A glossary of parenting terms you won’t find in the baby books…

Arm Roll & Release: The nerve-wracking manoeuvre used by parents in order to remove their arm from under a sleeping baby.

Booby-trapped: Term used to describe being stuck breastfeeding when you have a pressing engagement (or really need a wee).

Baby-trapped: Term used to describe being stuck under a sleeping baby who will wake up if you even think about moving her.

Brulti-Tasking: The ability to breastfeed your baby and perform several other tasks at the same time.

Cot transfer: The terrifying moment when a parent has to place a sleeping baby in her cot. Often takes around 6 – 10 attempts.

Co- no sleeping: A baby-sleep technique more commonly known as Sod It ,Just Let Her Sleep In Our Bed.

Coffee: An essential staple in the diet of tired parents.

Dream Crasher: A baby or young child who wakes up at the exact moment their parent falls asleep.

Drowsy but awake: The quickest way to piss off a tired baby.

Expert baby advice books: Useful for propping up one side of the baby’s cot when they have a cold. Can also help to make you aware of all things that you are doing wrong.

For Fuck’s Sake: A common phrase regularly uttered under the breath of the sleep-deprived parent.

Good night’s sleep: Four hours in bed.

Go The Fuck To Sleep: A sentence frequently used by parents between the hours of 9pm and 9am.

Hitting the wall: The point at which a parent believes they are too tired to go on any more. Running away or jumping out of the window are often considered but curling up on the bathroom floor and crying is usually opted for. Commonly occurs at 4am.

I am too tired to sleep: Mumsomnia is what happens to a mother on the rare occasion their baby actually goes to sleep.

Justification: Something exhausted parents feel the need to do on a daily basis. “Oh, I don’t
usually have the TV on all morning but we had a really bad night.” “I don’t normally drink wine on a week night but I have had a stressful day.” Or “Sorry about the mess, I was up all night with the baby.” STOP THIS NOW. If you are out of bed and the baby is in once piece then you are doing ok!

Kicking Arse: You haven’t slept in three days, you have a migraine and you can’t remember when you last ate something. But you get up, get dressed and get on with it. Because becoming a parent gives you the ability to totally kick arse!

Lie Down And Pretend To Be Asleep No Matter What: Popular sleep method where a parent lies down next to their baby and fakes slumber in order to trick him/her into eventually falling asleep. It is not for the faint-hearted. Many parents have reported injuries such as scratched eyelids, bitten noses or bruises to the ribs.

Mumtrum: When a mother finally snaps. Common causes are toddlers, running out of coffee and dinner time.

Mantrum: When a father finally snaps. Common causes are toddlers breaking their stuff, toddlers hiding their stuff and bed time.

Multi-Halftasking: Occurs when tasks are left incomplete after a sleep-deprived parent attempts to do more than one thing at a time.

No-sleep solutions: Fail proof solutions to the everyday problems faced by sleep-deprived parents such as how not to kill your partner when you have kids and how to entertain babies while lying down.

Overlooking: A technique used by many parents who are too tired to do ‘stuff’. Instead of dealing with that bank problem, going to the shop for toilet paper or washing some clothes – they will simply ‘overlook’ the situation until the moment it becomes imperative that it is dealt with (usually, when you have used all the baby wipes, kitchen rolls, socks, cotton wool and sanitary towels to wipe bums, so you are forced to call the bank, get some money and venture out for loo roll in snot-encrusted jeans).

Pyjamas: A must-have for every sleep-deprived parent. Comfortable, versatile and if worn all day you are spared the effort of getting ready for bed. #notskinnyjeansselfie

Quiet please: The unwritten rule that must be adhered to when entering the home of a sleeping baby.

Risk assessment: Once you have finally got the baby to sleep every Potential Threat To The Peace needs to be assessed as a Baby Waking Risk.

A relaxing evening bath? Risks: Running tap, splashing, extractor fan. HIGH RISK.

A takeaway? Risks: Opening and closing the front door, the delivery person may have a loud voice. HIGH RISK.

Using the toilet? Risks: Chain flushing, light switch that activates fan: LOW RISK (If risk-taker ensures they go in the dark and do NOT flush.

Sleep Thief: A baby or young child who will not go to sleep or stay asleep simply because she/he does not want to be asleep. These infants spit in the eye of sleep-training and would cause Supernanny to throw herself off the naughty step.

Stick a tit in it: A night weaning method popular with the sleepless mother.

Teething: Term used to describe a baby who is being a pain in the arse.

Under a baby: The place the parents of a sleep-hating baby spend most of their time.

Vacant: The look in a sleep-deprived parent’s eyes when you talk to them about politics/X Factor or what they are doing next week.

Witching hour: Usually takes place between 4-6pm: The time of day when your kids turn into dicks for no apparent reason.

Walk of shame: When a parent returns to the living room with the baby after failing to get him/her to sleep.

Wine o clock: The blissful moment when the kids are all finally asleep.

X: Damn you letter X. I am too tired to think of an X.

Yawning: How sleep-deprived parents communicate with each other.

Zen: The feeling a parent gets directly after drinking the first coffee of the day.

(This post originally ran on How to Survive a Sleep Thief)

About the author: Emily-Jane Clark is a freelance journalist, writer and the creator of How To Survive A Sleep Thief – a humorous antithesis to baby sleep advice. She is also currently writing a book (with two toddlers, good luck with that). She hasn’t slept in four years so she is only to be approached if you are armed with coffee or wine or both. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and @stolensleep.


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