Tuesday, November 23, 2010

more campfire chatter - titles

Thanks for all of the great feedback on the flu shots. I hadn't even considered the mist and that is definitely something I'll ask about when the kids go in for their check-up, next month. We try to avoid needles, at all costs since the last time our children went in for their vaccinations, it took four adults to hold down one child. They've been traumatized ever since.

More importantly, I've been traumatized, ever since.

The flu really worries me since I do recall having it and being unable to move for almost a week. The last time I had a vaccination against it, we had three preemies at home. Both Charlie and I went in to receive the shot and within a day, Charlie was totally incapacitated. He told me that the reaction that he had to the inoculation was probably worse than the virus itself, so he was willing to take his chances and would never do it, again.

The children are still very sick, coughing like I've never heard them cough before. They've been up all night, coughing. Despite the Vicks and the cough suppressants and the humidifier running 24/7. They've also had temperatures in the 102 range. While they did have a sudden burst of energy this morning, once I called the school, within an hour they were crashed out and stayed down for the rest of the day. My poor little dears. I'm really sorry to see them feeling so terrible, but certainly used their "downtime" to get a load of things done today.

It's remarkable how efficient you can be when your children are camped out on a couch watching movies for 12 hours, straight.

Alright, throw on a log ... I've got another campfire question. This question surrounds what your children call people, and what children (other than your own) call you?


For example, in San Diego, with the exception of their doctors, the children referred to all adults by their first name. Or, if it was a more formal situation (i.e., Montessori or Sunday school), they referred to the teachers by Ms. or Mr. First Name.

When I was a child, I remember calling adults by their last name. But it never seemed like the thing to do in California. We had one friend - and one friend only - who would insist that their children would call us by our last names. Since titles were an important issue for this family, we requested that our children reciprocate the formality. Which, initially confused the kids because they couldn't understand why the mother AND the father had the same name?

Now, we live in Virginia. And everyone ... every single person we've met ... goes by their last name. The teachers in school. The neighbors. The bus driver. The mailman. I don't mind at all, it's just a noticeable shift in the way that we've been asking our children to address people and how children are now addressing me.

Our children seem to be fine with it, although it can be a little tricky when we meet people with a last name like Horwechezters.

"Mr. Ho... Mr. Hor... Mr. Horwickysister?"


"Uh. Can we just call you Mr. H?"

In all honesty, it's very odd for me to introduce myself to a child by my last name. It definitely seems that once kids start calling you by your last name, you're a bona fide adult. And
since all the children in the neighborhood are calling me Mrs., I swear I've aged at least 30 years. I've got more wrinkles on my face and my hair is turning white.

I suspect this formality is a regional thing.

What's it like where you live?

Or better yet, what do you prefer?


  1. The mist is fantastic. Our ped does flu shot appts, where you just run in and BOOM you're done. I have 2 kids w/dec birthdays and we go for their yearly in July because I REFUSE to take healthy kids to go sit in the DR during flu season (and that nasty nasty stomach virus everyone around here seems to have). Point being, you can run in and out w/the least possible exposure. Or goto a pharmacy. I'd go now - remember, it takes 2 weeks (if not 4?) to be effective! If you wait another month, they won't be protected until Feb! They did all 3 of my kids in one vax appt.

  2. I grew up STRICTLY calling adults by their last names. never, ever considered calling an adult by their first name, and was probably twenty years old before I felt comfortable doing so. I was raised that it was extremely disrespectful to do so- and now that I'm an adult, and the parents of my longtime friends want to be called by their first names...I cannot do it.

    so far, I'm Mrs. lastname to my friends' kids. which, yeah, in spite of what I already said: it feels weird. I think it's confounding for me, because I'm a pediatric nurse, so I'm used to kids calling me by my first name.

    I really like Mr/Mrs Firstname. it feels like a good compromise. it's a bit warmer than last names, but not so informal as just using straight-up first names, which I'm not entirely comfortable with, either.

    (...can you tell I'm massively on the fence on this issue? I don't like the idea of my kids calling adults by their first names. I just...adults and kids are not equals. It's one way of noting that. But I feel too young to be Mrs. Lastname!)

