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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Whatever Happened to Punkin', Sweetie, and Schnookims?

I was working my Lego gig today, and something occurred that made me think, "Seriously, what was that mother thinking?"

Now, I am not a perfect mother, and I have made my share of mistakes, some of them safely in the privacy of my own home, with zero witnesses, but many of my mess ups have been in public, surrounded by restaurants, libraries, and malls full of spying eyes. I am confident my therapist will help me overcome the mother-guilt by the time I become a grandmother.

So, I was on my ladder, making my display sparkle when a screeching voice made me teeter on the top rung.

"MONSTER!" it yelled. "Where are you?"

No response from Monster, but I heard a scurry of little feet down the next aisle.

"MONSTER!" it yelled again, and threatened, "You get back here, or else!"

Of course we're all thinking, what kid would run pel-mel into the outreached arms of that screamer and her "or else threat?" Certainly not any kid I know, and definitely not a child named Monster.

A flurry of noise rounded the corner, barreling towards me. I knew immediately that this mullet-sporting, grape-juice-stained-shirt wearing, giggling for all he was worth, four year old boy was Monster. I suppose I should've called for the screecher, whom I assumed was his mother, but he was having such a lovely time running from her, that I kept silent and held onto the rails of my ladder for dear life. He zoomed by me, his hand running across the boxes, sending a handful flying to the floor. Monster flew to the main aisle and disappeared, possibly to demolish sporting goods.

His flash down my aisle left me wondering, who'd nic-name their child Monster? Isn't that some sort of twisted self-fulfilling prophecy? I was surprised that she'd sounded so thoroughly irritated when her darling little Monster didn't respond to her call. She had named him Monster after all, and everyone knows Monsters are notoriously bad at following commands.

So what happened to the cutesy nic-names from our childhood?

I was called Baby Roo even though my tantrums were more terrorist in nature than Winnie-the-Pooh friendly. No one called me Baby Rotten, even though my mother was probably thinking it.

There were no Monsters at my play group, nor Whiney, Grumpy, or Cranky-Pants either. Our parents didn't call us out at "news time" during The Sharing Circle, telling all our pals our worst habits. Our tiny egos were left intact, growing and thriving each time they called us, "Sweetie, Sugar or My Best Buddy."

What is happening to a child's ego when their term of endearment of  "Monster" is bellowed across a store?

I now have another reason to thank my mom. Who knows where I'd be if she went with Baby Rotten over Baby Roo.

So, if your childhood nic-name makes you cringe, be thankful. It could've been worse. You could've been the first Garbage Guts to enter kindergarten.


  1. Calling a child 'monster' is monstrous. (Unless, it's my 'little monster' or my 'cookie monster.' I wouldn't even name a puppy monster.

  2. How extremely sad for this child. I agree Jodi. All well said as only you can. With humour and kindness.