Monday, March 18, 2013

Transatlantic Nursery Chat

Lucky little Lady P is going to be bilingual from the start as we are immersing her in two languages: English and American.

TLOML changes her diaper when she's pooped, and sticks a pacifier in her mouth when she's hollering. And I, by contrast, put a clean nappy on after she's done a poo, and give her a dummy when she's skriking.

Oh, hang on a second, that makes three languages: Northern English. Skriking is a Northern word for screaming or crying. Along with gip, which means sick (as in, 'Oh little Lady P, are you gipping on my shoulder?'), it's become a word I use much more frequently now we have a wild, screaming, vomiting creature living amongst us at Fox Corner.

For what it's worth I prefer the English words in the main. They are somehow more baby-friendly. 'Posset' sounds so much more pleasant than 'spit up'. 'Muslin' has an innocence to it, whereas that 'burp cloth' just sounds bawdy. 'Diaper' and 'pacifier' sound like clinical equipment, whereas 'nappy' and 'dummy' are straight from a nursery. And 'receiving blanket' sounds like something that might be used in a religious ceremony, perhaps a baby sacrifice event - till you learn it's just a lovely swaddle cloth. The only exception, I think, is 'poop', which is much cuter than dirty smelly 'poo'.

We use these Transatlantic alternatives interchangeably - which is great for the development of Lady P's cerebral cortex. She'll grow up learning there is more than one word for most objects, and thus grasp the concept of language very early on.

But there is one word I want to stick to, to the exclusion of all other (American) alternatives: I'm pushing hard to be called mummy, and not mommy or mom. It's the only name I think a mother should have, and I'll be disproportionately upset if I don't hear it on her lips one day. So I'll keep saying it to her, over and over, and just hope she's listening.
Are you listening, Lady P?

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