  3. I would have thought that Virginia was still enough "South" to have the adults be Miss FirstName and Mr FirstName. It's generally an old southern tradition. I grew up in GA and then lived in Louisiana and now back in GA and its been that way everywhere, especially for younger kids. My kids are teen and pre-teen now, but some of their friends still call me Miss FirstName - I tell them its either that or Mrs LastName. No calling me by just my first name. I find it just not to be proper. Of course, when I visit the schools, I get called "kid name's" mom.

  4. I grew up calling people Mr and Mrs so-and-so and still have a hard time calling older people by their first name unless told to. (I'm a social worker in a nursing home so it does come up a lot). As far as my son goes, it depends on who it is. One family we call Miss___ and Mr. ___ and their kids do the same. (Just to confuse the issue, she's a teacher at my son;s school so we had to tell him to call her Mrs. ____there)Most other friends are called by their first name. I've pretty much let them take the inititive. A lot of my son's friends call me "Tucker's mom" and I've been answering to that for a few years. I'm not sure why because we don't have a complicated last name. I think it's just a matter of what you feel comfortable with and of course, wanting your kids to be polite while doing it!

  5. People, including all children, just call me by my first name. I ain't no better than they are. Actually, they're better than me, because they have had less time to sin! :O

    ~Cindy! :)

  6. AS for titles - we blogged about this a while ago.

    We're from the south originally (especially my wife) but were living in Northern California until our recent move back to FL. We had our kids use Mr. or Ms. with first names. Our CA friends thought we were crazy. But now that we've moved back to Florida it's the norm here. The blog post explains it all better.

  7. I'm in Northern CA (SF bay area). Had my first kid at 28, which is young for here. Almost everyone goes by their first name here with kids, or by Ms. first name, or by Auntie First name if they are from some cultures. This suited me really well for quite a while, but lately (I'm 41 now) I've been thinking that a little more formality might be a good thing, especially with the friends of my youngest (6 year old). When I go in to help in his class, for instance, I kind of wish I was Mrs. Reimann (or really, Dr. Reimann since I have a PhD, although that's a little over-the-top formal for me still. Plus confusing to 6 year olds). I'm still happy to just be Anita with my 13 year old's friends.

  8. Christina(pa)11/23/10, 9:35 PM

    We had a handful of people we called by their first names, more often than that was last name. Our DD calls very close friends aunt/uncle even though they are technically not. The friends on our street it's Miss Megan etc. I have a hyphenated last name and so asking them to call me Mrs X-Y seems cruel. When some call me Mrs Y, I turn and look for my MIL, which is not a good thing in my case. I like the more informal approach for a lot of things in life and this is no different. I think adding the Mr/Mrs in front of first name is respectful enough in a lot of cases. Exceptions to this are teachers, principal etc.

  9. Depends on how close we are to the famiy. For the most part my kids say Miss/Mr firstname it seems to be the perfect balance. I hate being called Mrs Lastname then I would have the same name as my mother inlaw. No thanks I am the nice one so dont want to be confused by the evil Mrs Lastname :O)
    Around here everyone goes by either 1st name or Miss/Mr Firstname even some of the teachers do that especially if they have a tough lastname


  10. I live in the California bay area. I have 2 preschool age kids and they call their teachers/coaches/other moms Ms/Mr first name or just first name. I didn't realize this wasn't the same everywhere. Interesting!

  11. It's totally a regional thing. I was born and have lived in and around the Seattle area all my life, and, while it depended on the circumstance under which I knew the adult, I always went with what the adult preferred. Contrast that with my sister-in-law, who was born and raised in Alabama, and has my four nieces (those who can talk) either calling me "Aunt Deanna" or "ma'am." Am I really old enough to be a "ma'am?" I sure don't feel that old!

  12. Just saw on the news that there are a number of whooping cough episodes going around. Not sure if they are on the East Coast yet but California and Texas are getting hit kind of hard.

  13. Our kids always called very close family friends Ms.(first name) or Mr. (first name). It just worked out that our circle of friends did that. We were Ms. Heidi and Mr. Paul and that is what our little neighbor kids call us which is their parents' choice.

    Once our kids entered school and started being introduced to new adults, we taught them to use Mr. and Mrs. Last Name.

