Is that your old cabbage?

There are things that, thanks to a little custom we like to call social etiquette, we never usually say in normal daily life. That all goes out of the window when you have a baby.

From the second you hit that labour ward, you lose your inhibitions and screw social etiquette. Your life becomes full of moments where, if you take a slight step back, you will do a double take of what you just said or did and either wonder “how did my life get to this?” or just wet yourself laughing at the insanity of it all.

I feel that there is a lot to be discussed on the topic so I’m going to break it down into several posts:

  1. The things we say that we would never say PB (pre-baby)
  2. The things we do that we would never do PB
  3. The secret language of life with a newborn

Before we get started, a thank you to my husband who inspired the theme of this post (more on how below).

I’ve accumulated a list of things that we now say in our house that we didn’t PB – a glossary, if you will, for life with a newborn.

  • I am the milk man – said initially by my husband in pride of his abilities to extract colostrum in the hospital when I was failing miserably. Later became my mantra when it became clear I had a little bit of an over-supply issue. 
  • I feel like a cow – not because I’d been awful to someone but because I literally felt like a cow being milked all the damn day.
  • There’s shit everywhere in this house – not used to refer to untidiness. We are so far past untidiness – this is used to refer to physical shit after an explosive nappy situation or three.
  • Well done – said after burps and farts to the baby and later extended to my husband who was feeling left out and wanted recognition for his windy efforts too.
  • Have you got a smelly bum? – again, initially directed at the baby but later extended to my husband just because it was fitting.
  • Oh farty pants / smelly bottom / stinky boy – see above.
  • There’s stuff coming out of every hole – you expect when parenting a newborn that there will be a certain amount of poo, wee and sick to contend with. What you don’t expect is that you often get all three simultaneously, accompanied by saliva, tears, milk sneezes and snot. I’ve been known to scream this phrase in horror while just watching it all unfold, powerless to stop myself being sprayed from every angle and at a loss as to which part to begin cleaning up first.
  • It was chaos – my new catchphrase and mantra for life because generally it sums up being the parent of a newborn. Everything is chaos. Fact. 
  • Anything poo related – from my husband’s screams of “oh no he’s pooing, heeeeeellllp!” to my “uh oh it’s a power poo, thunderbirds are go“, we also over-share about frequency, colour, consistency, size etc etc. We have started measuring the power of the poo by how many layers it gets through (the record is nappy, vest, top, dungarees, cardy and blanket. The only way he can top that is by getting the hat and bib and that would be special).
  • No tinkling please – usually said to my boy when his nappy is off regardless of whether we are in our own home or in public. Quite often said in the bath and at the swimming pool (holds hands over eyes). To be clear, he doesn’t have his nappy off in the swimming pool. In actual fact he has the double-nappy system mandated by the pool, but I’m just not convinced that they will hold the contents of my boy’s nappies and have visions of being that mum with a turd floating past her forcing everyone to evacuate.
  • I need to pump – not trump as my brother thought when I told him I needed to go and pump because I was in pain (too much information!) but pump my boobs…again. 
    A new mum’s best friend
  • Is that your old cabbage? This is the phrase that inspired this post. My husband genuinely asked me this about cabbage left on the side table which had just been removed from my bra before pumping (see above and here for an explanation) and we both just looked at each other and pissed ourselves laughing. It’s now a staple phrase. 
  • My boobs hurt. Actually I should change this to anything boob-related – from “I was so engorged” to “my right boob just isn’t getting the memo and is on overdrive”, I’ve become surprisingly un-shy about discussing my boobs. Hell, practically everyone in the city has now seen them between labour, the post-natal ward and breastfeeding so talking about them is practically like watching a Disney film by comparison.
  • Mamamamamamamama – I’ll be damned if after 4 days of labour, 10 painful weeks of breastfeeding and approximately 8,000 projectile poos my boy says Dada first. So I use my maternity leave wisely and slip the odd Mamamamamama into conversation throughout the day (I don’t care if the Da sound is easier to make than the Ma – you’re a clever boy and you will say Mama first goddamit). 

What staple phrases have made it into your everyday life with a newborn?


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