i'm pregnant and it's going to be a rollercoaster

OMG WTH is it with TLAs and MCNs???? August 6, 2009

Hi Oscar,

today is more of a little rant. Rather than a little story.

I’ve been meaning to write to you about the complexities of nappies / diapers, the confusing choices about them, and about what your dad, you and I are doing with respect to them. I’ll get to that. But for today, I’m going to keep it brief (you’re not sleeping well – just seems to be 15 minute cat-naps at the most, so my writing time is limited) and just complain about how hard it is to actually read about, research, get opinions on, and generally make a decision about nappies / diapers!

Why! Because of all the goddam three letter acronyms (TLAs) that are just peppered through discussions on cloth nappies / diapers. “OMG WTH is it with TLAs and MCNs????”

OMG * Oh my God
WTH * What the Hell
TLA * Three Letter Acronym
MCN * Modern Cloth Nappy
MCD * Modern Cloth Diaper

My background in IT and telecoms is actually paying off: notorious for TLAs and undecipherable jargon, the part of my brain that deals with such palaver is getting a right royal workout. However nappy / diaper research is worse than the TLAs in the telecoms industry – not only do you have to have TLAs for every bit and bob to do with a nappy / diaper, when you converse on forums and the like it seems you also need TLAs for each and every family member. I was going ok while I was pregnant – I seemed to be able to navigate the forums I looked at by some guesswork (which I occasionally got wrong, but the general idea was ok)…. To give the uninitiated an idea of what kind of crap TLAs are used, check out the acronyms listed on a baby forum here in Australia. A few examples:

  • DH – Dear Husband
  • DF – Dear Fiance
  • DS – Dear Son
  • DD – Dear Daughter

Getting the idea? Those in your family are Dear… Except for the following people:

  • MIL – Mother in Law
  • FIL – Father in Law
  • SO – significant Other (apparently for if you’re just dating someone, obviously they haven’t quite made the “Dear” grade yet)

Mmmm.. I see a slight bias or bent to these TLAs already.

Anyway, those ones aren’t too hard to guess at, though why the hell anyone would want to continually refer to their partner as DH or whatever, it beats me. I can think of lots of others that could have been used instead given the content of what some of the people were writing about their partners: LAMF*** being one of them. Or perhaps just SGRPP****. Ok, I admit, now I’m just starting to make them up. And I’m getting sidetracked by a rant about the mundane nature of and painfully horrific posts that you find on lots of baby and mum and pregnancy sites (though some of it is great, its just the full spectrum of the population and their problems – better than Dr Phil any day – you can write back!).

So, on top of the already long list of acronyms needed to get through the posts on the mummy/mommy and baby general forums, the nappy / diaper forums take it to a whole new level! And the sites of the nappy / diaper makers seem to go there too – really using the acronyms all over the shop (so to speak) making it almost impossible for a NRAIM (nappy-related-acronym-illiterate-mum) like myself to even attempt to PURCHASE anything in the right size shape or colour. My advice to all nappy / diaper sites: KISS*****. Yeah, they teach that one in my MBA****** course.

Again for the uninitiated, you can read a list of the commonly used nappy-related (diaper-related) terms on an Australian nappy-centric forum (yes, that is if you can pull yourself off the floor and believe that there really is that much to discuss about nappies / diapers- if you see this forum, you’ll see that for some people, it really is endless, though I shouldn’t be surprised, the internet is full of little nooks and crannies with all sorts of people talking in minute detail about all sorts of topics)… Some more examples:

  • MCN – Modern Cloth Nappy; progressing to
  • AI1 – All-in-One
  • AI2 – All-in-Two (is this a misnomer??)
  • BV – Bamboo Velour (mmm! This sounds like something you’d find in a nightclub, could be fun)
  • … the list goes on…

And perhaps my favourite from this bunch in the discussion:

  • AF – “Aunt Flo”

WTF*******?? Even after reading the words behind this acronym I’m lost. Are you wondering like me why people are suddenly referring to Aunt Flo? Is it some kind of Australian-Queensland related thing where people have taken the term to refer to a stereotypical pumpkin-scone baking aunt based on the infamously corrupt Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen‘s wife Flo – famous for her pumpkin scones? That was my first thought on reading the translation . But no, get further and you’ll find that it is in fact a euphemism for the menstrual period. Hence the “flow”. See – it really does go too far, an acronym for a euphemism that is pretty out-there in the first place. My suspicions that people just post on the forums using the acronyms without really knowing what they mean at all were confirmed on reading further into the thread:

“I also use AF all the time and often wondered what it meant. Thanks”

Remind me not to start posting on these forums about my nappies / diapers and using terms and abbreviations that I really don’t know what they mean. Otherwise I might end up saying something I regret.

IMHO I could just spend all day LMAPO about the things other SAHM/SAHDs have written on the fourms IYKWIM. Alas, my DS, you take up too much time munching on my BBs and IME it just takes too much time to work out all the ETLAs in order to decode WTF they are on about most of the time. YABA YABA YABA is all you get.

TTFN Mum ********

P.S. My new task is to memorise at least one of the general abbreviations every day.

*** Lazy Ass Mother Fucker

****Sexist, gender-role-pandering pansie

***** Keep it Simple Stupid

****** Masters of Business Administraion

******* What the Fuck?

******** In my honest opinion I could just spend all day laughing my ass off about the things other stay-at-home-mums / stay-at-home-dads have written on the forums if you know what I mean. Alas, my Dear Son, you take up too much time munching on my boobies and in my experience it just takes too much time to work out all the extended three letter acronyms. Yet another bloody acronynm, yet another bloody acronym, yet another bloody acronym (Translation: Ra Ra Ra or or Yada yada yada) is all you get!

Tata for now. Mum