Looking after a real human child can easily make you feel isolated and alone – or like you’re ballsing up something everyone else is breezing through effortlessly – so little in-jokes and shared observations about the less glamorous parts of parenting can be really helpful.
One of the ways this manifests is in parents developing their own jokey slang, new words or phrases for poos, tantrums, poos, feeling knackered, poos and other things they find themselves having far too many conversations about. Sometimes these terms emerge organically, sometimes they’re adopted from outside sources, sometimes they’re adorable and sometimes they’re downright offensive.
A list of the 20 “funniest” slang terms used by parents has been drawn up by ChannelMum.com, after 84% of mums and dads said they frequently use them. The list is slightly underwhelming – if someone refers to parenting on their own as flying solo, nobody’s rolling in the aisles (plus that person is certainly not Russell Brand). Meanwhile, the mum bun, a hairstyle pulled together hurriedly for convenience rather than glamour, is absolutely a thing but hardly a thigh-slapper. Even winging it makes the list.
There are poo ones, obviously, rare moments of hilarity in a mirthless desert. A poonami is self-explanatory while déjà poo refers to a child going through loads of nappies in one day and that subsequent feeling of endless changing.
Both of these seem flawed, though. Déjà poo feels like it could also apply to that eerie feeling of your child doing a doppelgänger poo to one they pooed earlier. While poonami sounds a bit too much like the Patois slang term for vaginas beloved of Ali G, which implies a very dodgy grasp of anatomy.
We were sure parents out there were using more creative terms, so we reached out to a few.
“It’s all a bit silly,” says dad Jason. “When my son was feeling insecure we’d say he was being emo, which became “he’s being a bit My Chemical Romance”, which became “he’s being a bit Gerard Way” [the lead singer of My Chemical Romance], which became “he’s doing things the Gerard Way” and is now “he’s Gerarding”. It’s tedious as hell but maybe stopped us completely losing our minds dealing with him.”
One mum who wished to remain anonymous enjoyed telling her son he was behaving like a completely unruly, naughty toddler to his face – a subtle acronym but full of shade. Getting poo on one’s hand when dealing with a soiled nappy is a Julian, an in-joke at the expense of a friend of her family’s. “My husband will come back from a change and I’ll say ‘how was it?’ and he’ll be like ‘It was fine, but I did have to deal with Julian.’”
“There’s the Trump,” says mum-of-one Kirsten. “That’s when you hold the baby by the crotch. It started off as a joke about him grabbing women by the pussy, and now we just use it like it’s a real word. ‘She won’t go to sleep? Pop a Trump on her.’”
Blog babies are “other people’s babies who, unlike my own wild beast, just seem to lie there all the time and coo and pose nicely for photos,” says dad Adam. “And there’s sharking it, when my kid takes big, aggressive bites out of stuff, like: ‘It was cold and covered in fur, but he fucking sharked it anyway.’”
Mum Jo says she and her partner used to call their kids bimbus when they were being naughty. “It was a way of saying ‘little fucker’ without saying ‘little fucker’. Like: ‘Stop being a bimbus’. We used to say minky bimbus if they were being really naughty. I remember arguing with my eldest once, and her shouting “I’m NOT being a minky bimbus!′ I loved that she was so indignant at being called this ridiculous made-up thing.”
Author Nate Crowley and his wife Ashleigh create elaborate scenarios where their daughter’s bodily expulsions are given detailed backstories. “We pretend she’s the abysmal cook behind the scenes in a failing greasy spoon cafe, and completely roast her for her poor attempts at making breakfast,” he says.
“Or she’ll be the eligible young daughter of the landed gentry in a Regency period drama, but she’s just shat herself right before tea with the vicar and the butlers are horrified. None of it is remotely comprehensible outside our household, but it stops it being quite so stressful.”
And that’s ultimately what it’s about, isn’t it? In-jokes that emphasise the shared nature of the parenting experience to reduce the stress of it. Even the silliest scatological ones offer a tiny little lift, that millisecond of togetherness, which turns it from “I am cleaning up another poo” to “we’ve got déjà poo”. Perhaps that’s why so many are faeces-based – it puts the ‘solid’ back in solidarity.