Monday, October 09, 2006


Paula recently started cruising. No, no, that’s not what you’re thinking of, it’s something entirely different. It is the official term (I have learned) for that period when she (or any baby, to be honest) starts trying to pull herself to a standing position. She’s only actually been crawling properly for about a month, having spent some while attempting to crawl with her head on the floor as well as her four limbs (go on, try that, it’s dead tricky), and the teacher in me would like her to perfect that skill before moving onto something infinitely more complex, but you know, she won’t be told.

I have no idea why it’s called cruising though. It’s all very confusing. I had always assumed that the preferred holiday of blue-rinsed American over-70s was known as “Going on a cruise” rather than “Cruising” precisely to avoid the confusion around the activity described in the second, most commonly understood definition here. “What are you doing for your holidays this summer, Myrtle?” “O, Walt and I thought we’d do a spot of cruising”. I mean it would lead to endless confusion and suggestive double-entendres wouldn’t it? “I heard Walt and Myrtle are cruising this summer”, “Oh, I bet they are”. But, now, to my surprise, I learn that the word has been co-opted by the parent community to mean something entirely different. How I wish these words weren’t besmirched by their being used by these marginal societal groups, to mean something faintly unsavoury. Oh, for a simpler more innocent world, when cruising was picking people up in toilets and not something involving watching babies repeatedly fall on their arse.

Is nothing sacred? The next thing I’ll discover is that cottaging is a word also used to describe the infant practice of burping lightly and allowing a small pool of half digested milk to spill from the mouth and be deposited on ones (and ones parents’) clothes.

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