Why We Call Our Adult Kids “The Spawn” (and how they got their nicknames)

The Spawn in their younger days.

I’ve been wanting to write a post about this subject for some time, because every once in a great while we receive comments on our site like this:

Please don’t refer to your children as “spawn”. It sounds so disrespectful, even though I know you don’t mean it that way. They either have names, or they are your kids or your children, but not spawn.

And this:

I am annoyed every time you refer to your children as “spawn”, the definition of which is: “the product or offspring of a person or place (used to express distaste or disgust)”… You also refer to your daughter as “Piglet”… I wonder how your daughter feels about being referred to as “piglet” now, and named as such for all the world to see (as well as her friends) on your public site. Have you ever asked her? How would you like being referred to as “piglet’ or “spawn”?

The Spawn - GypsyNester.com
The Piglet, Decibel, and The Boy starring in one of many stage shows – aren’t they the CUTEST?

Not wanting to upset or annoy folks, I’ve felt the need to clear the air, but it didn’t feel right before I got my hands on the hilarious evidence behind our nicknaming.

As anyone who has ever stuffed a keepsake, momento, or child’s ex-refridgerator-gracing paper into a box (or sixteen) for safekeeping knows, retrieving said items can be difficult.

Traveling full-time can take this task from difficult to nearly impossible.

But recently we invaded our storage unit and made a beeline for the beat-up plastic bin labeled “Mommy Treasures.” The very box that held the documentation needed for this post.

Why we call them The Spawn

The note from our kids that spawned "The Spawn" GypsyNester.com

Back when The Piglet returned to the nest for her first college summer, the kids gave me a beautiful bracelet and a cake for my birthday.

Along with this note (it’s wrinkled because someone threw it away while cleaning up after the celebration, but I loved it so much that I dumpster dived to retrieve it).

I knew it was The Piglet who wrote it — mainly because it mentions food.

Oh, and I know her handwriting.

The kids were so tickled by my love for the note — and the fact that I so obviously loved it more than the bracelet or the cake — that they began calling themselves The Spawn.

Who are we to argue?

Since a definition was brought up…

Merriam Webster says spawn means:
: to cause (something) to develop or begin
: to produce or create (something)
: to produce young especially in large numbers

— and some stuff about fish and mushrooms.

Knowing The Piglet’s sense of humor, she was probably referring to the fish and mushroom stuff.

It took me quite a bit of time to find the exact definition provided by the commenter above (I finally realized it would be best to Google the exact phrase – duh).

I found it in the Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words (buried in amongst entries about fish and mushrooms) – at books.Google.com. Unless the commenter owns the aforementioned tome, I’m thinking he had to dig fairly deep to make his point.

So – thanks for noticing?

Their nicknames

Early on we decided that for our site — and the book that spawned from it — we wouldn’t be using our adult kids’ real names, so we used their childhood nicknames instead. We are extremely protective of The Spawn’s privacy, and ask for their approval before we post anything that we think may tread on iffy territory.

The Piglet: We’ve always called her that. It might have started as a Winnie the Pooh thing, but I do know that from day one, she was a big eater.

She was a ballet dancer throughout her school years and we would have to double what would be considered a regular family dinner – just so we’d all have enough to eat.

To top it off, she’s one of those enviable people who eat and eat (and eat) and never gains a pound.

She’s fully outed herself as our daughter, has written for our site (see examples here and here), leaves comments as The Piglet, and still refers to herself as such in family situations… she’s just fine with the moniker.

Not sure why she has a microphone.

Decibel: The girl is loud. When she sings, it’ll blow your hair back. Also, the name is kind of pretty if you strip it of its meaning.

So it stuck.

On a side note, throughout her formative years I often heard from folks about how sweet and shy she was.

I could never quite drill it into people’s heads that she was, in fact, the loudest person on the planet.

Then they got to know her better. And their hair blew back.

The Boy’s first plane – he made it out of plywood.

The Boy: You’d think that it was because he was, well, the boy – but you’d be wrong.

His first flight instructor, a gruff Texas native, never, ever, referred to him as anything but The Boy.

I was suspicious that this was because he couldn’t remember The Boy’s name, but by the time The Boy was in high school, they were together so much that I knew that couldn’t be the case.

We gave up and started calling him The Boy too.

Do The Spawn Mind?

Decide for yourself (we received this e-mail as I was writing this):

“In celebration of mom popping us out and thus being able to celebrate Mother’s Day, we would like to invite you to a sunny, deck BBQ brunch at Decibel’s house.

