AIRPLANE: What Mom impersonates to get a 1-yr.-old to eat strained beets.
ALIEN: What Mom would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child-sized creature cleaning up after itself.
APPLE: Nutritious lunchtime dessert which children will trade for cupcakes.
1. Dad, when he gets a cold.
2. Mom's youngest child, even if he's 42.
BATHROOM: A room used by the entire family, believed by all except Mom to be self-cleaning.
BECAUSE: Mom's reason for having kids do things which can't be explained logically.
BED & BREAKFAST: Two things the kids will never make for themselves.
CARPET: Expensive floor covering used to catch spills and clean mud off shoes.
CARPOOL: Complicated system of transportation where Mom always winds up going the furthest with the biggest bunch of kids who have had the most sugar.
1. Act of preparing food for consumption.
2. Mom's other name.
COUCH POTATO: What Mom finds on the sofa during Dallas Cowboy games.
DATE: Infrequent outings with Dad where Mom can enjoy worrying about the kids in a different setting.
DRINKING GLASS: Any carton or bottle left open in the fridge.
DUST: Insidious interloping particles of evil that turn a home into a battle zone.
DUST RAGS: See "DAD'S UNDERWEAR."
EAR: A place where kids store dirt.
EAT: What kids do between meals, but not at them.
EMPTY NEST: See "WISHFUL THINKING."
ENERGY: Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something.
"EXCUSE ME": One of Mom's favorite phrases, reportedly used in past times by children.
EYE: The highly susceptible optic nerve which, according to Mom, can be "put out" by anything from a suction-arrow to a carelessly handled butter knife.
FABLE: A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew.
FOOD: The response Mom usually gives in answer to the question "What's for dinner tonight?" See "SARCASM"
FROZEN: 1. A type of food. 2. How Hell will be when Mom lets her daughter date an older guy with a motorcycle.
GARBAGE: A collection of refuse items, the taking out of which Mom assigns to a different family member each week, then winds up doing herself.
GENIUSES: Amazingly, all of Mom's kids.
GUM: Adhesive for the hair.
HAMPER: A wicker container with a lid, usually surrounded by, but not containing, dirty clothing.
HANDI-WIPES: Pants, shirt-sleeves, drapes, etc.
HANDS: Body appendages which must be scrubbed raw with volcanic soap and sterilized in boiling water immediately prior to consumption of the evening meal.
HINDSIGHT: What Mom experiences from changing too many diapers.
HOMEMADE BREAD: An object of fiction like the Fountain of Youth and the Golden Fleece.
ICE: Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the darn things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty.
INSIDE: That place that will suddenly look attractive to kids once Mom has spent a minimum of half an hour getting them ready to go outside.
"I SAID SO": Reason enough, according to Mom
JACKPOT: When all the kids stay at friends' homes for the night.
JEANS: Which, according to kids, are appropriate for just about any occasion, including church and funerals.
"JEEEEEEEEZ!": Slang for "Gee Mom, isn't there anything else you can do to embarrass me in front of my friends?"
JOY RIDE: Going somewhere without the kids.
JUNK: Things belonging to Dad.
KETCHUP: The sea of tomato-based goop kids use to drown the dish that Mom spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right.
KISS: Mom medicine.
LAKE: Large body of water into which a kid will jump should his friends do so.
LEMONADE STAND: Complicated business venture where Mom buys powdered mix, sugar, lemons, and paper cups, and sets up a table, chairs, pitchers and ice for kids who sit there for three to six minutes and net a profit of 15 cents.
LIE: An "exaggeration" Mom uses to transform her child's papier-mache volcano science project into a Nobel Prize-winning experiment and a full-ride scholarship to Harvard.
LOSERS: See "Kids' Friends"
MAKEUP: Lipstick, eyeliner, blush,etc. which ironically make Mom look better while making her young daughter look "like a tramp."
MILK: A healthful beverage which kids will gladly drink once it's turned into junk food by the addition of sugar and cocoa.
"MOMMMMMMM!": The cry of a child on another floor who wants something.
1. What a kid loves to do with a plateful of food.
2. Main element of Mom's favorite movies.
NAILS: A hard covering on the end of the finger, which Mom can never have a full set of due to pitching for batting practice, opening stubborn modeling clay lids and removing heat ducts to retrieve army men and/or doll clothing.
OCEAN: What the bathroom floor looks like after bath night for kids, assorted pets, two or three full-sized towels and several dozen toy boats, cars and animals.
OPEN: The position of children's mouths when they eat in front of company.
OVERSTUFFED RECLINER: Mom's nickname for Dad.
PANIC: What a mother goes through when the wind-up swing stops.
PENITENTIARY: Where children who don't eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mom.
PETS: Small, furry creatures which follow kids home so Mom will have someone else to clean up after.
PIANO: A large, expensive musical instrument which, after thousands of dollars worth of lessons and constant harping by Mom, kids will refuse to play in front of company.
PURSE: A handbag in which Mom carries the checkbook and keys she can never find because they're buried under tissues, gum wrappers, a plastic container full of cereal, toys from a fast-food restaurant, a teddybear, a football, wallpaper samples, a grocery list, and several outdated coupons.
QUIET: A state of household serenity which occurs before the birth of the first child and occurs again after the last child has left for college.
RAINCOAT: Article of clothing Mom bought to keep a child dry and warm, rendered ineffective because it's in the bottom of a locker stuffed in a book bag or because the child refuses to wear "the geeky thing."
REFRIGERATOR: Combination art gallery and air conditioner for the kitchen.
ROOM MOTHER: A position of great honor and responsibility bestowed on a mom who inadvertently misses a PTA meeting.
SCHOOL PLAY: Sadistic ritual in which adults derive pleasure from watching offspring stumble through coarse reenactment of famous historic events.
SCREAMING: Home P.A. system.
SNOWSUITS: Warm, padded outer garments that, when completely zipped and snapped performs two important functions: Protecting children from the cold, and reminding them that they have to go to the bathroom.
SUNDAY BEST: Attractive, expensive children's clothing made of a fabric which attracts melted chocolate and grape juice.
TEACHER CONFERENCE: A meeting between Mom and that person who has yet to understand her child's "special needs."
TERRIBLE TWO'S: Having both kids at home all summer.
TRAMP: A woman with two kids and no stretch marks.
TROUBLE: Area of nonspecific space a child can always be sure to be in.
VITAMINS: Tiny facsimiles of cave people Mom forces you to swallow each morning as part of her sinister plot to have you grow up to be "Just like Daddy."
WALLS: Complete set of drawing paper for kids that comes with every room.
WASHING MACHINE: Household appliance used to clean blue jeans, permanent ink markers, loose change, homework, tissues, and wads of gum.
"WHEN YOUR FATHER GETS HOME": Standard measurement of time between crime and punishment.
XOXOXOXO: Mom salutation guaranteed to make the already embarrassing note in a kid's lunch box even more mortifying.
ZUCCHINI: Vegetable which can be baked, boiled, fried, or steamed before kids refuse to eat it.