It’s tough being a parent in the 21st century. Not because there aren’t any places to go for advice on important issues – just the opposite, in fact. There must be hundreds of childrearing books out there, a couple dozen parenting magazines, and umpteen web sites.
Naturally, they all give conflicting advice; worse, some of them give advice without explaining it. For example, one source says it’s bad to give your child raw carrots under the age of three, with no reason given. You’re left to wonder if A) It’s because they could be a choking hazard, and if so, why only carrots and not, say, raw broccoli? B) Whether mature carrots — those three years or older — would be acceptable or C) Carrots are verboten simply because too many parents of the previous generation were driven mad by their youngster posing with a carrot all day and repeatedly saying “Ehhhhhhh, what’s up doc?”
Anyway, after spending many hours navigating the parenting media (okay so really it was only five minutes; I’m a parent and that’s all I had to spare) I’ve come up with a list of terms that might help you find your way too. Good luck!
DVD: For the modern parent with kids to entertain, a unit of time. Example: “Hi Joan, I’d love to talk but I’ve only got half a DVD left to finish the laundry.”
Debris field: The area around your child that contains half chewed biscuits, dumped bottles, water, toys, socks, juice etc. The size of the debris field grows exponentially every month, until it eventually takes in your entire house and backyard. And possibly the neighbour yards as well.
Bib: Theoretically, something your child wears to protect clothing. Realistically, it’s a spot to print cute phrases like “Daddy’s Number One Fan.” Given that children smear food into their hair, their ears, along the table, and on you, the small area of protection afforded by the bib is laughable, really.
Toys: Expensive items that parents are encouraged to buy in great quantities to educate their children. Children do learn from toys; indeed, when a parent steps on one, they learn all sorts of new words.
Soother: Also known as a dummy or a pacifier, it is designed to be something that babies suck on for comfort. Unfortunately this design also makes for a sleek, aerodynamic profile which allows even the youngest arm to throw it up to 10 feet away. The amount of dirt that clings to it is inversely proportional to the proximity of a sink for washing it.
Sleeper: A type of clothing that very young children are supposed to sleep in. Children don’t actually sleep, however, until they’re old enough to fit into regular pajamas.
Crawl: A form of motion that your baby will try to do hundreds of times without success. Anxious parents who want to encourage their baby’s development should simply look away for five seconds. Baby will suddenly be able to crawl at speeds approaching 50 kph.
Emergency Trip: At least once per year, all children are required to look ill enough to require an emergency trip to the doctor or hospital, at which time they miraculously recover about two minutes before being seen by medical staff. This is nature’s way of stimulating the onset of grey hair. See also: 2 a.m., weekends.
First word: A child’s first word will not be what you’ve tried to get him/her to say for a week. It will be something that you didn’t realize you were saying like: frackingcomputer! or stupididiotneighbour!
Kitchen sink: The one item you will not have to pack to take your young children across the street.
Childproof: A mythical state of being. To date, nothing has been conclusively proven to be childproof. However, many such items that claim to be are very adult proof.
Pthththtb: The rude raspberry noise that is one of the first sounds a baby learns how to make. This says more about the human condition than I ever could.