When I was a new mother, I felt really alone. Not always. But often. Because trying to navigate the new, new world that I had entered -- the world of parenting -- felt difficult and so damn exhausting.
But here's the thing: it wasn't a new, new world at all. Parenting had been around for a long time. It even predated the iPad.
Of course, I didn't have this epiphany right away. It took me until after having my second child to make this incredibly astute observation. But, once I did, I started noticing similarities between things I experienced as a first-time and as a second-time mother. I started noticing more and more similarities between things my first son and second son did. I started to write them down. And, when there wasn't a word to describe them, I started to make them up.
Eventually, I started blogging about the parenting words I made up and called my blog, Mammalingo. My readers made up words too. Fantastic ones. I added those to the blog as well and soon we had a little dictionary. A while back, I shared some Mammalingo words on the Huffington Post. And, today, I'm doing it again:
BABYTAINMENT [Fr. baby + entertainment]: Things a baby is made to endure strictly for the enjoyment of her parents. It's the 2-month-old stuck inside of a giant pumpkin costume on Halloween. It's the newborn wearing a "Got Milk?" bib. And it's that poor little bald 1-year-old who is, miraculously, wearing a barrette upon her hairless head.
BATHROOM STALL [Fr. bathroom + to stall inside] Intentionally taking just a little bit longer than required to get the business at hand done -- maybe with a good magazine, book or (shhhhhhh) even your laptop -- to avoid the mayhem that is outside that bathroom door. Submitted by Jill Kravetz of Brookline, Mass.
IDENTITTY [Fr. identity + slang for a women's breast]: Awareness a new, nursing mother has that she has temporarily turned into a combination all-you-can-eat buffet and human pacifier.
INDEPENDASTROPHE [Fr. independent + catastrophe]: The resulting disarray, chaos or carnage left in the wake of a toddler trying to do something "all by myself," such as pouring juice, plunging toilets and cutting hair. Submitted by Joanie Shook of Scio, Ore.
INFANTSTIGATION [Fr. infant + investigation]: Search for a lost item that has, most likely, been misplaced by an infant. Missing cell phones, keys and remote controls make up 99.9 percent of all infanstigations. The first step in the search is to interrogate the suspect -- which, given his age, makes this step the most difficult.
LOOTUNE [Fr. loo or bathroom + tune]: Song a young child sings while going to the bathroom. It's probably a combination of the acoustics as well as boredom, but there is no place a child would rather belt out a tune than a toilet seat. A little kid looks adorable when singing while perched upon the potty. But an adult? Not so much.
MAMISERY [Fr. mama + misery]: Seemingly endless wait for one's infant to say "Mama" if she has already spoken her first words -- and your name wasn't one of them.
POOPROMA [Fr. excrement + aroma]: Awful stench that emanates from a dirty diaper. Once a baby begins eating solid foods, changing a dirty diaper can be a small act of torture. This is why many parents try to ignore poopromas when in the company of their spouses, hoping if they ignore it, someone else will make it go away.
REPAFFECTION [Fr. repetitive + affection]: Describing a baby or toddler's belief that an action becomes more wonderful the more times it's repeated. For this reason, on airplanes, it's polite to tell the woman behind you that the only way your son will quit playing Peek-a-Boo with her is if she closes her eyes and pretends to sleep.
TELEPHONY [Fr. phony + telephone]: A toddler's attempts to communicate with the outside world by pretending that household objects such as bananas, crayon boxes and pieces of buttered toast are telephones.
UP-SET [Fr. upset + up or awake]: Feeling of profound disappointment that a parent has when a baby wakes up much earlier than usual from his nap. Because, no matter how much you love your kid, that cry from the crib feels like a bucket of cold water thrown on you during your Calgon moment.
WEESEMBLANCE [Fr. wee or small + to look like or resemble]: A newborn's resemblance to his mother and/or father. When friends and family members visit a new baby, the first thing they do is try to decide if he looks more like his mom or dad. Of course, the answer - in truth - is probably neither. The only resemblance newborns usually have is to other newborns.
WHIPPERSNIPPER [Fr. whippersnapper + one who snips] Child who has found scissors and cut her hair or, worse, the hair of another child. For reasons unknown, a whippersnipper most often strikes right before Christmas, school pictures or her birthday party.