Excerpts From the Glossary of TeaMo–On the Occasion that It’s Pumba Season

Dear Lily June,

You were born long after your father and I had laid a solid groundwork of inside jokes, relationship neologisms, and seemingly obscure allusions. It may seem as if we have our own language sometimes, and the truth is, Lily June, we do. As poets, we pride ourselves on the fact that it’s only slightly less intelligible, in fact, than Nell’s.


Of course, as you’re now one of the talking (and talking and talking) brood, you’ll not only need to be let in on TeaMo speak (noun, pronounced “Tee-Moh,” a portmanteau of Team and Moore; referencing the collective activities of Alyssa, Ryan and/or or Lily June Moore); you’ll also be contributing to it.

The glossary will encapsulate any number of words and expressions you’ll hear come out of your dad’s or my mup (noun, “muhp”, origin: your cousin Natalia’s approximation of “mouth” as a toddler).

I am proud to say that, at only just 17 months old, you’ve already come up with your first coinage:

Pumba (noun, pronounced “Pum-Buh,” not to be confused with the Lion King’s “Poom-buh”)

1.  a fruit of any of various cultivars of herbaceous plants (Cucurbita pepo, C. maxima, C. moschata, and C. mixta syn. C. argyrosperma) of the gourd family that is typically round and orange but may be another color or shape…

2. In other words, a freakin’ pumpkin,  only pronounced WAY CUTER by YOU who can’t say the syllable “kin” to save your life and so you substitute a “buh” (I wish I’d known that was an option  back when I was still in academia);

3. OR an interjection to be whispered, repeatedly and, dare I say it, downright creepily over and over again into your father’s ear until he woke up this morning.

As used in a sentence: In October 2014, about a week before we found out I was pregnant with you, your father carved Jaws into a truly epic pumba.

That’s some bad pumba, Harry.


As used in a Lily June sentence (upon your spotting our family’s decorative metal pumpkin with four wheels that make it look like a carriage): “Hi-uh, doggy pumba!”

Eat your heart out, Chomsky. Roll over, Webster. Meet the world’s newest wordslinger: Lily June Moore (aka Peanut aka L-Mo).


For eight years, your father and I studied poetry like some scholars study medicine. Within your first two years on earth, you’ve already rocked our understanding of language to the core. You have our sincerest gratitude, little chickabee. Here’s to the exponential growth of our glossary, and our minds being blown regularly like a tay in da weend.

10 thoughts on “Excerpts From the Glossary of TeaMo–On the Occasion that It’s Pumba Season

  1. Amy says:

    Dobbage cup – garbage truck. Pinions – any rock, pebble, or stone found on the beach. Cheppup – ketchup naturally. We’ve taken to not correcting ours when they pronounce things differently. It’s a small effort to extend the magic. Blessings to you in yours. Such a fun season and your paying attention to it, noticing, and now recording it is some of the best stuff there is. So precious, these in our care and all their manifestations and communications too!

    Liked by 1 person

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