11/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011


It's a name I know well: Eric Ruhalter. My husband attended Dickinson College over 20 years ago, and since then, Eric's remained a regular, witty and quirky fixture in our lives. He's that 'college friend' every spouse knows all too well -- the guy whose wild college antics are fondly recalled, and, I suspect, edited for spousal presentation.

I first met him 10 years ago, when my husband showed me Eric's latest quirky idea, the "Too Honest Resume," which Eric was circulating as part of his job hunt. On the front page he ticked off his accomplishments, such as, "Graduated from Dickinson with a 3.2 GPA"; while on the back side employers found his 'too-honest' translation, which read, "Somehow managed to attain a 3.2 GPA while drinking nearly every day of the week and joining a fraternity."

Just recently my husband handed me the latest and greatest from this old college friend: The KidDictionary, A Book of Words Parents Need but do not Have, Eric's hilarious new book available on Yes, that's right -- that 'college friend' has turned his wit to good use and became an author (by day he's a senior writer/producer of on-air promos for AMC, by night he's a clever wordsmith). In these pages, parents discover a dictionary-style handbook filled with witty expressions they can use to describe various situations involving their children's lives and behavior. And as a married father of three, Eric certainly has enough to work with.

Here are just a few gems:

WISHJACK (WISH-jak) v: To maliciously blow out the candles on another child's birthday cake.

KEGULATE (KEG-u-layt) v: To ponder the future cost of your child's college education while recollecting that mostly what you did in college was drink beer.

FULLISH (FUL-ish) adj: Too full to eat more carrots, yet fully prepared to consume an ice cream sundae.

NIGHTCAPPETITE (nite-CAPP-uh-tyte) n: The "sudden hunger" portion of a child's bedtime procrastination ritual.

And it's not just parents who think his way with words is on target. The 80 definitions in The KidDictionary give families, teachers, caregivers, tweens and teens the jargon to make new connections. Life's daily routines get a lot more interesting with the appropriate nomenclature. One of definitions already existed in our home: Snoot (SNEWT) v: To suck in rather than blow out when blowing your nose. Ruhalter's fervent fans email him constantly for new words to define a new experience. Since kids do and say the darndest things, be sure there's a second volume on the way.

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