I just picked up my two children from their school-supported daycare, at which time a young woman put her finger in the air and motioned for me to have a moment with her. I stepped aside and proceeded to listen to her complain that my son had been calling her, and other students and teachers, "sweetheart." She told me that she and some of the other students did not appreciate it, and that this behavior was unacceptable.
I know my face must have resonated with a "you must be fucking kidding" look. Sweetheart! He’s five. If it is not endearing and humorous, it certainly cannot be very disruptive.
I wanted to to tell her that "bitch" and "my ass" are bad words, but "sweetheart" has no malice. One can deduce bad intent if it comes from a greasy man at a bar, but my son is a cute 43-pound Guatemalan boy. (By the way, when I asked him to get on the scale, he said, "OK, honey.")
I am so taken aback that this women has nothing better to do than to rat on a little boy who is trying to be funny. I informed her that there are a lot more destructive behaviors to focus on than a child saying "sweetheart." This daycare worker just would not let it go. She argued that if she or any children did not want to be called sweetheart by my son, he should follow their wishes, and that this needed to be addressed.
I don’t know what makes me more angry — the fact that this woman is just being STUPID (a word my son is not using) or the long-term effect of not letting a five-year-old be OK with who he is. What’s next? Not using the word "love" or "friend"? No, I know: the word "honey."