[M.M.X.I.V. 356] Addressing redux

Last week, I had mentioned the idea of addressing extended family with prefixes such as “Cousin,” “Aunt,” and “Uncle.”  The widespread use of this could very well be a cultural thing, and I had a comment on my blog explaining that the vernacular equivalents are frequently used in India regardless of age.

Yesterday, at my synagogue’s annual חנוכה (Hanukkah) party, my Aunt Lori was conversing with me about a student of hers that had Asperger syndrome.  One comment led me to an interesting observation, and it regards addressing people.

I would guess that the following social story would be part of anyone’s Embarrassing Stories, whether the person is neuro-typical or neuro-diverse.  I can definitely remember it happening to me at least once.

The child raises his or her hand to get the teacher’s attention (for the purposes of this story, assume that the teacher is female).  In preparing to address the teacher, the intended address would be “Mrs. ______” or perhaps “Ms. ______”.  But instead, the address comes out as “Mom…”

The most salient time for me happened when I was in second grade, and had the verbal tic “Mom” come out instead of “Mrs. Moen.”  Thankfully, it was not in front of the whole class, but frankly I don’t know if I would have even reacted to the other students’ reactions to that, given my basic ignorance of social cues when I was in second grade!

It’s amazing the types of verbal tics that people can have, and I wonder sometimes why they happen.  I don’t really have the time to go into psychological research about that right now, but figured that it makes an interesting discussion topic… or perhaps even a blog prompt for someone else who reads the post!

Your opinions and stories are more than welcome in the comments section.


Today is the three-hundred and fifty-sixth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes fifty weeks and six days.

Today is the three-hundred and fifty-eighth day of Mission 441.  Eighty-three days remain.


2 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 356] Addressing redux

  1. The verbal tics thing is a really interesting one, Noah – and, over the thirty years of my teaching career, I had many a child addressing me as ‘Mum’ ‘Mummy’ – or, more worryingly, ‘Dad’! I always put them at their ease by laughing – but one child got so nervous and worked-up that she was unable to stop the habit and, after a week or so, burst into floods of tears, so embarrassed was she. I think school can be very stressful for a lot of children (it certainly was for me) and, during the day, kind teachers are the closest to parental reassurance a child has. I confess I was both very strict and motherly with my charges.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this; I had completely forgotten about this aspect of teaching!


    • It is wonderful to hear the perspective from a (former) teacher that had that experience… so that it seems like it is a generalisable occurrence.

      Sometimes (unfortunately), the teachers make better role models that the child’s own parents… as you alluded to.


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