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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Stinker

What’s with this weird habit of referring to one’s kid as “stinker”? Even if it was cute at some point (which I don’t think it was), it gets old after months of consistent use. 

“Where can I take my 21-month-old stinker in this weather?”

“My stinker is only 3 months old but we have the same problem.”

I knew I’d hate moms’ FB groups. 

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6 thoughts on “Stinker

  1. Dreidel on said:

    Ah, Clarissa, so many hours after your post, still no comment. So here’s an ancient reply. When I was growing up many decades ago as a child. I heard children refer to each other as “stinkers” (rarely as “stinkpots”), but never heard adult parents refer to their off-spring as “stinkers.”

    Years later when I was a young physician, a few of my disgruntled young mother patients occasionally let their composure slip, and would refer angrily to their old-enough-to-talk-back young children as a “little shits” — presumably a worse condemnation, but fortunately not very common.

    I haven’t communicated with young mothers in several decades, on FB or in person — so one of your other readers will have to advise you of the current trends.

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    • “refer angrily to their old-enough-to-talk-back young children as a “little shits” — presumably a worse condemnation, but fortunately not very common.”

      In the South I assure you it is very common (but often almost a kind of endearment). When an adult is telling a story and says “And then the little shit….” there’s more humor than exasperation.

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  2. paranoid on said:

    When I was young, in the 1980s, the word “stinker” was reserved for a kid doing something mildly naughty or deceitful. Using it in conversation without anything to provoke it is new to me.


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  3. TomW on said:

    I would guess that the origin of the term is that babies/small children in diapers stink when they need to have their diapers changed. Changing diapers is parental effort and the stink is a signal that it needs to be done. Misbehavior also requires parental effort, so the transfer of the association of the bad smell to misbehavior seems pretty straightforward.

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