May 5, 2021

Who's your daddy?

It happened again. While he was talking to his guidance counselor yesterday, Tank referred to his father as 'DADDY'. She'd asked him who else in the family attended Creighton, which is where he is going to college in the fall. He told me, while wincing, that he started to say Daddy went to Creighton, but he coughed or hesitated, trying to cover up his embarrassing hiccup. 

Back when Tank was a freshman he was talking to his golf coach on the bus after a tournament. He accidentally called his coach DADDY. Tank was mortified, sort of. Tank laughs at everything, including himself so he recovered quickly. The coach referenced Tank and his 'DADDY' moment at the end of season golf award ceremony that year. It was hysterical. Most parents in attendance knew Tank, or had heard stories. They died laughing.

I was loading the dishwasher just before bed when Tank was telling me about this guidance counselor incident. Mini came flying in from her study spot in the living room. She wanted to weigh in on the weirdness. The MOMMY/DADDY factor. Apparently, she once called Mr. Grand, her 8th grade English teacher, Daddy. She claims it's also an issue if she calls home while out with friends . . .

Mini:  Are our parents there? (avoiding the embarrassing Is Mommy home? or Can you tell Daddy I'll be home by 4:00?, etc.)

She was poking me, like HEY, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. I was busy loading and I grabbed her wrist and said STOP JABBING AT ME. PLEASE NOTE:  I'M LOADING THE DISHWASHER, WHICH IS YOUR JOB TONIGHT.

Mini:  Oh, yeah, but hey - this is your fault (avoiding the dishwasher job topic). You refer to Daddy as Daddy in conversation. Daddy refers to you as Mommy. 

Me:  What's my fault? I've always been Mommy. What was I supposed to do? When you turned 12 say, QUIT CALLING ME THAT, DAMN IT. GROW UP ALREADY.

I understand that it isn't cool to be in high school and call your parents Mommy and Daddy. I've never threatened them if they DIDN'T call me that. Our house has always been 'young.' Did I miss a memo with a timeline suggesting when I was supposed to tell kids to call me plain MOM? 

Growing up, we called our folks:  Mom and Dad. I never encountered a transition, or if I did I was too young to remember. It never dawned on me to suggest the kids move to more age appropriate titles for Coach and I.

I remember Lad telling me towards the end of his high school years that he wasn't calling me Mommy anymore. Fair enough. (My heart might have broken a little bit). I didn't threaten to disown him. Ed did the same thing, and told me that it was weird that they all still called me Mommy. 

I suppose it is, but it's what I've gone by for over 22 years. 

I was going to insert a photo of one of their cute cards when they were growing up that said "Mommy" on it, but then I found this card that Reg made me for my 30th using my Ernie childhood nickname. I don't remember him doing this. See, I've always given them plenty of options!

One of Ed's good friends calls his dad by his first name:  Huck, and always has. We knew this kid when he was 5 and he was calling his father Huck back then too. 

My college roommate was the oldest of 7. She called her parents Mom and Dad, but when speaking to her siblings she referred to her folks as Mommy and Daddy, as in "Do you know where Mommy is?" 

My own mom called her father DADDY, her entire life. Her mom was always MAMA. We thought this was hilarious as kids, because it was different.

Tank and Mini were all up in arms last night, like I'd done them a disservice. They were ready for a playful type fight. I wanted to go to sleep. This is how it is around here, teenagers come alive and wanna joke around just as I wanna crawl into my bed. I fall for it sometimes, staying up too late and engaging with them. This time I baled.



How about you? What did your kids call you? Or what did you call your folks? Did you have friends that called their folks something untraditional, like Butch? 
To all the mothers out there, or devoted aunts or godmothers, or favorite neighbors, etc . . . HAPPIEST OF MOTHER'S DAYS TO YOU!


Kari said...

Now you have me thinking...both my girls called me mommy when they were really small but it evolved to mom. They stopped calling me mommy earlier than 5th grade, now that I think of it. They've called me mom for years.

I've also called my parents mom and dad for years but over the past year, I occasionally call my parents mommy and daddy when I say goodbye to them. I don't know why! :)

Happy Mothers Day, friend!

Martha said...

This is why I love your blog - teenagers. I miss my kids being teenagers! They are great grown kids too and all still as funny as can be but of course they aren't at home for me to enjoy them all the time anymore. My daughter is the oldest and there's quite a few years between her and when the boys came along. When she was in around 7th or 8th grade she asked why rich people referred to their parents as Mother and Father and then jokingly started calling us that. Somehow the joke stuck and that's what all three still call us lol! So funny and so weird.

Kara said...

I was Mama while they were very young, and now I'm Mom. My husband was Dadda and is now Dad. I really don't remember a Mommy and Daddy era, and I'm going to assume that it's because we had the kids in bilingual daycares where Mama and Papa were more common than Mommy and Daddy.

My parents go by Ma and Dad. My maternal grandmother was universally called Sis. Her children, her siblings, her parents, her neighbors, everyone called her Sis.

me said...

I have an aunt Sis too! My father-in-law is Butch to everyone but me and my kids. My dad was Pop-Pop to my kids, and I started calling him that too. My kids call me mom - I think it was mommy when they were little and evolved to just mom. They are not allowed to call me "ma" - that grates on me for some reason.

