Skip to main content

Baby Language

For some reason baby equipment is an area in which American English differs markedly from British English. As well as learning how to care for a baby, we had to learn a whole new vocabulary! Fortunately we are now fluently bilingual, and I have compiled a handy US-UK baby dictionary for you.
Diaper n. Nappy

Mom says if you can read this change my diaper.
The first time you change one of these you will be all thumbs and stick the little adhesive tabs to yourself, the baby and probably the changing mat before you get them where they ought to go. A few years later you will be able to lasso a running toddler and change them before they even know what's happened (yes, I have seen it done). You will also get through more diapers than you ever thought possible, creating scary amounts of expense and waste. Hence we are now mostly using:
Cloth diaper n. Reusable nappy

Cool baby.
No longer those terry squares, the main drawback is that there are now so many types it can be quite overwhelming to work out what you need. But they come in all sorts of cute colours and patterns, so your baby gets to look cool while doing his bit for the environment. I have to admit the Texas sun makes cloth diapering a lot easier; they dry in half an hour and bleach out beautifully. And while we're on the subject:
Poop n., v. Poo

Nice clean baby who will shortly make a mess.
This is what your baby produces approximately five minutes after you last changed him. If you just gave him a bath, too, it will get up his back and down his legs and you will wonder why you even bothered. At first babies poo all the time; later they settle down to doing it only at the most inconvenient times. See also:
Pee n., v. Wee

Practising his innocent look.
In the case of a male baby, a pretty little fountain that goes all over his clothes just as you were congratulating yourself on getting away with not completely changing him this time. Sometimes he will score a direct hit on his face. This may disgust you but doesn't bother him in the slightest. Having got the revolting stuff out of the way, we can move on:
Stroller n. Buggy, pushchair
Taking Toby for a walk.
A wheeled device where you try to hang as many things on the handlebars as possible without tipping it backwards and catapulting your baby across the street. They come in many shapes and sizes ranging from "barely-fits-in-the-boot/trunk" to "tank". Quite useful for putting your baby to sleep. Other sleep aids include a:
Pacifier, passie, binky n. Dummy
Pacified baby.
A kind of plug to put in your baby to stop noise coming out. I have to say that "pacifying" your baby sounds a whole lot better than "dummying" him. Whatever you call it, sometimes it works and sometimes it is ejected with great force. It's wise to keep one or two in a corner of the:
Crib n. Cot
Who needs a crib?
A railed bed which at first makes your baby look like a pea in a shoebox and leaves you wondering whether a cardboard box might, in fact, be a more suitable alternative. Also possesses the quality of not fitting through any door in your house, so it is very important to decide which room you want it in BEFORE putting it together. The instructions do not tell you this. A similar consideration applies to the:
Playard, Pack'n'Play™ n. Playpen
No playard pictures so you get a cute one of Toby and Graham in bed instead.
Versatile piece of furniture which can be used as bed, changing table or cage. Trying to assemble one in a sleep-deprived state, however, is not recommended. Seek professional help.
Onesies™ n. Babygro, bodysuit
Sort of a babygro, anyway.
Wikipedia informs me that Gerber, who owns the trademark on Onesies, objects to the singular. This is probably wise since any baby needs lots of these. A T-shirt will instantly end up around the armpits of your baby, so those clever little snappy bits at the bottom are a wonderful idea. However, a T-shirt stands less chance of getting wet in a nappy leakage, thus reducing the number of clothes you have to change.
Burp cloth n. Muslin, muzzie
Funnily enough, we don't take many photos when he's spitting up.
A piece of cloth that, even if you own a dozen, will never be handy at the precise moment your baby spits up down his/your clean clothes. They wander off around the house and must be hunted down at regular intervals and corralled in the washing machine. For some reason the average British muslin is about twice the size of my American burp cloths. Whether this means British babies are more sicky I wouldn't like to say.
So there you go. Your complete illustrated guide to being a bilingual baby.

Comments

Sooo cute! I loved this post - especially seeing all the pics of the y'all. Miss you all and give hugs and kisses to Toby from his Aunt Kristal. :)
Sally said…
I've been in NZ nearly 7 years and I'm still earning the lingo - as are my friends!

Lovely pictures.
Gail Cheesman said…
Fabulous Martha, very funny! And such gorgeous pics of Toby, it's great to see him looking so strong :) But, I noticed you put in "spitting up" without a translation there, you must be getting more naturalised than you thought ;) (I do know what it means though!!)
Kate said…
Thanks for writing such a touchy article! Your experience is priceless. To be honest, I can't stop watching these sweet photos :) Pack'n'play was also our favorite! Can't imagine our life as parents without it. It's great for when you need to do something but, you won't be able to keep an eye on your baby. He/she can simply lie, have a nap, play or sit while you are doing your household work around him/her. This web-site http://www.best-pack-n-play.com/ helped me a lot in choosing the best model for my apartment. Hope you'll find it useful :)

Popular posts from this blog

our new apartment

Moving was a slightly surreal experience given that our new place looks almost exactly the same as the old one, except for being a different layout. That's what you get for living in a throw-'em-up-and-pack-'em-in apartment complex I guess - albeit a very nice one. So, entering apartment 433: To your right is the master bedroom: with en-suite bathroom: and looking back, from your left, that's a walk-in closet, door to the hallway and door to the bathroom: Following the layout so far? OK, go back to the hallway and put your back to the front door again, and this time walk straight forwards into the sitting room: As you can see, ahead of you is the door to the balcony: for which I have grand plans for a herb garden and other plants. Leading off the living room is the dining area: and if you walk through that and round to your right you reach the kitchen: Go back through the living room again: and if you turn right (

Speedy Steamed Pudding

One of the highlights of being in catered halls for a couple of years at university was the sponge puddings. Great big sheets of chocolate or vanilla sponge, carved into hefty blocks and doused with thick custard. The main courses were edible at best, but those puddings would fill you up for a week. Good solid puddings, whether baked, steamed or boiled, have been a mainstay of English cooking for centuries. Something about the cold, damp, dark winters inspired British cooks to endless variations on suet, jam, currants, custard and other comforting ingredients. Once I left the nurturing environs of my parents' house and university halls, pudding stopped being an everyday affair and became a more haphazard, if-I-feel-like-making-any event. And steamed puddings especially, with their two hours over simmering water, don't really lend themselves to spur of the moment dessert-making. However, technology has moved on since those first days of puddings. I'd been vaguely