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New Englishisms I Learned From Being a North American Mum Living in the UK

15/03/2016 13:18 GMT | Updated 14/03/2017 09:12 GMT

I'd lived and worked in the UK almost seven years before we had kids, so I thought I'd pretty much learned the lingo I needed to get by in British circles. But becoming a parent in England has often made me feel as if I've just stepped off that plane.

No, Dummy it's a nappy!

Learning the names of baby items is a steep learning curve for any Mum, let alone someone who is not native to England. But there were some I just thought were universal or at least familiar enough to be used interchangeably. Nope. Tell someone your baby uses a pacifier and most Mums will do a double take. Why the name dummy anyway? Prams, buggies and pushchairs. Why do we need 3 words to describe a child's mobile chair? And really what is the real difference between diapers and nappies, strollers, playpens and bassinets?

Dress for confusion

Once my daughter became old enough to go to preschool, her confusion multiplied when I asked her to put on her pants and a sweater. She told me she already had her pants (undies) on and this is called a jumper. Too many times I've been the butt of the joke referring to my pants having a stain and needing to change. Don't laugh, it's embarrassing.

The class divide

Who knew the age of entering school could be a whole new set of learning that we have to conquer? Brits do love their acronyms- after all, none of these seem to require any explanation if you're a regular reader of the Guardian: EYFS, KS1 and KS2, GCSEs and A levels. Eek! And don't get confused by the fact that public schools are actually private schools, state schools is an umbrella term for anything not private and you're left to figure out the rest of them from community, voluntary, religious, grammar schools or academies...I could go on.

Accentuating our differences

With a Mum who says, "waaader" to a Dad who might say "watah" and living in a country that pronounces it "woortah", our poor daughters are confused.

Potty talk

I've always gone to the bathroom where you do a pee. Now, I find myself asking my daughter if she needs to wee or, if we're alone 'wee wee'. No matter what, I always feel silly.

Questionable Subject matter

How is maths plural but sport is not?

Sesame Street anyone?

I thought Sesame Street was universal until I started singing the 'Rubber Duckey' song to blank stares from my fellow Mums. It seems I'm out of the loop when it comes to remembering child's programming. I've never actually watched Blue Peter or Top of the Pops - so if you refer to an episode growing up, it's pretty much guaranteed I won't get it.

Hokey what?

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