What Did You Call Me?

The term “Muppet” first appeared on the scene in 1956. Allegedly, Jim Henson combined the words “Marionette” and “puppet.” Although another source claims it was just something he liked the sound of, and he made up the “marionette/puppet” story while talking to a journalist because it sounded plausible. I’ll buy both versions.

At 6:26 a.m. on that fateful day in May, as medical personnel scurried about prepping an OR, Jon posted a cryptic status update on Facebook. “It’s time to play the music/It’s time to light the lights/It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight!”

The nickname stuck.

Several months after I returned to work, a former colleague stopped me mid-sentence. “Um, what are their names? I’ve only ever heard you refer to them as the muppets…” Well, what am I supposed to call them? “The Boys” had already been co-opted by our crazy dogs. I then started to wonder where all the various nicknames originated.

Nicknames can be random or obvious. They may allude to an adorable attribute or be as far-fetched as an allusion to a childhood show by a severely sleep-deprived soon-to-be dad with a theme song stuck in his head. Additionally, Search and Destroy are two (very) individual personalities. But when referring to my children, it feels so impersonal to call them “the twins” – “muppets” is much more unique. Lots of people have twins (it seems to be the trend du jour), but not many people have muppets. (If you disagree with this particular brand of logic, well, I reject your reality and substitute my own thankyouverymuch.)

The muppets godmother readily admits introducing her child-self as, “Ivy Marie Depner, Girl” so everyone would know she was “a people, not a plant.” I decided to conduct a scientific survey (by asking people around me), “What do you call your kiddos?”

The big winners were based on looks – by far the most common nicknames are “peanut” and “pumpkin.” Clearly these babies were far chunkier than the muppets at birth. “Monkey” was a close runner up. Given Search’s current proclivities for climbing and getting into the most mischief possible for someone with opposable thumbs, this is obviously an accurate depiction.

Nicknames for Multiples

  • Muppets – for when 27-weekers look like Statler and Waldorf
  • Pirates – two little 24-weekers, fighters on a mission to beat the odds
  • Twinkies – sweet siblings that taunt and tempt their mother
  • Honey-poos – sweet as honey and, let’s face it, twins produce a significant amount of poop
  • Kracken – this nickname belongs to triplets, I can only imagine the adventures in that house that must seem drug-induced
  • Two-tas – where IS that nice milk lady with all the deliciousness in her ta-tas? More please!
  • Pebbles and BamBam – have you ever seen twins interact with one another? BAM BAM BAM
  • Destruct-a-Cons – mobile twins (universally applicable)
  • Twindergarteners – sadly this nickname loses some potency once they become twinirst-graders (currently accepting applications for a more clever designation)
  • PEZ – a tasty candy, but also a convenient acronym for when you can’t get all the names straight
  • The Crazies – self-explanatory



Personality Descriptors

  • Noodle – a straight up and slippery kid when you try to hold her (tangent: the muppets laugh hysterically if you ask them if they’re “nooooodelly”)
  • Tank – mini-me on a mission, head down with a growling soundtrack as the kid crawls through everything in her path
  • Bug – tiny NICU resident curled up like a pill bug in a failed attempt to avoid wires and poking
  • Monkey-Moo – upset to be left alone, a sobbing infant cry of “ma-ma-ma moooooo” carried through the house (I am guessing the little primate then climbed up and out of his crib)
  • Fairy – former nickname, discontinued for PC reasons
  • Boogs – a polite version of Snot Ball because of endless nose picking



Appearances Can Be Deceiving

  • Pudge – for the child who simply can’t get enough and ends up extra squeezable
  • Chunky Monkey – loves dairy, LOVES dairy, and will likely be a Ben and Jerry’s fan once teeth are procured
  • Fat Boy – baby of a biker dad that is, well, fat (baby or dad – whichever works for your imagination)
  • Chunk-King – rub his little Buddah belly for luck or laughter
  • Narwhal Baby – for the peanut baby with one tooth displayed for an extended duration



Parent Hallucinating About Tasty Vittles (due to post-“I just had multiple babies” pregnancy diet)
Cheesecake, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Oatmeal, Sweet Pea, Angel Pie, M&M Eyes

And now let’s get things started
Why don’t you get things started
It’s time to get things started
On the most sensational inspirational celebrational Muppetational
This is what we call the Muppet Show!

What do you call your kiddos? And how did the moniker come about?



Filed under Names

8 Responses to What Did You Call Me?

  1. Holly

    I like to call them C & L. I guess I am just strange. I call Emily’s best buddy twins K & J (their names are Kaitlin & Jessica). I guess I like to seperate them in some way so they each have at least their own letter! They are so individual. It is endlessly fascinating to me. =)

  2. Sarah

    Oh, thank you for the laughs! That was great.

  3. Winifred Ahern

    Stick with Muppets — by far the best choice. Truly, it’s interesting to read how people choose nicknames — how long do they last? Til kindergarten? beyond? forever? G.G.

  4. Orrrrr, my nickname for my beautiful amazing fiancee…Stephalupagus. Perfect tie-in to the muppet theme (even though snuffy was one sesame street)

  5. Joanne Hamann

    Does Steph like that nickname Paul???? Mitch was Pumpkin Peanut Pie (no idea where I got that one). Right now, at 15, it’s “Hey you.” – The cute nicknames don’t last 🙁

  6. grandpa stavo

    when i was growing up i did not know you can be colled different otrher than your natural given name , if you are Jonatan then you are not Jon , Patricia not Tricia etc etc , i become American so the poor Gustavo has been colled: Gus, gespacho, gestapo,.gestevio, and even …Bruce!!!! i dont know how but true ciao tutti love gpa stavo

  7. Joanne Hamann


  8. Dalia

    oooohhh- i remember BRUCE!!!!!

    Naomi was called Bucky before she was born- Jason wanted any name associated with his beloved buckeyes (Ohio State) so i let him have the in-utreo name
    now we call her munchkin- self explanatory (over 2.5 and still wearing 12-18 clothes)

    the one in my tummy is currently called pumpkin since we found out i was pregnant in October- and at this point it looks like i have a pumkpin in my tummy!

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