Thursday, March 8, 2012

Create a Secret Code

I remember in elementary school, my friends and I often formed our own "clubs."  Babysitters' club, jump rope club, dance club, singers' club, pig latin club, and yes, even a "witch club" (which wasn't a "mean girls" kind of thing--we actually pretended we had magical powers.  What can I say?  It was fourth grade.)  And one of the best things I remember about being in these little clubs was having a secret handshake or secret code words that only we understood.  It took our friendship up a notch to share these little "inside jokes." 

For instance, one of the clubs I had with a few girlfriends that rode my bus, was a pig latin club.  We would speak only pig latin during our meetings on the bus, and whenever we saw one another in the hallway, lunchroom, or library at our elementary school, we would have to secretly touch our noses (to reference the pig nose idea) without anyone else noticing.  It was a silly thing, but it was great fun to make that connection with one another as our classes' lines passed one another silently in the hallway. 

I was thinking about those little things today while I was home yet again with my sick kiddo, because I had recently read this neat blog post.  And it inspired me to create this sort of "inside joke" thing with Flannery more often. 

So, because she was sick and coughing a lot, I decided that we should come up with codes or signals for what she wanted when she wasn't feeling like talking.  Together, we decided that if she touched her throat, that meant she wanted a cough drop, and if she put her whole hand over her throat, that meant she wanted a drink.  She got a big kick out of those little signals, and it was a sweet little way to throw in something novel during a very boring day spent at home feeling yucky. 

I also remember that one time when Flanna was 2 or so, and her cousin was 5, we had bananas as a snack on vacation, and I decided that every time they wanted more bananas for snack, they could just make a monkey noise (you know, "ooh-ooh-ooh"), and I'd know what they wanted.  They ate SO many bananas that week!  And it was really a sweet way to promote a lighthearted connection for us. 

It also calls to mind the many notes I used to write back and forth with my best friends in middle and high school.  They were chock full of inside jokes and codes.  "The boy," "Martha, Edna, Mildred, Agnes," "a t-shirt," "the chosen ones," "bridge club," -- these were little phrases that only a few of us understood, and I think it brought us closer together to share them. 

Anyway, I think I'm going to keep working on these little "inside jokes/secret codes" for my own little family.  Maybe something like -- every time I squeeze your hand, that means I'm proud of you.  Or, every time I wink at you, that means I love you.  Or, whenever you need a hug, you can just say "My shoulders are cold," or something like that. Can't you just picture your child grown up as a teenager not wanting to say they need a hug, but being willing to say, "My shoulders are cold."?  Maybe I'm dreaming, but I think it could be sweet. 



What about you?  Do you think secret codes or inside jokes are silly/cheesy, or kind of fun?  

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