    Now as young adults they still call their friends' parents Mr. and Mrs. and their friends still call us Mr. and Mrs.

    I like being called Mrs. Last Name. I did, after all, choose the man who holds the name and I chose to take the name and without him I wouldn't have these two kids so, yeah, I like it.

    I think it's up to each family and I don't take offense either way. I also think it might be regional.

    But if my kid EVER calls an adult by his/her first name; I beat the tar out of him with my Bible. OH STOP.....I'M KIDDING!!!!!

  14. I've lived all over the country (Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, DC, Boston, and now Los Angeles), most kids I've met always say "Mrs/Ms/Mr _____." If the adult wants, they can always say "oh, just call me ___ (their first name). I was raised the same way, and all my friends always do the same and teach their kids that way.

    The strictest place by far was Texas, where so many kids still say ma'am and sir.

    Honestly, I like it. I think it's polite and good manners for kids to call adults Mr/Mrs/Ms _____. Plus, I think it teaches good habits overall. :)

  15. When I grew up we called most everyone as Ms or Mr "first name" (Example: Ms Sharon or Mr Tom) unless they were very, very close friends of the family. When I was raising my son, I kept that same principle. I felt that saying Mrs. Jones or Mr. Jackson sounded too formal and daunting but wanted him to still be respectful and aware that they were his superiors. As my son reached his teenage years, we became more lax and let him decide what to use. All persons of authority were properly addressed, (such as Dr. Jones, Pastor Smith, Officer Brown) without question.

  16. This is going to sound strange but try rubbing the Vicks on the bottom of their feet and have them put socks on before going to bed. No idea on how it works but it does! It's one of the only ways we can control our youngest daughter's cough when she's sick.

  17. Hi there! I've been following your blog for a little while now, but haven't commented. (Can't for the life of me remember how I stumbled across it, though.) I just wanted to wish you good luck with your flu shots, and pass along a little information that maybe you haven't heard. It really sucks that Charlie was sick after getting a flu shot once, but it's incredibly unlikely that the shot made him sick. More than likely, he already had the flu, but hadn't experienced any symptoms yet, and they just happened to show up around the time he got the shot, or it's possible the shot just exacerbated them and brought them on a day or two sooner than they would have come naturally.

    What a lot of people don't realize, I think, is that the typical flu has an incubation period of up to two weeks or so before you'll show symptoms, and the flu shot actually takes a week or two to really take effect. So there's a two week period before you get the shot where you could already have the flu and not know it, and then a two week period after you get it where you're still susceptible to the flu because the vaccine hasn't fully kicked in yet. Since most people get their shots once flu season has already begun, this four-week period is pretty crucial, and it's not uncommon to get the flu shortly after getting a flu shot, for this reason. A lot of people tend to interpret this as the flu shot making them sick, or even take the "I got the shot and still got sick, so why bother" attitude, but that's not really accurate. Oh, and I got the flu twice last year. It sucked. I'll definitely be getting the shot this year, even though I probably hate needles more than your kids!

    Oh, and for what it's worth, where I'm from there's no cultural standard as to what children are to call adults, so it varies from family to family. My parents raised us to call adults by their first names unless asked otherwise, which was fine, but to this day, I'm always a little unsure of how to address someone older than me unless they are expressly introduced to me. Can I call my new friend's mom by her first name? Would she be offended? What if her last name is different from my friend's??!? Etc. It totally stresses me out and I'm an adult! No good answer, I guess.

  18. I am Ms. Michele, when the Mormon kids aren't accidentally calling me Sister Michele. I suspect they would call me Sister S, but they don't know my last name.

    I love that they are calling you by your last name. I wish that was more common out West.

  19. haha! Shayna's friends call us Shayna's Mom or Shayna's Dad, or just by our first names. Don't really care... either one is fine by me... but you know we are in Cali. So, I am of no help!

  20. Good call on the mists. Regarding the names, we do a combo. In our church we refer to people as Brother Lastname and Sister Lastname so it's how I introduce other adults and how I introduce myself. When it is not someone who is the same religion as we are, I introduce myself as my first name. If I am called Ms Firstname I'm okay with that. For people that we know outside of church, I generally ask the adult, or default to a first name. We're in the southwest.

