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

Hell is still hot?

  Sometimes it's good when people say things we disagree with. Not always; it can be irritating, frustrating, or wounding. But sometimes it arouses our curiosity, causes us to examine our assumptions, and sets us off on a trail of new discoveries. So it was when somebody posted this image on Facebook.   It says, in emphatic block capitals: We need preachers who preach that hell is still hot, that heaven is still real, that sin is still wrong, that the Bible is God's word, and that Jesus is the only way of salvation. After my initial reaction of, "We certainly do not! " the curiosity kicked in. What was it about this particular formulation of the Christian faith that I didn't like? If I wouldn't preach that, what would I preach? Given that hell is not a major topic of the Bible, how on earth did we get Christians who think it merits headline billing in the gospel? What's wrong with it? Picking something apart is always the easy bit. I partly object to what

National Forest Way: Final Thoughts

As you may have gathered from my blog posts, I've really enjoyed walking the National Forest Way. I found myself eagerly anticipating each walk, and happily inking the route on the map when I'd done it. The National Forest Way is an ideal starter long-distance walk. There are no enormous mountains or exposed cliff edges. The route is never too far from a village, a car park, or a cafe. But there are some lovely views over sunny fields, some beautiful patches of woodland, and some industrial history along the way. I very rarely found it boring.   An advantage that I didn't appreciate when I started is that the Way forms a giant zigzag. This means it fits 75 miles of path into a relatively compact space, making it easy to reach all of it. From my home in south Derbyshire, every section was within a 40 minute drive. The distance between Beacon Hill and the National Memorial Arboretum is only about 25 miles. The countryside is lovely, and generally overlooked in favour of the P

Interior Castle: Spiritual Formation Book 11

"We cannot enter by any efforts of our own; His Majesty must put us right into the centre of our soul, and must enter there Himself."   St Teresa of Avila reluctantly began to write Interior Castle (or The Mansions ) in 1577, complaining that "this writing under obedience tires me and makes my head worse". She set herself to the task of explaining her vision of the soul being like "a castle made of a single diamond... in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions".  Her writing is engaging but dense; I found it difficult to read more than about ten pages at a time. She also has a habit of introducing terms like favours or intellectual visions and talking about them for a while, before finally defining what they mean several chapters later. This gets confusing. On the other hand, St Teresa is good at thinking of illustrations to explain what she means. She frequently exclaims that these visions are impossible to describe to any