Okay, I admit it. I’m fairly old. I was too young for Woodstock, but I’m old enough to have children in college, and I was a VERY late bloomer, having not married until I was 30. The good thing about having children relatively late in life is that keeping up with them has kept me young.
This is especially true when it comes to keeping pace with my teenage daughter, who likes to think of herself as an expert on all things Paris/Britney/Lindsey/Kim etc. It wasn’t so long ago that I was annoying her on trips to the library by sitting in the teen section and reading every recent issue of Teen People, Cosmo Girl, Teen Vogue, and Twist on the rack. I had to find a path into her adolescent mind, so I studied these publications intently, as if they were the Holy Grail and the Rosetta Stone all rolled into one.
Eventually, I learned some of the common lingo. Girls didn’t have crushes on boys anymore, like when I was young. No, the term ‘crush’ has morphed from a noun into a verb; now girls ‘crush on’ the object of their affection. (That leaves me with a vision of a teen boy as flat as a pancake on the asphalt.) Nowadays, the cute boys are “hotties” and not “foxes.” (I so miss the 70s…) I was pleased to find that what little reading material there was, wedged between slick ads for lip gloss, trendy clothes, and feminine protection, was truly sassy and smart. It was all easy to read, and I could see how the tone of these publications can be enticing to pre-teens and teenagers.
Like that devil, Disney TV, teen magazines are insidious. They offer plenty of clothes and cosmetics, comprehensive tips on snaring and keeping a boyfriend, cheeky language, and personal revelations of the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to someone. (God forbid! These girls are only fourteen!) By the way, that’s another hallmark of a teen magazine – reckless overuse of exclamation points and lots of italicized and bolded script.
Now, I don’t mind sassy and smart. In fact, I like to think of myself as a slightly mature version of sassy and smart. Like a fine wine, with time my tongue and wit have developed a rosy bouquet, an expressive taste of both tannin and berries, and a fairly sweet finish. However, I am finding myself a bit perturbed. Perhaps because I AM old, I have found a problem with some of the lingo. I mean, really. When did impending babies-to-be get downgraded to mere “bumps?”
The term “baby bump” is now a pervasive and increasingly odious term. I imagine it’s meant to be cute, but I seriously have to stop myself from throwing a Molotov cocktail at the local 7-11 when I pass by the newsstand and a headline proclaims, “Photos of Recent Brangelina Baby Bump!” Entertainment programs on TV also use the word ad nauseum. To add insult to injury, even the major Internet news outlets are using the term “baby bump” in their headlines, which confirms what I have believed for a long time: the “news” is not the news anymore. It’s sensationalized fluff.
Having been pregnant twice, I can tell you that both those children were not “bumps.” The first one, who came in at over nine pounds, made me appear as though I were sporting a watermelon. I couldn’t wear gray because I was afraid of being confused for a baby elephant or an aircraft carrier. My first-born spent the entire nine months in utero bouncing around like a Globetrotter and jabbing me in the ribs with his big feet. I was sure I was black and blue on the inside.