: “Because I haven’t eaten all day.” Except for the dinner I ate when I got home, the snacks I had before the movie, the snacks I had after the movie and the bag of chips I had- wait… HE ate my bag of chips!
Son: “Can I just have some of your eggs?” I’m hungry.
Me: “No! These are for me!” I’m hungry.
Son: “But you can’t eat that many by yourself (pointing to the uncooked dozen on the counter). Can I have just a little?” That’s never going to work. I’m hungry.
Me: “I can TOO eat this many eggs. Nobody can eat more than me!” Please don’t make me prove it.
Son: “I can eat twice as much as you!” Please let me prove it.
Me: “Oh, really? We’ll find out who’s the bigger eater.” What have I done? Our food budget won’t allow for this. Will it? I think I just lost my appetite…
Son: “You’re on! I’ll show you who’s boss!” I GET FOOD NOW!
Me: “Okay. Tomorrow morning. Pancake-eating contest. Mano a mano. We’ll find out who the eating champion is!” He’s going to clobber me. He’s a teenager.
Son: “Tomorrow morning?” I DON’T GET FOOD NOW?
Me: “Yep. 7 am.” Our food budget is so gone.
Because I told parents what would happen if you spoke the phrase above, I’ll tell you how to get out of the consequences of the conversation that will inevitably have followed…
Fast forward seven hours. I wake up to a quiet house. None of the kids are awake yet. I head towards the boys’ room to wake up my competition and then I get it – a brilliant plan to win the contest and save the food budget! The plan goes something like this:
- Heat up a very small skillet.
- Mix up enough pancake batter for a single (tiny) pancake.
- Cook the pancake.
- Eat the pancake.
- Wait until your son wakes up.
- Inform him that he came in second place and that YOU ARE THE CHAMPION!
Be forewarned that this plan will get you about one hour of trash-talking from him, claims that he could’ve beat you, and complaints that it wasn’t fair and doesn’t count. This is where you need to stand strong, dads! You ate the most pancakes. If he insists on a rematch, use a sports analogy (something like mentioning if only one team shows up to the super bowl, they win. The rematch doesn’t come for another year).
Trust me, the growling and moaning from your teenage son will be worth all the effort. The ease of cleanup and the preservation of your food budget are the frosting on the cake…or is it the syrup on the pancake?