Home > Family, Parenting, Russians > The Day I Lost my Pet Name

The Day I Lost my Pet Name

From the cartoon: Mama Bear and Baby Umka

 

My husband’s pet name for me used to be “Umka.”  If you’re Russian, you know that Umka is a cartoon polar bear cub popular in the early 70s.

Let’s ask the Russian what the similarities are between his wife and a cartoon polar bear:

“You are white and you like the cold when you sleep.”

(ed. note: White as in blonde, not honkey. If you were wondering.)

Let’s ask him if there’s anything else about the cartoon bear that reminds him of his wife, say, being cute and cuddly:

 “Sure. You are cute and cuddly.”

OK.

But here’s the thing.  This stopped after our son was born because really, he was Baby Umka now. I was now Umka’s mother. And that’s fine. I think mother bears are awesome — they’re fiercely protective and loving and strong. And polar bear mothers are just amazing. I love their black eyes and lovely long noses and beautiful fur. One of the first pieces of art I bought when we were getting the nursery ready was an illustration of a mama and baby polar bear gazing at the moon together.

Can you believe after ten years of marriage and having this Umka be a part of our lives, I only just now watched one of the cartoons? It’s on YouTube (of course) and even comes in a subtitled version. Please take a few minutes to watch it — it’s beautifully drawn and utterly charming. And totally makes me want to talk like the mama bear, who for a bear has a very sexy voice. (Is that wrong?)  Also, check out the lullabye she sings to baby Umka. You will want to rush out and learn Russian immediately so you can sing it to your little ones.

How about you? Any pet names you care to reveal? And like me, did your pet name mysteriously disappear or change after your children came along?
 

Categories: Family, Parenting, Russians Tags: , , ,
  1. March 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    My husband and I call each other the extremely boring “honey,” which I once swore I would never use but here I am, using it daily. But once our son was born, and we dubbed him “little bear” (because we couldn’t bear to call him what his grandma was calling him, which was “my prince”), I became Mama Bear, and I collectively call hubby and son “my bears.” So we all gained nicknames! Maybe now we can lose “honey” – and maybe I’ll call my little bear “umka!”

    p.s. I think there was only one woman in all of the USSR in the 70s who did cartoon voiceovers, she sounds so familiar! The cartoon is lovely.

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