Folk Metaphor – Yiddish

“Kinder daffan hubben”

English translation- “For this abuse, I needed to have children”

My informant first heard this phrase at the age of twelve (circa 1967) when she would make fun of her mother in a playful way.  When a young teenager starts to make fun of his parents, with such words as “mom, you are getting old” or “dad, how’s that receding hairline,” the parent gives the response “kinder daffan hubben.”

This phrase is really meant to inform the child to lay off a little because without the parents, their wouldn’t be any you.  Sheryl said the phrase is very funny and generational.  When parents get “dissed” by their children, it is a funny expression.  You are supposed to take in the spirit that it is intended to be delivered.

The reason why this is so important in Sheryl’s world today is because she has two sons who love to give her a hard time and joke around with her.  Both of her sons act like smart asses with her and in this generation, the mother needs to just take the jokes and not make a big deal out of it.

Sheryl commented on the Yiddish language in general by stating that the funny thing about Yiddish is it is a language so full of expression that when you translate it, it loses so much of its expression.

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Sheryl was spoken to in Yiddish during her childhood years and understood the language very well.  She knew it so well that she could talk the language fluently to anyone who understood her.  Now, as an adult, she does not speak the language anymore, so she has lost most of it.  But, with her two kids out of the house, she is eager to take a class of Yiddish, in hopes of being able to speak the Yiddish language again.

I think this phrase is one of the only Yiddish phrases that I have heard that actually pertains to my generation.  In my generation, parents are made fun of so often, that it makes sense for the parents to question “if this was the reason why I had kids.”  In conclusion, this is a Yiddish phrase that is very generational and pertains to everyone, including non-Jews.