mudge /muj/ (n) a persistent feeling of weariness, sloppiness or general discontent. (v) to deposit drool, usually from the jowls, onto someone or something. The dog drank from his water bowl, then mudged my pants.
mudgy /mujee/ (adj) (mudgier, mudgiest), weary or foul-tempered, sulky, sludgy disposition
I’m not a night person. In fact, I savor bedtime to an unnatural degree. After six at night, I’m checking the clock and assessing who is home, weighing whether or not it’d be acceptable to change into pajamas. If I lived alone, I’d be in pjs right after Judge Judy, but before pouring my first glass of wine.
These days though, in order to stay connected with my mostly nocturnal sixteen-year-old, I’m choosing to stay awake well past midnight on a regular basis. My daughter and I watch tv while she works on homework and I edit text well into the night. We stream good tv, bad tv and movies. Sometimes we don’t speak for chunks of time, sitting side by side in quiet with work in our laps, the television droning in the background. Other times, we set aside our work and watch, heads together, laughing in all the same places. And each and every night, I count my blessings that she lets me share space with her, tolerates my company and allows us to connect.
But, the thing is, I’m an early riser. I rise at 5:30am to enjoy a few productive and contemplative hours before the whole house wakes, demanding my care and keeping. So that’s partly why I’m yawning by seven.
But, time with my daughter is more important than sleep. And as happy as I am inside to share some time with her, on the outside I’m droopy, often frowning and quiet; or what Ellie calls being mudgy. “Mom. You seem mudgy. Are you sure you shouldn’t go to bed?” she’ll ask. This, from the gal that brought the words finkie and yarden to our family:
finkie: (n), the smallest finger, often called the pinkie
yarden: (n), a lush and unpretentious garden that provides a perfect playground for kids
Mudgy, mudge, mudged. It’s become a phrase the entire family has embraced. And, if someone’s accused of being mudgy, or is asked why they are feeling mudgy, there’s no tension or defensiveness. The use of this silly term defuses all that like magic.
Even the puppy, Cooper, has gotten in on the action. After taking a long drink from his water bowl, he’ll rush over to greet someone leaving a slime trail across the floor and our clothing. He mudges stuff. His nickname (well, one of many) is Mr. Mudgy.
A silly term, yes. But, it perfectly describes something for which the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has no apt term. So, in the days to come when you’re hit with a situation that leaves you gritting your teeth or shaking your head, remember this silly term. And just maybe, when you see it as mudge, you’ll find your smile a little quicker than normal.