Why do the Mexicans or other Spanish speaking folks call their youngest sons or daughters "Mama" or "Papa"?
Why do the Mexicans or other Spanish speaking folks call their youngest sons or daughters "Mamá" or "Papá"?
I've never heard mamá or papá used for children, but I've heard mamí and papí used for everyone. On the TV show "Modern Family" the mom calls her son papí at least one time that I heard. One of my Spanish teachers would call us mamí and papí from time to time. (among many other things) It seems to be just another term of endearment, like precioso/a or cariño.
My dad calls my sister and me "mama" and "papo", respectively, the stress being on the first syllable in each: ma-ma, pa-po.
This could be a cultural thing, as I have even heard some folks call their youngsters "little momma" or "little daddy" [here in the US, mind you] - indicating possibly(?) they recognize their kids have the potential for procreation and may some day have kids of their own...similar to calling a wee lad a "little shaver" even though we know pretty well he isn't sprouting any whiskers yet!
When calling your child Mama or Papa, it's to comfort the child if the child is hungry, sick or gets injured. As oddly as it sounds. My family has carried on this tradition and now I call my nephews and niece papa or mama. Another word we use when describing a child as being "cute" is fejo meaning, "ugly." We say it in a way as if you saw the cutest kitten or the cutest baby and we say it with love and affection. We don't literally mean the child is ugly. Our culture is very different, but you have to be raised in the culture to really get it. My mother's friend is a white lady and one day she heard my sister say to her baby, "come here my ugly" and of course the baby responded to her gesture. . . She then replied, "you shouldn't be calling your baby ugly, you're going to give him a complex." We had to explain to her that it's a culture thing and that we literally mean that the child is cute, by saying this. She didn't quite understand, but that's just how our culture communicates. And we do it with a lot of love.