Terms Of Endurement. Humor is cheaper than therapy.
Advance. The initial lunge of a toddler toward a keyboard, computer disk, or printed manuscript.
All caps. Descriptive of the many "hats" a parent "wears" while on duty, including those of nurse, chef, chauffeur, teacher, maid, and coach.
Backlist. (1) A pathological lateral curvature of the spine caused by constantly holding squirming children at hipside; (2) An itemization of domestic chores neglected while attempting to simultaneously care for a child and complete a writing assignment.
Bimonthly. The frequency of distraction-free sex with one's spouse between the birth and departure for college of a child.
Broadside. The angle at which rapidly moving toddlers most frequently collide with adults.
Bullet. A metal projectile figuratively "bitten" by parents experiencing an overwhelming desire to flee to the nether-regions of Canada's Northwestern Territories.
Clause. A mythical holiday figure used by parents to keep misbehaving children in line. Unfortunately, a yearly payoff is required to perpetuate the tactic's effect.
Clean copy. A manuscript that has miraculously been kept from the jelly-covered hands of a curious toddler.
Clippings. The tiny paper fragments resulting from the combination of a scissor-wielding child and a crisp and inviting manuscript.
Coffee table book. Any of the small picture books of toddler-proof construction - usually glazed with dried drool - which replace the usual living room fare during the first years of a child's life.
Cold type. Any of a variety of upper-respiratory maladies incubated and spread by young children and their friends.
Compatible. Descriptive of persons or things that are capable of harmonious co-existence. A hermit and a writing assignment are compatible. Budgets and children are not compatible, nor are computers and children, leisure time and children, or parental responsibilities and freelance writing.
Concept. A unique and brilliant article idea conceived in the semi-comatose state of nocturnal infant service and subsequently forgotten.
Continuous Tone. A nasal drone which children perfect early in life and use to break the wills of uncooperative parents.
Copyediting. A young child's imitation of a parent's blue-penciling session, which may include moaning, cursing, and hair-pulling.
Correspondent. Short for "correspondingly despondent" - the degree of despair that is directly proportional to the nearness of a deadline multiplied by the state of domestic entropy.
Cover letter. Old correspondence used to shield important hardcopies from toddler fallout.
Disk. A computer storage medium used by children interchangeably with toaster pastries.
Display type. Any of a variety of an unhappy child's emotional exhibitions, which may include whining, moaning, screaming, pouting, throwing objects, and setting fire to the furniture.
Docudrama. The adventurous events that take place during the recovery of a finished document from the hands of a cranky toddler.
Electronic submission. The act of paying for desperately needed computer hardware or software with a credit card so as not to bust the diaper budget.
Fair use: The use of a toddler's toys as a means of mental therapy following the toddler's "use" of expensive computer hardware.
Feature. Tell-tale signs, such as peanut butter odor, which indicate to an editor that a manuscript comes from a writer with young children.
Foul proofs. Nauseous and eye-watering odors which confirm that a child has an intact and fully-functional digestive tract.
Gagline. (1) The guttural polysyllabic utterance a child makes while inserting a toy into it's mouth; (2) The guttural polysyllabic utterance a parent makes while changing the diaper of a child recently introduced to solid foods.
Ghostwriter. A freelance writer who has spent nights awake with children, days awake with children, and all other time at the computer and who thus resembles an albino zombie who's just emerged from a flour barrel.
Glossy. A condition of the eyeballs brought on by spending one's waking hours with a child and one's sleeping hours with a child.
Impression. The result of an assessment of a new baby-sitter's character. Favorable impressions result from such visual indicators as a copy of Dr. Spock's Baby Care under the sitter's arm and a genuine interest in the child's normal routine. Unfavorable impressions result from such indicators as tee-shirts emblazoned with the names of heavy metal bands, staggering, and slurred speech.
Imprint. The marks on a parent's body caused by the teeth of a cranky toddler from whom a manuscript has been recovered.
Invasion of privacy. The constant interruptions caused by children, dogs, cats, telephones or doorbells.
Lead time. The period of time between a curious toddler's initial movement toward a finished manuscript and a parent's awareness of imminent catastrophe.
Linecopy. A child's verbal imitation of a parent's overused line, such as "Puh-leeze, gimme a break, will ya?"
Newsbreak. A short pause during which a parent can determine what has taken place during the last stretch of social isolation. Examples might include presidential elections, distant planetary landings, etc.
Page rate. The speed at which a curious toddler can turn the pages of a finished manuscript into a puree of saliva and paper.
Proof. The strains of child-rearing which confirm that one's own parents are saints.
Public domain. The home of a freelance writer with a telephone and a doorbell.
Register. The electronic or mechanical device in a grocery or toy store into which a parent empties a bank account.
Scanner. A slang term for a bored child systematically searching for a mischievous diversion.
Semiweekly. The minimum number of runs to the grocery store for "just a few things."
Sidebar. The structural rail of a child's walker which causes a distinct crunching sound as it impacts, at high velocity, an adult shinbone.
Screenplay. An entertaining pastime for small children which involves fingerpaints, imagination, and a parent's computer screen.
Slush pile. The result of a toddler with an immoderate page rate.
Tagline. An exclamatory utterance delivered by a parent catching up with and preventing a curious toddler from causing a monumental disaster. Usually, "Gotcha." Occasionally, "OhNooooooo," "Wheeeeeeew," "Aiieeeeeee," etc.
Tearsheet. A piece of plain paper presented to a restless toddler to divert its attention from an inviting pile of bond paper printout. Some experts believe that introducing tearsheets to toddlers only increases their innate desire to shred manuscripts.
Treatment. Any of a variety of medicinal and non-medicinal preparations used to alleviate the communal symptoms of parenthood, including rash preventative, caffeine, and analgesics.
User Friendly. Children's clothing that is easy to put on, easy to take off, easy to clean, or easy to pay for.
Word processor. Computer hardware or software that, much like it's culinary counterpart, can turn it's contents into unrecognizable fragments with just the touch of a button by a tiny finger.
YA. A shortened form of "Yaaaaaaahh" - the cry of a very young child who is bored, not bored, hungry, full, tired, or rested. Delivered at precisely the audio frequency which overloads the parent's neural synapses, this primitive yet effective vocalization causes an anxiety equal to that produced by hearing fingernails scraping across a chalkboard while reading an audit letter from the Internal Revenue Service.