  21. I grew up calling adults (except for people like teachers or doctors) by their first name. My children's friends called me by my first name except when I was working at the village school and then they had to remember to call me "Mrs S.....". I have even called my parents by their first names since I was about 12. That was their choice, not mine, and they insist my daughters call them by their first names too. My children call me "Mum" though because we prefer it that way.

    But I'm from England, not the US where things seem to tend more towards the formal, so maybe my input isn't very helpful!

  22. Def talk to your doctor about the side effects of the mist. I got it and was DOWN the next day (for a whole week nonetheless). I hadn't been THAT sick in YEARS!!! my hubby is in the military so they're required to get one each season, but i have gone back to NOT getting any shots or mists for myself or my son in regards to the flu and we are simply drinking a glass of REALLY, REALLY FRESH PRESSED orange juice (made yourself. not the ones out of the box... ;)) every single morning. it works wonders!!! so far anyway ;)

    I miss CA for their easy, laid-back attitude! On the East Coast, we grew up (and now have our son) just saying the initial of a last name in our neighborhood (aka Mr. H). That was still easy enough for us, as we grew up in Germany having to address everyone with their appropriate titles (Dr. even for the ones with a PHD, Prof., etc...).

  23. btw. have i told you that i am DEVOURING your campfire discussions??? :) LOVING IT

  24. We usually went with Miss Gigi and Mr. Hubby for our son's friends and vice versa. It worked out really well - not too formal and not to un-respectful (? not the word I'm looking for - but it's 6:00 am - I need more coffee).

  25. The mist is a great choice and "lasts" for up to 6 months, while the shot only "lasts" up to 3. Be sure to check that your insurance company covers it...some don't :(

    My kids refer to all adults as "Mr/Ms. _____ (insert first name)". The exception to this is with older adults and then they refer to them using their last name. First names are easier for younger children to remember yet using a title before the name issues the respect that I believe children need to show adults.

    Love your blog and your campfire questions! thanks for always being so honest and real!

  26. I agree that it's a regional thing. I grew up in Western Maryland and it was expected (at least in our circles) that all adults were called Mr. Mrs. Last name. Now as an adult I live in the southeast and it seems to be that many adults are called by Mr. Mrs. First name EXCEPT for teachers, Doctors, etc. They are still Mr. Mrs. Last name. The Mr. Mrs. First name was so foriegn to me and sounded so disrespectful at first. It's grown on me. The other thing that may be a southern thing is that children have to say "yes maam, yes sir", etc. I had never said that growing up and it sounded so strange when we moved here. Now I expect it and my children say it also and it's nice!

  27. We have our son call most all adults by their first name, however, he must add a Mr. or Ms. in front of it... i.e Ms. Jen and Mr. Charlie.... However, all Senior Citizens at church he typically calls Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith. This is how both my hubby and I were raised here in Texas!

  28. I don't know if it is a regional thing or more a formality thing....I live in Ohio and I definately don't want my kids' friends calling me Ms. I also volunteer at my son's school and the teacher asked how I'd like to be adddressed, the students call me by my first name. I do know families whose children address any adults by their last name though. It's just not for me. If someone introduced themselves as Mrs. or Mr. so and so I would expect my children to respect their wishes and address them that way. I'm with you, I feel old enough already sometimes...I don't need someone calling me Ms. to make it even worse.

  29. when we moved on to our block 10 years ago (northern nj), my oldest was 18 months. we met a family with four kids, ages 6-12, and i distinctly recall being FLUMMOXED when the parents insisted i be called "mrs.husband's last name". (i had never changed my last name).
    fast forward 10 years ....
    i am THRILLED that all of the kids i know/meet call me mrs.husband's last name and am so happy that i deferred that decision to a family with older kids/older parents (they'd been down this road!!).
    for me, it's a respect issue -- calling me by my first name is something that my PEERS do, not children, and i do sort of visibly cringe even at "miss first name" (my last name is easy, if it wasn't mrs.first initial would absolutely suffice!).
    those same children from the first paragraph are now "allowed" to call me by my first name (2 of them are over 21!), but still call me mrs.lastname ... which i really do find to be a sign of respect.
    i'm curious to see if this is a northeast phenomenon ...
    i grew up in PA and it was absolutely ALL mr/mrs last name ..
    even now (at 38!), when meeting someone much older than myself (especially my friends' parents), i will call them "mr/mrs".

