Monday, September 04, 2006

Father-son terms of endearment

"Come on darling", I said as I picked up Oliver on Saturday morning. Darling. Is that a bit soppy, I wondered? And so I got to thinking of all the other things I call him. "Pumpkin", "poppet", "sausage", "sweetheart", "gorgeous"... They aren't exactly manly are they. I started to wonder whether this is in any way a bad thing. I mean what can a man call his son that is both manly and also warm and affectionate?

I sometimes call him "monster", "tiny tearaway", "henry hooligan", but these more boyish tags are hardly complimentary. "Champ" is about the closest to both manly and complimentary that I have used. And that was mostly when he was 0n day old.

I've consoled myself in the knowledge that he is still less than one year old and therefore a baby really, so who could object to calling a baby "darling".

But that's just avoiding the question! It seems sad to me that there don't appear to be more loving ways to address my son without them seeming un-masculine. As someone who finds himself appalled at many of the wars going on in the world right now, I can't say that "Daddy's little soldier" sits entirely comfortably, though I have used it occasionally. In fact gender stereotypes in general don't sit very comfortably.

And even if there are more masculine ways of addressing him, I don't intend to use them if they convey any less love, because I adore the little man. And if I can convey that to him, I don't really think it matters what language I use to do it. I just have to remember in a few years time that teenagers probably don't appreciate being called "Pumpkin".

3 comments:

Reservoir Mog said...

oh yes, this is a minefield! For reasons best known to her demented self, my big sis always called me 'Bonnie' as a kid.

I'm the same age as Bonnie Langford, and got teased relentlessy when she used the nickname in front of the schoolmates. My nicknames for her are largely unprintable.

Dan said...

How about "big guy"?

I'm lucky in that I have a daughter. The main problem for me is the terms of endearment I use for her are the same ones I use for my wife, which is a little confusing/creepy on occasion.

Steve said...

I realised after writing this blog entry that perhaps my best nickname for Oliver is the one I probably use the most: "Little Man".

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