Parental Lexicon: Sophie

Say the name “Sophie” in a room full of non-parents and you could spark any number of conversations, say it in a room full of parents and you’ll be talking about a six-inch tall squeaky giraffe that babies drool all over. I’m not sure why this particular toy has become so ubiquitous as it’s essentially a doggy chew toy, but ever parent I know has one. Seriously, if you were presented with this thing out of the blue and weren’t a parent, I’d bet 9 times out of 10 the person would guess that it belonged to Fifi instead of your daughter Fiona.The funny thing is that our daughter Lucy doesn’t even seem to like the squeakiness of the toy. Every time we give it a squeeze, she just looks up blankly. Plus, I find the noise to be pretty annoying. However, she has gotten pretty good at grabbing the legs and loves to slobber all over it, though, to be fair, I’m pretty sure she’d gnaw on just about anything she could fit in her mouth.

I actually did a little research into the Sophie phenomena (by reading the “The Story” section of their website) and found out that she not only came from France, but is also 50 years old! It’s made out of natural rubber and food paint, making it perfect for teething babies. She’s also been seen in the hands of celebrity kids and featured on plenty of talk shows and in magazines. I’m guessing that’s how word has been spread recently. Overall, I guess it’s good that kids are shoving a natural toy in their maws, but there isn’t anything else about Sophie that makes me think every parent should go out and buy one. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what I recommend, though, because if you’re an expecting parent, you will most likely be getting one of these from someone (ours was a gift).

A question to older parents, were Sophies around when you had your kids?


The Dreaded “C” Word

As a writer and reader I’ve developed a deep respect for words and how they’re used. Few things get under my skin like the misuse of words. “Love” should be something important in your life, not the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars. I’m guilty of doing the same thing, of course, but, as I always tell my wife when she finds a typo in one of these blog posts or I’m being overly hyperbolic (another pet peeve), I’ve got poetic license (I should actually get one for my wallet for funsies).

Anyway, there are a lot of words thrown around once you become a parent, many of which meant something completely different or absolutely nothing to you before entering the parent club. Boppy, Sassy Seat, Moby, Sophie, the million or so words for pacifier and all the rest come with the territory. I still have trouble understanding my wife sometimes, she sounds like she’s speaking Martian. Someone should come up with flashcards. Hey, maybe that’ll be the first piece of Pop Poppa merch. Anyway, there’s one word in the parental lexicon that I can not stand. The “C” word. Colic.

Why do I dislike this term used to describe babies who keep screaming? Because it’s nonsense. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s not an actual diagnosis, it’s just another word for cranky, but it gets thrown around like an actual malady. In the nearly four months I’ve spent with our darling daughter, I’ve come to realize that there’s always a reason why she’s crying, she just can’t communicate what’s wrong. Cries usually mean her diaper’s wet, she’s gassy, she wants to eat or wants to be picked up. There’s always a reason. Always.

Colic seems like a catch-all umbrella term that for some reason has lasted down the ages. What bothers me about it is that it’s a simple label that people will paste on their child, but there’s something else going on there. The kid needs something or is hurting or just feels bummed out. How would you feel if you were feeling down about something or had aches and pains and people wrote it off as “A case of the Mondays?” It’s belittling and dismissive and doesn’t get to the root of the problem, which could potentially be serious.

Look, I get it. We want to know what’s wrong with our kids when they’re screaming, especially if it’s for a prolonged period of time. We want to fix them and we want the crying to stop for their benefit and ours. And that’s a good thing, but putting a tag like “Colic” on screaming is like a smokescreen. You can still hear the screaming through the smoke, but you don’t know what it really. It’s distracting and doesn’t get to the root of the problem.

So, I call for a boycott of the “C” word. I’m all for “fussy” or “ornery” or just plain “pissed off.” They all explain what’s going on a lot better than some made up, medical sounding term that doesn’t really mean anything.