  30. Definitely go for the mist. It's painless, just tell them the nurse is going to tickle their nose.

    I'm in Michigan, and my kiddos (and other kiddos in the 'hood) refer to adults as Ms. or Mr. First Name. I honestly do not even remember what I did as a child, but since I grew up in Michigan, probably the same thing.

  31. I live in VA (not too far from you) and for the most part we have the kids call people by Mr/Mrs First Name. Only in public school does my son use Mrs. Last name (we only have half day K so he's in both our neighborhood public school and his daycare's private K to get a full day!).

    I'm not big on formality so it's fine for me... though growing up I remember last names being more popular.

  32. I grew up addressing adults as Mr./Mrs last names. I still have a hard time calling anyone older then me by their first name.

    I'm not sure what I'll do when I finally graduate college and start teaching elementary school. My maiden name was Lichtenberg and my married name is Fürste. I still have a hard time pronouncing it. I can't imagine 1st or 2nd graders trying to pronounce it. I can't go by Mrs. F (to much like f. u. )and depending on were I teach Mrs. Allison might not be appropriate either.

  33. I'm not sure calling Mrs. Lastname is a formality thing as much as it is a respect thing. BUT, I also don't think it is less respectful/formal to call someone Mrs. firstname if the last name is truly difficult to pronounce. For me, it is more about the title than what comes after it. I have no problem with kids who call me Miss first name, and most of the time, those are little kids. (my four year old son's friends) My middle school and second grade sons' friends call me Mrs. Lastname. I like that. I think their parents like it. I think it is respectful and just all around well mannered. I can't think of any who call me Mrs. firstname or even by my first name.

    My four year old's friend calls me by my first name and while I don't do anything about it, it is a bit odd to me. Usually my kids correct him and tell him to call me Miss Jani. (they are floored that he calls me by my first name..it's sort of funny to me they think that)

    Ultimately, this isn't a hill I would die on in terms of other kids. But FOR ME, I like to teach my kids to use titles. It just shows a level of respect to me.

  34. We moved from Colorado (where I was Mrs. Anderson) to Charlotte, NC, where everyone goes by "miss" or "mister" and their first name. I'd kind of rather be "mrs." than "miss," but I like the informality of it. We love calling our friend Melissa "Miss Missy" too!

  35. We teach our children to use Mr./Mrs./Miss so and so...unless the person is very familiar...then we use first names. I prefer it because it is one way to teach them respect and how to be respectful. It is already a really hard job these days to teach kids how to be respectful. I am not going to give up that tool willingly.

  36. I'm from NJ and I grew up calling adults Mr. or Mrs. Whatever. Once I started dating my husband-to-be, though, he had two children and I was just Krys to them (Miss Krys before we officially started dating). I now volunteer at a school and I've been Mrs. S., Mrs. LastName, Miss Krys, Ms. S., Ms. LastName. I met my husband's nieces and nephews and knew them 9 years before we married so I was just Krys to them, not Aunt Krys even though hubby is Uncle Jack to them.
    I guess if they're not cursing me out, I'll answer to almost anything, but I do think that the first and most important thing is that kids respect adults (for the most part) and what they call us isn't all that important. If I had small children, it would be Mr. or Mrs. LastName... until advised otherwise by that same adult...

  37. I grew up and live in MD. We always called adults by Mr./Ms. First Name, unless they preferred to be called by last name. We insist on our daughter doing the same. It's a show of respect, without being too stuffy or confusing (same last names, etc.) I'm not sure, but I think it may be a southern thing, as I have many southern influences.

    I have also noticed that in the deep south, adults call other adults in authority, Mr. or Mrs. First Name. It's very weird to me when a man 30 years my senior calls me Ms. First Name. Again, it's a sign of respect.

  38. I live in New England, and most other families do Not use Mr and Mrs Lastname, it seems.

    When my oldest "graduated" from preschool, I decided that it felt disrespectful for 4 and 5 year olds to be calling me by my first name, so I asked to be called Mrs Lastname, and asked my daughter to call all adults the same way. (I have a close friend who does this out of respect for my wishes, but insits that having friends call *her* Mrs Latname is uncomfortable because she's a teacher and that's how she's known at school.)