We will take care of the menu – you can assume the grill will be fired up. -The Female Spawn”

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Does our usage of The Spawn annoy you? Isn’t that note the best birthday present ever? Don’t forget to share your sweet/funny/weird family nicknames with us!

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20 thoughts on “Why We Call Our Adult Kids “The Spawn” (and how they got their nicknames)”

  1. So I have to say, I’m amazed that anyone would have a problem with what anyone else lovingly calls their children. My kid is 21. She is called Spawn, Offspring, Pookie, etc.. she calls me Spawn point, Lifebringer, etc.

    The names for your kids are awesome, obviously y’all have a great bond! Parenting done right 😉

  2. Yeah, all those people with no sense of humor…? They can take their balls and go home. This is great. My kids refer to themselves collectively by all manner of weird and wild and funny nicknames — including spawn and offspring. In fact, I found this post while searching for other nicknames people use because my kids have come up with some hilarious ones that I can’t recall at the moment and I was trying to jog my memory. Thanks for sharing the obvious love in your family. It’s a great story!!

  3. Ya know as long as your kids are fine with their nicknames, other people need to stay out of it. We only have one child and he has many nicknames. “Goober” (in our house that is actually a term of endearment as in, “You’re a goober, but I love you”) “Goose”, “Monkey”, “Turkey” “Bubba-Joe” and “Goose-Monkey” (When he’s really being spastic) We asked him when he was little if he minded his nicknames and he said, “No, why would I, I have nicknames for you guys.” My husband is often refered to as a “goof-puff” (long story) and I am “Hammy Mammy” (another long story) We have friends who’s kids nicknames are “Peanut” because her head was shaped like a peanut when she was born (it didn’t stay that way)and “Poot”(you can guess the reason for this one). Poot, who is 5, referes to himself by his nickname, so I’m guessing he doesn’t have problem with it. We have other friends who have 4 children and they refer to them collectively as “The Hoard”. As long as there is love in the family and the nicknames are not used in a derogatory way, they become endearing terms, not embarrising monikers.

  4. I’d tell some of those people to mind their own goddamn business, don’t they have better things to do then get upset over the nicknames of your kids? We all have little stories behind the nicknames we give our kids or wives that are usually endearing (and always personal).
    So nope, find the nicknames funny, not annoying.
    Frank (bbqboy)

  5. I would suggest to those that don’t approve of family nicknames: get a life! Don’t be so judgmental! Every family is different, with their own terms of endearment. I’ve met Piglet and Decibel, both beautiful and talented young women, and I don’t think their nicknames have harmed them in any way! I don’t think the nicknames describe them at all!

    As for the “spawn” label, I’ve heard much worse. Again, who cares! What works for one family may not work for another. I see a warm, loving family where humor is woven in the fabric that binds them together. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now! And, by the way, “Mr. Excitement” says hi!

  6. I love this story, having a Decibel, and a The Boy, I understand completely. I wish I had a nickname for them as a collective, but that may only come with three, and we only have two… though the four of us could very well be a Collective being Star Trek freaks and hubby often using the phrase “the transformation is complete”. While my boy is called The Boy mostly by his sister, my loud child will answer to anything. Even her friends have taken to calling her the first thing that comes to mind. Her most popular monikers include Geege, Weege, Jaloo, boobie, boobie bear (she really wanted boobs and got them), butt-butt, smooshy-mooshy, and from her good friend Tik-tik.

  7. I have wondered, tho I have never said anything. Super cute stories and I too would have dumpster dived for that note.

  8. somewhere in time we were sisters, you and I. My children have always been spawn. To the horror, I suppose, of the web trolls, it was I who created it without asking if they minded…I knew they wouldn’t. We four have nicknames: hubby= Fatbasterd (FB, he is neither heavy nor a basterd), I am SkinnyBitch (akaSkinnyB, I am neither skinny and although monthly bitchy, not one by nature I assure you), out tall lanky 24 yr old son, Slim or red velvet (it has to do with lots of wine and the resulting bathroom visit he will never live down) and my baby girl, aka Puppy….aka MiniB. Well because we are two peas in a pod.

    While grateful for the back story, it is only out of curiosity.

    It’s unfortunate when some don’t live by the rule of laughter and light hearted love. Oh well….march on Mr and mrs. You have fans….who love every word you throw at us.

    Regards, kim

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