Nicole MacPherson said...

I don't think my kids have ever called me mommy. They called me Mama when they were small, and I don't remember when they transitioned to Mom. Same thing with my husband (Dada to Dad). I call my parents Mom and Dad as well.

Ally Bean said...

My parents referred to their parents by their first names. I called my parents Mom and Dad from the time I was in 6th grade maybe until they died. I usually refer to my parents now by their first names. Have never thought about this before.

Pat Birnie said...

As with most of the commenters, my kids called me mommy when they were young - it evolved to mom as they 'matured'...10 yrs old or so. In a crowd I remember they occasionally called me Pat - this was when I was trying to ignore the endless "mom, mom, mom...." -- Pat always got my attention. One of my adult boys often refers to me as Ma, I'm not really sure where that comes from but it's unique to him. I think he started this as a teen as he thought it was cooler. (Ps I remember calling a teacher mom when I was very young. It was so embarrassing. I cannot imagine doing this in high school lol. Glad Tank can laugh at himself)

Pat Birnie said...

Wow - I must have been REALLY committed to comment. "I am not a robot" took me through about 8 times to prove I'm a real person.

Ernie said...

Kari - I think the evolving to mom and dad is the stage that we skipped somehow. I guess I thought it would just eventually happen and when it didn't - well, it wasn't really on my radar.

Happy Mother's Day to you too!

Ernie said...

Martha - Teenagers are fun, among other things. Hee hee. Glad you can come here to enjoy re-living the teenage years without the nonsense. I do what I can.

The mother /father story is so funny. Curly's good friend calls her grandma 'grandmother' because the grandmother is pretty wealthy and she wants to sound wealthy or upper class or something. Curly chuckles about that all the time.

Ernie said...

Kara - the bilingual daycare impact is very interesting. I asked my sister over the weekend if she ever remembers calling our folks mommy and daddy and she doesn't either. I'll have to ask my mom if we ever did.

The sis name is so cute and so funny that EVERYONE called her that.

Ernie said...

me - My folks are Nana and Da - my dad chose that because kids in Ireland call their father that - insert eye-roll. Hi, we're American, dad. Funny how some mom names can grate - I agree with the 'ma' name. We only use 'ma' when I make meatloaf and the kids quote the Wedding Crashers movie and holler, MA, GET ME SOME MEATLOAF. Funny about the Butch and the Sis. Some names are just hard to sub for something else.

Ernie said...

Nicole - Yes, somewhere along the line I guess I expected the to transition to mom and dad, but it never happened. Maybe I was supposed to nudge them that way?

Ernie said...

Ally - It is interesting to see what people called their folks. Looks like we just missed the evolving to mom and dad boat. I guess when my folks aren't present, Coach and I might refer to them by their first names.

Ernie said...

Pat - sorry about the anti robot grilling process. What on earth. My own blog did that to me recently when I was trying to respond to someone. Thanks for sticking with it.

Yes, thank goodness Tank can laugh at himself. He's a goof, so he's used to getting laughs. It's a relief he can join in with the crowd.

Coach started calling him mother MA later in life, kind of as a joke -but it stuck.

A family we used to Irish dance with had 7 girls. The mom was from Ireland and always frazzled, nervous the girls were missing their turn on stage or doing a step wrong. They drove in our car to competitions out of state a lot and it was a blast, but when the mom would not respond to them the girls always called her by her first name. They never got in trouble, just got her attention. I was like 12 and this BLEW ME AWAY. My mother would've been beside herself.

Gigi said...

If I'm remembering correctly, I was always referred to as mama and The Husband Daddy when Man-Child was small. I think it was sometime late in elementary school he switched to mom and dad.

And sometime in high school, he began referring to me as "ma" - as @me, it used to really grate on my nerves. I can live with the occasional "ma" now, but he usually calls me mom.

As a child (and even now) I always called my mother Mom and my dad, Daddy (sometimes Dad but usually Daddy) and I still do the same when talking to Man-Child about his father.

Gigi said...

Oh, and for @Pat and anyone else regarding the captcha thing to prove you aren't a robot...I generally just hit Publish Your Comment and ignore the "please prove you aren't a robot" thing and my comment posts with absolutely no effort.

Suz said...

This is such a cute post! I love knowing what other people use for reference or pet names.
I think I was Mommy for a long time, but believe it or not, I'm now MAMA. Usually followed by bear. I have a feeling they'll be grandmothers themselves and still call me Mama. I don't mind.
If we are in a crowd and I don't hear them, they will throw out a SUZANNE (or Susan) and I'll hear them. Go figure.
And Coach is Daddy. Maybe it's a girl thing?

I always called my mom, Mom or when I was being sassy: Bev. At least that's all I remember.
My Dad was Dad and I remember calling him Phil one time (his name) when I was around 13 and I was smacked for it, so it only happened once. Not sure why he was such a hard-ass about little things though.

Coach calls his Mom, Mom, and his Dad, Pops.

I hope you have a fantastic Mother's day; you deserve it my friend! XO

Ernie said...