    When my daughter started school (at age 6; we homeschooled for a while), we enrolled her in a private religious school (Jewish) where all the teachers are call "Morah Firstname." Morah means teacher, but it was confusing at first because we'd all grown so accustomed to using last names for adults.

    There are still some kids who call be by my first name, and by now it kind of rubs me the wrong way. But I'm kind of old fashioned that way; I always called friends' parents Mr and Mrs Lastname and the familiarity of first names seems disrespectful.

  39. I live in Virgnia and I grew up calling grown ups by Mr./Mrs. firstname, but that's only if they are family friends. If they are not family friends or if they are one of my teachers then it's Mr./Mrs. lastname.

  40. For those folks that live in VA and go by Mr./Ms./Mrs. First Name ... I'll be it's just the formality of our neighborhood.

    Whenever we meet a new family in the 'hood, the parents will always say to our children, "I'm Mr & Mrs. Their Last Name." And if they have children, they'll introduce their children to us as "Children, this is Mr. & Mrs. Our Last Name."

    The fact that we're introduced that way, makes us less likely to tell the children, "Just call us Charlie & Jen!" So, we'll stick with it. Perhaps in no time flat, we'll be appreciating the Mr & Mrs Our Last Name thing, and I'll stop turning around to look for my in-laws every time I hear some one say it.

  41. Here in Southern Ontario, every single child I know, all the way up through high school calls me by Mrs. Last Name with the exception of one family who moved into our community and they do Mrs. First Name. Every one on our street does, in our kids' school, in our church, when we are introduced to collegues of my husband, so it's not just one certain group.

    I guess I'm with Jani...I feel like it's a respect thing. I still call most of my friend's parents Mr. and Mrs. Last Name even though I'm almost 40. (Many have said "call me First Name" but it's hard for me.) It's just the way it is here--I think to use first names would seem really strange!

    Any other Ontarians here that have it the same? Or is it just our city?

  42. Holycow we wouldn't survive down there.

    Up here, we call everyone...and I mean everyone, "Aunite Firstname." So, to everyone and their kids I am "Auntie Maija."

    Seriously. Then when the kids forget your name, they just yell out, "AUNTIE," which is fine except when you're in school and everyone is looking around wondering who's saying hi to you!

    Even most of the teachers in our school go by their first names. "Miss Joy, Mrs Kelly, Mrs Tammy, Mrs Kari, Mr Mark, Hey Teacher..."

    So, the reason all the kids call everyone "Auntie" is because most of us up here are related to each other, so you pretty much ARE their Auntie, or first-cousin-but-old-enough-to-be-called-Auntie, or used to watch their kids and they called you Auntie.

    Must be an "Up North" thing! :)

    *Funny thing though, I am really good friends with one of my old High School teachers. She's only a few years older than me. Anyway, I STILL have a hard time calling her by her first name. So I call her, Mrs. K. She still gets irritated because I'll say, "Mrs. K, can you bring me a beer!" haha...

  43. I pretty much go with what makes individual people comfortable.....most kids call me Mrs. Hall and my kids are starting to call other adults by their last names. However, they call my best friend by her first name b/c it's what SHE requested.

    It's gets really tricky when you get into parents with different last names, step-parents, etc.

  44. Even now I married and (sort of) grown up I still call my friends parents Mrs/Mr Lastname.
    Could be the way we were raised, my sister wont let her husband call my parents by their first names! So although my husband calls my parents by their first name, my poor brother-in-law is stuck calling them Mr/Mrs last name!

  45. In NY it was always Mr. or Mrs. So and so.

    Down here in NC, a lot depends on where the person you are dealing with comes from. We are in the south, but it's not "southern", where I live most people are from the northeast.

    Southerns like to call people by their first name with a title. You'd be Miss Jen and Mr. Charlie. I like that.

