In my line of work, it’s a little embarrassing to say I am learning a whole new vocabulary these days, but it’s true. Call it just one of the many benefits from having a newborn in the house.
Whether this new set of vocabulary terms is increasing my intelligence I don’t know, but I am much more able to carry on a conversation about swaddling, Butt Paste and wee block today than I was four months ago.
Some of the terms, not all of which are all that new to me, that have become a daily part of my vocabulary in recent months include:
— Bink: Another word for a pacifier and a prerequisite when it comes time to putting our little boy down to sleep. He wants no part of it unless he’s tired and prefers the thumb at all other times.
— Gripe water: It a liquid added sometimes to bottles to supposedly help with gas. We do not know if it works or not. We used it for a couple weeks, but have gone without it for a couple months and all seems good.
— Mylicon: The gas drops we occasionally use when the little man is kicking his legs and keeping the dogs awake with flatulence. Again, not sure if it actually works and results vary by child.
— Aspirator: An odd-shaped suction thing used in his nose to retract the visible bats in the cave and even those you know are in there because you can hear the nasal congestion rather than see it.
— Bib: It doesn’t really need an explanation, but I was unaware of the various sizes, colors and shapes they come in. My favorites are the silly sayings that come on them, such as, “I Just Pulled An All-Nighter”; “Daddy’s Little Helper”; “No Means Ask Grandma”; and “Slobber Happens” (courtesy of Buxy and Annie at the Salty Dog).
— Crib: Again, obvious, but what I did not know was you can spend anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to more than a thousand, depending on your preference. We went in between with the kind that can be transformed into a bed for the little guy as he grows, courtesy of Kendall Home Furnishings.
— Swaddle: This is what I am best at. My wife calls me in from the bullpen to do this occasionally and our boy loves it. It essentially consists of wrapping the baby tightly in a blanket. Everybody has their own technique. It’s essentially a baby straightjacket, pinning his arms inside and basically giving him a sense of security that resembles his former home for nine-plus months. There have been times when I have been nearing a meltdown and wondered whether a swaddle would comfort me.
— Onesie: These little outfits come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Our baby wears them all the time. They are great because they provide easy access to the diaper and that’s a big deal because it’s being changed at least 10 times a day, especially if your child has an active bladder as ours seems to. They also come with their share of corny sayings, such as “Property of Mom Forever” and “Dog Gone Cute”.
— Wipes: Absolutely essential for wherever you go with the little one. We buy these by the case.
— Wee block: It is what the name implies. It covers up the loaded rocket when it comes time for a change. A wipe works as well, but all parents get hit with a golden shower every now and again. It’s just a fact of life and it’s hilarious five minutes after it happens and you are dried off. On the one we received as a gift, it says “Tinkle, Tinkle little star …” There’s no reason to go on.
— Butt Paste: It’s a name brand lotion used to help prevent diaper rash. I first heard this term when a friend was telling us all the essentials we will need. She was rattling off all the items and came to “Bourdreau’s Butt Paste.” I figured it was just a joke and giggled. She did not. If you have a little bit of kid in you, which I do, you understand.
— Boppie pillow: It’s shaped somewhat like a horseshoe. I rarely use it because I feel it’s a bit feminine, but I confess I have resorted to it once or twice in the cover of darkness for a late-night feeding.
— Diaper Genie: It’s basically a trashcan reserved just for diapers. They come in various sizes. I don’t know how it does it, but you can put a bunch of dirty diapers in there and it does not smell up the room. We usually empty it about three times a week because our baby seems to be quite “regular” and is packing on the pounds.
— Tummy Time: Place him on his stomach a certain amount of time and see what happens. It’s not exactly like that, but there are mats and blankets made preciously for Tummy Time, which allows them to build the muscles in their necks, shoulders and arms. All the experts say it’s important the little ones gain strength in these areas before they are rolling over.
— Baby Bjorn: Place him in this and life is good for him, but a strong back is required. He can face your chest or face out and see the world. Either way, this contraption is a great thing because it allows for use of your hands.
— Sleeperbags: He looks like he’s wearing a dress in this thing, but it’s cool because there’s no buttons, particularly helpful during the wee hours. Some of them even allow the sleeves to be transformed into mittens.
Next week I will answer the question many of you have been asking me lately: Is he sleeping yet? It’s not a one-word answer.