Thursday, December 4, 2008

Terms of endearment

The other day my older daughter looked at me and with a big huffy breath said, “Mom, why do you never call ME baby doll?”

This caught me off guard. Apparently I call her sister baby doll, but not her. And it’s true, I typically call my older daughter sweet pea and my younger daughter baby doll. But why? “Why Mom?”

I’m not sure, really; pet names are a funny thing. I’d never really given them a lot of thought before. But her question got me to thinking…Why do we call our loved ones what we do?

And do some of the common terms of endearment even make sense?

When I started asking around, I noticed some patterns. A lot of terms of endearment have to do with all things sweet:





or maybe they're not so sweet after all?

or they have to do with all things lovely, for instance


sweet pea

or it is sweet pea?

Which leads me to ask, why do we lovingly call people various fruits and vegetables?

sweet potato



Or sometimes even legumes:


Although I think this pet name is actually usually referring to size, much like


or bug
or baby doll

I actually Wiki-ed “terms of endearment” which stated: “Some terms may be combined for added emphasis, e.g. honey bunny, and convey a sense of greater affection. “

So if you’re really loved you're called something like:

love bug

or sweet heart

or sweet cheeks, or sugar pie, or moon beam, or puddin’ pop or the like.

Wiki also stated that, “The longer the string of terms, the greater the sense of affection is conveyed.”

SO, I may just start calling my older daughter sweet sugar plum sunshine and see how she takes to that.

But what I want to know is what are you called by your loved ones?


NucMEd is Hot said...

Most of things I have been called by my "Loved " ones are completely unfir for public consumption and do not fit this topic. However, I have answered to honey, baby and sweetie, sometimes all at once, sometimes one at a time. I always knew something was up when I heard those words.

I became so atuned to it that as soon as he would utter one of them I would instantly respond with "don't you honey, baby sweetie me" It's a huge joke between us now.

Great post

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Great post! I've never heard anyone called a gumdrop... or a cumquat, for that matter. Bill calls me "honey", he almost never uses my name. We call our kids less conventional names, like meatball and monkey and everyone's favorite: George. But come to think of it, that does often become "georgie porgie puddin pie".


Nancy said...

I feel deprived, I don't have any other name (that's printable) than Nancy or Mom.

Great post!

XUP said...

Once, when my daughter was 3 and I'd done something particularly crazy, she looked at me and shook her head and said, "you crazy boolie". So now that's our nickname for each other -- sometimes modified to schmoolie.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Unlike Jacquie, *my* Bill always uses my name... and never anything else.


I love this, Beth. This is great. At this moment, if Bill *did* call me something, it would be "drunkie."


Tony Gasbarro said...

My family has no terms of endearment for me...which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. Did you SEE that movie? When Debra Winger croaked I totally didn't expect it. I totally anticipated the Hollywood Happy Ending. I farkin bawled my eyes out!

Yes. I am a straight male.

And happy 9/5 birthday to one of you and me

Kathi D said...

I have been called Sweetie and Cookie Face.

I guess we love our puppy Brooklyn most because we call her Whatever, I do what I want. (and thanks to Karen (NucMed) I can now show her the video that she is named for.

Anonymous said...

Hubby calls me Dear and I call him Sweetheart or Honey. No cumquats in this house. lol

I call the grandchildren, Sweetie, Darlin, and sometimes You Little Troublemaker.

The Blue Ridge Gal

Kathy Rogers said...

The husband calls me by my name mostly, but he kind of squashes the pronunciation to "Kethy." Which I don't really care for. Unguarded or drunken moments will result in a "sweetie" or "sweetheart."

My dad used to call me "Murphy." I don't know. You tell me.

Aunt Becky said...

Depends completely on the day: my mother called me pi (as in 3.1415...) (yes, really)(stop laughing) and my husband calls me "baby" or "f*ckface." Both lovingly, I should tell you.