Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's just a word, isn't it?

Now that Kiddlywink has been born, I find myself quite often feeling the same embarrassment a young man may feel in the aisle of the supermarket devoted to women's needs. That awful sniggering feeling where I know I shouldn't be embarrassed, it's just a word after all, but I still can't help it. I've even been known to bite my lip or smother a smile with my hand. Or blush.

I must admit I am slooooowly getting used to the word as it is prominently displayed on all packaging, but whenever discussing KW's eating habits or possible needs for changes in the equipment she uses to eat, I can feel my mother's eloquent silence on the end of the line while she mentally adjusts to the "correct" word.

When first discussing feeding the baby my husband reacted with a blush and the exact same embarrassed look on his face when I used the socially acceptable Australian word for the silicon or rubber attachments on the business end of a baby's bottle; completely unaware that it was called something different over here. We'll freely use other Australian-English/American-English words interchangeably, like nappy and diaper, but his embarrassment was so intense I simply switched to using nipple instead of teat. I still feel momentarily weird using nipple or seeing it in public. I accidentally used the word teat the other day, and he blushed just as strongly again.

Is it something just in our families? Or is it once again a case of our different cultures finding one word more socially acceptable over another, even though they mean the exact same thing?

ETA: Wanna know what's REALLY odd? I have no problem using the word nipple in conjunction with a woman's breasts, or even accidentally seeing nipples while someone is breastfeeding in public. It's only when connected with the fake version being called nipples that I get embarrassed.

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