The Legend Of Quack-Quack

Once upon a time, I had a nick-name. (No, it wasn't "quack-quack". Wait for it ... ) Actually I had a few nicknames. Really more endearments, or pet names.

My Dad used to call me Petunia. I loved petunias, especially the pink frilly kind. I abhor the orangey-red kind. They just look ... hot and dusty ... which is not a good look for a flower in the hottest heat of Summer in the South.

My husband used to call me ... something ... and occassionally "Sweetie" although NEVER "Honey" or "Babe". Ick. But thats just me. Maybe being called "Babe" makes you happy, and thats ok. For you. But definitely not for me.

Then came Katherine. My husband really-really-really wanted to make her middle-name a varient on ... something ... he calls me because he wanted her name to be connected to mine like the other children's are connected to family. I yielded. In my defense, I was hospitalized and heavily medicated. I don't think he realized at the time that, of course, I would never again want to be called that. And that it would annoy me for years. Probably decades, although that remains to be seen.

It also annoys me now when he calls me "Sweetie" because thats what he's taken to calling Cassie. Another pet-name ruined. And I don't even have Petunia anymore! My Dad calls Cassie "his little princess" and he made the mistake of trying to call Katherine that too. Cassie looked up at him, raised her eyebrows (which is an impressive skill for a four year old) and told him firmly "No. I am your little princess. She will have to be something else" So, he immediately went with ... Petunia. Its like Katherine is a black-hole for my pet-names!

My husband doesn't understand why I don't want to share a pet-name with my daughter (and, women, if he doesn't get it then I can't explain it to him) (Sam broke up with a guy once because he called a cute waitress by Sam's pet-name) However, my husband grasps the idea that it makes me ... sad. And cranky. And sad. And really cranky. So, he's set about to fix the problem.

Yesterday morning, the kids were off wrecking havoc somewhere in the house, so I scooped up Katherine and took her back to bed with us. My husband on one side and me on the other to make sure she didn't fall off. She enjoys rolling and wallowing and cooing and bellowing for an attentive audience. Then, he did it. He called her by her own new unique pet-name. Quack-quack! As in, "Come here, Little Quack-quack" or "What a sweet baby Little Quack-quack is!"

I stared at him speechless. And then I found some speech. Some very displeased speech. And you want to know what he said? "But I'm only doing what you want! I've given her a VERY unique pet-name. Thats what you told me to do, so ..."

Let me assure you right now, contrary to his opinion, that I will NOT be amused if it sticks and the kids start calling Katherine "Little Quack-quack".


I have a friend that had 9 kids. Three were girls, and the boys were BOYS, so she really wanted her girls to be girly girls. When the last baby was born, she named her Julianna Patricia, and wanted her called that! Full name, every time. Well, just saying that was enough to make sure that she wasn't going to be called that.

One day her dh said, "Let me have that Julie-bug," and that was all it took. All 8 kids started calling her Bug, and it stuck.

Poor thing.

Leni | 12/04/2006 - 10:45 PM

For many, many years, my brother and I have called each other "Santa." Go figure that one out!

I recall reading that the novelist Walker Percy and a friend of his used to call each other "Rollo"; apart from that, I've never heard another case of two people calling each other by the same nickname.

Paul Burgess | 12/05/2006 - 01:51 PM

Maybe Leni's friend just needed more ... presence. I don't think mine have the nerve to cross me on this. I've always been a firm believer that you should choose your battle carefully, but once the choice is made you should fight to win the war.

My grandmother told me a story about my Dad and his best friend who lived next door when they were little. They called each other by the same third name. It disturbed her for decades that she could never figure out why.

Lucy | 12/05/2006 - 06:58 PM

I've got one for you, Paul. I have married friends who call each other by the same pet name: Bubba. Seriously.

Amber Joy | 12/09/2006 - 03:11 AM
Make Waves

Remember personal info?

Please enter the security code you see here

Note in a Bottle
Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):