My Three Words

my 3 words

                For the end of 8th grade, Middle Daughter’s class was given an assignment called “My 3 Words.”  The kids made mini posters and they were each videotaped holding their posters with friends.  It was made into a slide show/movie for everyone to watch during the promotion ceremony on the last day of school.  My kid’s words were  “Nothing is Impossible,” which I loved, of course.  Other phrases were “Follow Your Dreams,” “Take the Stage,” “You Do You.”  Lots of inspirational phrases, some looking to the future, others bidding farewell to their middle school years. 

                The whole assignment made me think of Moms, actually.  Moms in general are the masters of the 3 word phrase.  It seems that years of experience makes this a habit, and then it just becomes second-nature.  

                The 3 word phrase lends itself perfectly to both terseness and emphasis.  It’s compact, yet packs a punch.  The understood subject is always “you.”  Moms can convey an entire lecture of meaning into a 3 word phrase with just the right amount of volume, emphasis, and body language.  A majority of the phrases begin with “don’t.”

Don’t do that.

Don’t touch that.

Don’t say that.

Don’t interrupt me.

Don’t eat that.

Don’t lick that.

                And not all of these phrases are confined to the toddler years.  Although the last phrase was once uttered involving a flip flop and a youngster, it was also uttered to a teenager: it involved a flexibility context while wearing tap shoes.

                One should never underestimate the power of the phrase said through gritted teeth with slightly bulging eyeballs.  The placement of “now” at the end of each phrase is deliberate and effective. 

Stop it, now.

Move it, now.

Be quiet, now.

Get down, now.

Come here, now.

                It doesn’t matter where you are, restaurant, ice cream shop, the beach, Great Aunt Louise’s house, school function, museum… the 3 word phrase is highly adaptable to context and location.

Get off that.

Get over here.

Close your mouth.

Put that down.

                And because of the wonderful advancements in technology, no one is without their phones or game devices for very long.  There is constant repetition of more 3 word phrases.

Put that down. (again!)

Turn that off.

Look at me.

Listen to me.

You’re not listening.

                I’ll bet that every mom knows that stomach-drop feeling when you’re not in the same room with your kids and there’s a strange noise.  Hence, the 3 word question-phrase.

What was that?!

What’s that noise?!

What’d you do?

Who is crying?

Did you… REALLY?!

                And of course, moms have perfected the art of the 3 word phrase, unfinished.  You really can say a lot with nothing at all.

What did you…

Did you just…

I can’t believe…

I mean,  seriously…?!

                There’s the infamous stop-you-in-your-tracks category of 3 word phrases too.

You’d better not.

Not even close.

That’s not okay.

That’s quite enough.

Don’t even start. (my personal favorite)

                Even as I’m writing this I find myself yelling more 3 word phrases.  Brother and sister “fight” over the dog.  Brother touches sister while she’s sunbathing.  Sister flails arms back at brother. Brother locks sister out of the house.

Don’t touch her/him.

Open this door.

That is enough!

                Indeed.  You’d think it would be!



3 thoughts on “My Three Words

  1. Lol – this had me chuckling and thinking of all the three-word phrases that circulate around our house. Great piece, Gretchen…and I do love that end of the year project for the kids ~ “nothing is impossible” is one of my favorites.


  2. Pingback: My Three Words, Teen Edition | Gretchen L. Mulroy

  3. Pingback: The Second Goodbye | Gretchen L. Mulroy

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