  46. I grew up in and still live in SE Michigan. Growing up I called adults by their first name, except in public school where it was Mr./Mrs. Last Name. The only exceptions to this seemed to be people with "real" titles like my doctor and dentist, although I always remember calling our pastor by their name and not using Rev. etc.
    I think part of this was that my parent's social circle rarely extended outside of our large extended family, so everyone was called by their first name. In our community everyone had known each other for years and acted like family so it was always first names there as well.
    The only time I encountered using Mr or Miss with a first name as a kid was when we visited family in GA and VA. So my Aunt's mom was always Miss Betty and her sister was Miss Sharon. When we were in GA a few weeks ago with my boys it was the same, they called everyone outside of our immediate family Miss first name. I think that it is much more a southern thing.
    In general my boys call everyone by their first name unless we encounter someone who requests otherwise and so far where we live, we haven't. Even at Sunday School the teachers all just go by their first names and our pastor prefers to be called by his first name too. It's all pretty casual for us.

    And for a comment on a post about titles my verification word is Kings lol

  47. One other thing to take into consideration for the flu shot vs flu mist debate.

    The flu vaccine is an inactivated virus. The virus is not live and cannot cause the flu. The post above describing the incubation period and effectiveness above did a great job.

    The flu mist contains an altered version of virus that is still "live" and could actually cause the flu. It's not likely, but it is possible.

    We're in DE and trend around here seems to be Miss, Mrs. or Mr. first name. Growing up in Western PA everyone was addressed by Mr. or Mrs. Last Name, except for my close friends parents who were Mommy/Daddy Last Name.

  48. Haven't read all the replies yet, but even though we are in New England, I have NEVER allowed my children to address ANY adults by their first name. It is always Mr or Mrs, or in less formal situations, Miss - as in "Miss Jen".

    I was raised (in the South) that it was extremely disrespectful to ever address an adult by their first name.

    It irks me to no end to go into a bank or store, and have a teenage (or young looking) call me by my first name. In fact, I totally corrected my 24 yr old DS's girlfriend who thought she could do so - nope, not happening.

    My two cents - and yes, in this area, totally against the grain. But I feel respect and courtesy NEVER goes out of style, wherever you happen to live.

  49. Also wanted to add, my kids are expected to use sir and ma'am. Again, respect.

    And for what it's worth, when looking for a preschool for my children and deciding between two good ones, I went with the MRS one since the other one allowed children to use first names for the teachers. Would have been a mixed message.

    Can you tell I feel strongly about this?

  50. I grew up calling everyone by their last name. But then, I'm the same age you are.

    We live in Germany and titles and preserving formality are very important here. We have the formal and the informal forms of "you" with a whole set of convoluted rules to go with it. To make it more fun, those rules are changing with times. But not everyone is changing along with them, so it's So. Much. Fun. Yeah. Small children are permitted to use the informal "du" for everyone until they are old enough to know better, at about school age, when they must remember to use the formal "Sie".

    Anyway, I mention all that to show how important the whole formality thing is. The kids address all adults by last name unless they are close family friends. End of. Last names are also used among adults in any formal or professional setting, including doctor's offices, school, etc. I recall *always* being called by my first name in the US when called in to the doctor's office or waiting for anything else. Here, that would never, just never, happen.

    Oh, and here in Germany, if a person has multiple titles, you must use them all in addressing him. So, Herr Doktor So-and-So, or Herr Doktor Professor So-and-So, or....well, you get the picture. If you really want to be petty, you can actually get someone into trouble for not using your proper titles.

  51. I grew up in Minneapolis, and addressed all adults by the first names, as was the custom in the North/the Upper Midwest. I now live in DC, and it seems like kids all address adults by their last names here. It's sooo odd to me, must be a regional difference....

  52. Here in good ole Oklahoma we use Mr. and Mrs. Lastname. I would prefer when children refer to me they say my first name or Mrs. Firstname.

  53. I grew up calling adults only by their first name, and many took it as a sign of disrespect. While I wasn't being disrespectful, I got the same reaction as if I had been acting like a little punk. When I had kids, we taught them to call adults Miss/Mr First Name, mostly to protect them from that kind of reaction. We have one adult whom the kids call Mrs Last Name. That is what she is comfortable with, so out of respect for her, that's what the kids call her. For some reason it has never seemed strange to them.

