Friday, April 06, 2007

What a Difference

Something reminded me today of the word “piranha” and how I always used to get that mixed up with the word “pariah”. Once the distinction became clear to me, it opened up a new world of communication possibilities; that is, I could use each word correctly. (“Piranhas are really pariahs” I could say now, while not scientifically, um, accurate, at least demonstrating some knowledge that the two words are not clones.) I have always tried to mentally track other words that I used to think were one (or at least, could be used interchangeably). For example, ambivalent and ambiguous; class and caste; historic and historical; epidural (yum) and episiotomy (yuck).

There is also a list of people who have caused me similar confusion—forgive me sisters—Gertrude Stein and Gloria Steinem had me confused for years. More recently, of course, there’s been Verve and Verve Pipe (not the same band!) and Nelly and Nelly Furtado. Really, the list could go on and on.

So this led me to thinking about how much my vocabulary has grown in general since becoming a mother. It is natural to learn a new lingo when embarking on any new career, and it’s certainly true of this gig. The words that only the insiders know, the words the outsiders don’t even pretend to understand.

In short, here are some of my favourite new words, all courtesy of mommyhood:
  • Bumbo
  • fenugreek
  • exersaucer
  • gymini
  • onesie!
  • playdate
  • Mum Mum
  • minigo, my favourite

Consider this an open post; not complete. So many more words to learn as my preschooler starts t-ball, enters JK, then SK. So many more chances to think I’ve got it straight, when I don’t.

Post Script
It’s funny how these are just plain out of date:

  • pablum
  • play pen

isn’t it?
And this one remains a pronunciational controversy: Robeez
.

6 comments:

bubandpie said...

There's a controversy about the pronunciation of Robeez? I always pronounced it like "Robbies."

Did you ever do the kid-related find-a-word baby-shower game? It's a fun one. There are clues like "liquid gold" and then you have to look for "colostrum."

My personal favourite: prostaglandins. Particularly as used recently by 9-months-pregnant Veronica Mitchell: "My husband thinks I'm just using him for his prostaglandins."

cinnamon gurl said...

I love this post! piranha and pariah... I had the SAME confusion!

Becky said...

Wow! I have 2 kids, the oldest now being 6 and I don't know half of those Mommy words! I know what an exersaucer is and of course onsie, playdate & Mum Mum (although my children call me Mommy... unless I'm totally mistaken and off track here, then maybe I don't know what Mum Mum is).

I have no idea what a bumbo, fenugreek, gymini or minigo is! LOL!

And instead of "play pen", these days it's all about the "pack & play". Although, I've called mine "play pen" plenty of times... or my other favorite, "baby jail".

Luisa Perkins said...

I recently had an embarrassing Scattergories incident where I mixed up "Pol Pot" and "Phnom Pen." Thirty seconds later I was mentally kicking myself, Napoleon Dynamite-style, muttering, "Idiot!"

Mommy-Like Days said...

becky--maybe these are more Canadianisms than anything else. Add that to the fact there are a lot of proper nouns which I failed to captitalize (Minigo=yogurt; Gymini=a playmat with hanging toy; Bumbo=child seat), and there you go.

Becky said...

Ahaaaa! Around this part of the world, child seats are just carseats... or maybe you were referring to bouncy seats... yogurt is just yogurt and I never had a gymini, so I wouldn't know what to call it. I think I've just heard them referred to as "mini gyms".

There's so much stuff out there for babies these days, it's a wonder we manage to buy diapers and put them on the correct end!

PS... Thanks for the comment on my blog! :o)