Monday, September 22, 2008

The Vocabulary of a New Parent

In the midst of an email exchange with my lovely mother-in-law I realized that the vocabulary of a new parent does not necessarily include new words and phrases, but that the MEANING of those words and phrases changes drastically.

For example:
sleeping in
  • To a nonparent, this implies continous sleep from the time one enters bed until a time to be determined solely by the body and brain as they figure out they are rested and/or hungry the following day.
  • To a new parent, this is any time past 5 am that the baby allows you to sleep, regardless of how many times you have woken up already in the night; the secondary definition also includes the opportunity to go back to bed at any time before 9 am and obtain at least 1 hour of sleep.
cleaning house
  • To a nonparent this is the simple task of dusting, vacuuming, and picking up ones abode
  • To the new parent this is a herculean task that requires teamwork and several consecutive days, at least if both are working. In our case, we pick up 2x a week, vacuum and dust on Friday, alternate the cleaning of bathrooms, etc. and the house is never entirely CLEAN AND NEAT from top to bottom on a single day. We manage to stave of the onslaught of dirt and destruction, but I'd hate for a white glove inspection...
going out
  • To a nonparent this implies a date or otherwise interesting outing away from home and the rigors of one's job for a purely entertaining reason.
  • To a new parent this is any time that one actually exits the premises of the house. For example, yesterday I went out and bought diapers. It was exciting. Today? I shall "go out" and get the mail.
  • To a nonparent this is when you feel mildly sleepy and/or have overdone things a little at work and play
  • To a new parent the former is a standard state of being and "tired" actually implies something akin to sleepwalking where "tired" reaches out and slaps you in the face repeatedly merely to keep you from walking into walls.
  • To a nonparent this is when it has rained outside, or one has freshly exited the shower or pool
  • To a new parent this is a state of being that travels from the baby's own person (diaper/drool/spit) to oneself (pee, drool, spitup)
I'm sure others will occur to me shortly, but I am tired as I was unable to sleep in this morning, El is wet, and we really should clean the house before going out....