Gigi - First of all, thanks for the 'just skip it' on the captcha suggestion.

To be honest, when Lad started calling me 'mom' it sort of grated on my nerves. I don't know why - maybe it was the tone he usually used when addressing me in high school, like he was annoyed to just have to say my name.

See that switch in grade school to mom and dad, never happened here. I think it was because there were always little kids running around, so we still answered to mommy and daddy.

My mom always called her father 'Daddy' and it was funny to us, since he was as old as time, but was still going by Daddy.

Ernie said...

Suz - We've never discussed it as a family - until now, since Tank has realized that he feels silly saying mommy and daddy in public. I love our mommy/daddy titles. It hurts my heart a bit that they want to move away from it, but I do get it. Maybe it'll resurface when they aren't so embarrassed by it.

The teacher from the high school who I sit for was doubled over when I told her how he called Coach daddy in his guidance counselor's presence. She knows his guidance counselor and she also knows the too-cool-for-school/goofball attitude Tank leads with at school. She was wiping tears off of her face when we described the 'incident.'

At least one of my kids has me programmed into his phone as MAMA BEAR - I think it's Tank, but might be Reg.

I love 'pops.' My dad's mom used to call him J.R. because he was a junior, so when my mom was calling my dad to dinner when we were kids and he wasn't coming . . . she'd holler in a nasally voice: J.R. - we found this too funny. We'd call him that sometimes when we were messing around. I think if I called my dad by his first name when I was a teenager, I would've gotten smacked too. He was always stressed about his job and was downright unpleasant a lot of the time.

Thanks, Suz. Wishing you a relaxing mother's day with all of your awesome people.

Suzanne said...

My husband and I are Mommy and Daddy, and I MUCH prefer Mommy to Mom. Almost eight is too young to call me Mom, I think!

I call my parents mom and Dad... although not sure when that started!

Beth Cotell said...

We are mom and dad. When the kids were younger it was mommy and daddy. I can't remember when they switched. It just happened naturally though.

Ernie said...

Suzanne- My kids are older and I still prefer Mommy to Mom. Not sure why as I call my mom 'mom'. Maybe just because I've been called Mommy for almost 23 years now.

Ernie said...

Beth - This seems to be the way things go . . . the natural way. I guess the consensus is that we are NOT natural. How did we not follow the natural progression here? I think my kids just need to accept me as mommy. Thankfully no one has added 'dearest' to my name.

Anonymous said...

We are Mommy and Daddy, but our kids are still small. I think it will break my heart if/when it evolves to just Mom. Mama I would be fine with. I still call my parents Mommy and Daddy, or by their first names if I’m trying to get their attention, or just to irritate them, ha. Sometimes in conversation to other people I call my parents by their first name “I told David it started at 3” and they’ll look at me weird and say “you call your dad David?” Well ya, that’s his name. My dad’s dad was called Pate to everyone, it was a nickname one of my aunts gave him when she was a child and it just stuck, not his actual name. But he was never Grandpa or Dad, just Pate and Grandma.
This was an interesting one to think about! And funny about Tank calling the golf coach Daddy, glad he has a good sense of humor! I remember calling a teacher mommy when I was about 7 and being mortified. Not really sure why, we spent a lot of time with teachers so I’m sure everyone probably does it at least once.

Ernie said...

AM - Yes, I feel similarly . . . I prefer the Mommy name even now that my kids are bigger. I do think it's funny that Mommy has stuck around for so long and I do credit it to the fact that the younger kids were still calling us that when the older kids were bigger.

The Pate thing is interesting. Tough to find a Hallmark card wishing Pate a happy father's day, etc. :)

I agree, I think all kids call their teachers mommy or daddy at some point . . . probably not in high school. That was just so dang funny. And his golf coach is a great story teller so when he relayed the story to the group at the golf awards assembly, it was hilarious.

Bibliomama said...

I can't really remember, but I feel like they called me Mommy for a long time - Eve still does often, but in a more joking way. My parents are Grandma and Poppa, and my husband's parents were/are Grandpa Mike and Nana Barb, and I don't know how that happened - we didn't sit down and hash it out, it just kind of settled that way. Both my kids accidentally called their teachers Mommy a few times and also called me Madame once or twice.

Mellie said...

I've always been Mamma and Dad has always been Daddy. Every now and then it's just Mom or Dad. I pretty much called my parents the same. I had a neighbor once who always called his mom Dian - her first name. I'm not sure why but the mom didn't seem to care either way.

Ernie said...

Ali - It's funny how those names just happen. My kids were not the oldest grandkids on either side, so the names had already been set. My cousin's son called his grandpa 'Money' and I don't know why but it was hilarious. And his grandma was Lala. Guessing homemade cards were their go-to since Hallmark wouldn't stock anything that worked for them.

Ernie said...

Mellie - I know some grandparents who fret about being called grandma, because that makes them old. I don't think I'm going to be fussy about what I am called. For now, I still prefer Mommy to MOM - it might be that the older kids who use MOM are usually speaking in a tone with me, that translates into something like: COME ON, LADY. Whereas Mommy is just sweet and implies nothing rotten.