I'm not sure when we started to use pet names in our family, but they are pretty well established now. Whenever I sign off my emails to our daughter, I always use the name of a character from the 1971 film Gumshoe. For some obscure reason our daughter takes on the name of one of Rupert Bear's best friends when we send a text message. My wife and I have been jointly associated with a line from Return of the Pink Panther for years. Little wonder then, that our granddaughters are loved, in order of seniority, as Speckly-Woo, Immy and Icky. Immy and Icky being five month old twins.
In most cases this odd renaming process is likely to have resulted from a memorable line in a film, comedy sketch or perhaps just a moment of lunacy. The latter instance being the kind that can only be experienced when a joke has developed a life of its own and is then liberated from those sharing it. Don't tell me you and your family have never succumbed to a collective fit of giggles while the cause has taken off madly, like an untied balloon, around the room. Usually in an attempt to bring about order everyone has a go at predicting the joke's next move. Ultimately, of course, the joke comes to rest but the most memorable remnants remain in our heads, only to resurface as esoteric 'one liners' and exclusive reference points.
All joking aside though, pet names are intimate labels we choose for those closest to us. It can be a reminder of a shared moment, a humourous association or even an unintentional slip of the tongue. In short, it's special, private and protective........which is precisely why I will be using pet names when making reference to our grandchildren in future posts.
© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges