9 ridiculous baby words
Cunning babies rob most parents of their vocabularies, suggests Scott.
Sometimes we say the silliest things about babies without even thinking about what they mean. For example, why would anyone say this: “She has just given birth to a bouncing baby boy…”?  Bouncing? I have never seen a new-born bounce, and I’d be rather alarmed if I did. New-born babies tend to do a lot of lying around twiddling at the air with their fingers and pouting.

I’ve done it too. Wheeled out gems like “bundle of joy” or “sweet little angel.” Is it overthinking to suggest that these words don’t describe babies too well? Anything bundled sounds a bit like it’s wrapped in a sack and stowed in the boot of the car, and trying to bundle joy would be as impossible as getting three children to agree on one DVD to watch while you’re trying to make supper.

Evil masterminds

Babies are big on innocence, on account of not being able to speak or commit crimes, but I haven’t seen one with wings. Maybe the word “angel” is only used by the parents of toddlers to describe younger babies in a wistful sense; full of longing for a sweeter time before the word “NO” was learned.

Then you get generic baby nicknames. Sweet Pea. Boo-boo. Pumpkin. Even with a face carved into it, a pumpkin looks nothing like a new baby (and vice versa). There’s a whole list of names like these to check out if you don’t believe me over at Little Hearts Books.

Just as an aside, I'd love to know why you spent months picking out the right name, only to replace it with something like Snugglefluff.

I’m raising my hand, here: I have also been guilty of using the faux-negative with my own babies. That’s when you take a word which is not the kind of word you’d use to describe your boss to her face and apply it to an innocent, defenceless baby: Stinky-poops. Poop-bum. Poop is a solid theme, as is puke or snot. Those words can become habit-forming, and the only cure is to catch yourself cooing at your kid in the supermarket “ah, my angel stinky-poops” and see Real Adults staring at you in a mixture of pity and fear.

Parenthood changes you. It gets you where it counts: The heart, the pocket and the vocabulary. I love words, and spend hours playing with them every day, but every baby I have ever had has tricked me into using language that makes me sound slightly soft in the head. Those cunningly cute critters can seduce a grown person and turn them into a chin-chucking, cheek-pinching mess of adoration.

Powerful people, those babies. There’s no point resisting, really. I’ll happily sacrifice a couple of years of language to their squishiness.

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