    We also have a close group of friends where the adults are called Mama/Papa First Name. I think that's a unique situation because of our amazing friends. To me it reminds my girls that they have a community that is helping bring them up, and if they can't talk to me about something, they have some other "mamas" who can help them.

    Anyway, I think I'm digressing. Personally, I like Mr/Miss First Name.

  54. Here in Hawaii, it's the same as Alaska, I guess. We are the outliers, and it's "Aunty Firstname" and "Uncle Firstname" here for any adult. It is what's considered respectful here.

    And here, too, Finnskimo, if kids don't know your name they just call "Aunty!" And every woman in the area turns around....


  55. I was taught - not matter how strange the last name and my parents had some Polish and Greek friends so there were some doozies- to call people Mr/Mrs. Last Name. It wasn't until I was an adult that I heard people calling adults Miss/Mr First Name. I ask people what they prefer when I introduce them to my dd. Her friends call me Mrs Last Name because it was too confusing for them to remember my first name and they all knew dd's last name.

  56. I live in Fairfax VA and we (and most other kids' parents that we encounter) go by Mr and Miss FirstName. I think you're probably right in pegging the Mr/Mrs LastName as an isolated neighborhood formality. It might also have to do with older kids. Our crowd is the toddler/preschooler/kindergarten set. Perhaps things will change as our kids get older?

  57. First, I grew up in VA and I was told we addressed all adults with their last names OR we could say "mrs. mary" rather than their last name - but not just Mary. That was considered disrespectful. Mind you, this was 50 years ago but I am on the other end of the spectrum now and I prefer to be called Mrs. Sally rather than Sally from a small child. And older child - fine - no problem. What is the cut off age? I'm not sure.
    As far as the flu shot, yes, I always get it, does it "give" you the flu? No - the shot is a killed virus, no way can it "give" you the flu. I believe the mist is a live virus - I know I saw signs up on nursing homes last year saying if you'd had the nasal mist, you could not come in the nursing home to visit patients for a few weeks afterwards.

  58. I grew up in Hawaii. Everyone was always "auntie" or "uncle". Moved to Wichita Kansas and there it was Mr./Mrs. Last Name. Down here in Texas, where I live now, it's Mr./Ms. First Name. I like Texas the best. Still polite, not too formal. But I think that's just the Southern way of things.

  59. I forgot about the mist! My kids get that as well.

    You've been away from the south to long. ;) I have always encouraged my boys to call adults by their last names. Although we've found that often the adult who is being addressed sets the bar as to what they want to be called. Great conversations!! Good luck with it all. Marg.

  60. PS Trader Joes just opened up in Greenville! I'm in love! PEanut butter cups, almond clusters and Joe Joe's! (this is not a good thing for my Coleman thighs!);-) Marg

  61. My kids call people however they are introduced. Our neighbors are called by their first names, the librarians are "Miss Cindy and Ms. Beth" and the school teachers are "Mrs. So-and-so" [elementary] or "Miss Michelle" [nursery school]. I guess here in Jersey anything goes!
    Do you have The Berenstain Bears Visit the Doctor? It is a great book, and is largely responsible for my 5 and 3-year-olds literally rolling up their sleeves or pulling down their pants to get their shots. We always read it leading up to their annual exams or flu season, and it truly does the trick. Well, that combined with the promise of a trip for a "special treat" from the dollar spot at Target!
    As for the fever-cough combo: I took my son to the doctor this week for the same symptoms, and fortunately was told it was "just" a cold. But the doc also said that RSV is making the rounds like crazy, and both kids and adults are getting it. My daughter had the nasty cough with no fever, but she was old enough for a few days of the 12-hour-Delsym; my son had to make due with the Vicks Waterless Vaporizer. Hope they get well soon!

  62. Haha...welcome back to the East Coast! I'm from New England. I'm 26 and I'm still calling the neighbors Mrs. So and So because we were trained to do so. All attempts to get my brother and I to call them by their first names now that we are "adults" have failed. As for me, I have patients trying to call me doctor which is giving me small heart attacks, I'll just go by Mel thanks!

  63. Time flies... I do follow you for almost 4 years , since I started my blog , too. Henry is so big ... and also going to kindergarden. Congratulation to Henry and to you. You do have a great family.
    God bless you.