I must have bestowed more names on my baby son than he’s lived days on the planet. I don’t mean official names, of course – he’s certifiably Reginald Michael, a nod to his forefathers and because we like the names.
No, I mean the sickeningly cute, soppy and cringe-worthy names that used to make me physically convulse in mute social horror, that are now tumbling non-ironically out of my mouth.
“And how’s little Munchkin Face this morning?” I’ll ask upon being woken at 3.45am. “Is my Little Squish feeling a little peckish?”
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On and on it spews, a tireless stream of sickliness that if I stopped to think about it would likely induce a mini vom even from myself.
His dad’s no better.
“How’s Cabbage Patch been today?” he asks as soon as he gets in from work. “Has my little Spitfire Pilot been behaving himself?”
Though seemingly harmless (aside from the odd cringing shudder), there are two major drawbacks to this. Both involve strangers.
“Oh, what a lovely baby,” coos the elderly lady on the bus. “What’s his name?”
It’s then that I draw a complete and utter blank. What is his name? Sugar Plum? No. Flower Puff? Definitely not.
After a long and terrifying pause I reply: “Reg, it’s Reg.” The woman looks at me like I’m on day release.
The second drawback comes with basic social interaction when some sort of transaction is taking place, like in a shop, when my mind isn’t totally engaged.
“Do you need a bag?” asks the checkout girl at Aldi.
“Oh, no thanks, Monkey Pie. I brought my own”
“Bonjour!” hails the friendly French guy at the Sandwich Bar.
“Hello my Little Poppet”, I reply, “and how are you today?”
Alarming to say the least. I wonder when it’ll stop, or indeed if it’ll stop. What if it doesn’t?
“Mum, I’m getting a tattoo” announces son-formerly-known-as-Reg, now 21.
“Think again, Squidge-Cheeks, think again…”