Posted by: mattcolvin | November 5, 2008

Sort of a Tiny Potamus

Our youngest child is Hosanna K. Colvin. She is 1 year old in 17 hours, i.e. tomorrow, November 6th.

Each of our kids has had a different nickname in their early years. Some of these have stuck longer than others. Ezekiel was a “‘boo”. Naomi was, and still is, “a little bunny.” Isaiah is still our “boyo.” He can be quite ridiculous sometimes:

Hosanna’s first nickname was given to her by the midwife who attended her birth. She referred to her as “just a little peanut” because she was so little. But she has since received another moniker from A.A. Milne’s poem At the Zoo: “There’s a sort of a tiny potamus, and a tiny nosserus too” (“but I gave buns to the elephant when I went down to the zoo.”) There is a baby hippo at a zoo in England, named Imani. And — I don’t know, I guess we must have thought that Hosanna’s babyish behavior was reminiscent of that little hippo in the video: sort of wobbling, chewing on things, nuzzling its mother, etc.

Talia, being the sensible one in the family, was of course scandalized that we were calling our cute little baby a “hippo.” We replied that we were not calling her a hippo, but a potamus (“Don’t you know what potamus means?” And I hope you do, because that’s all the explanation you’re going to get.) But not even really a potamus. Just sort of. And not a large one. Just a tiny potamus. So there you have it.

To make matters worse, when Hosanna is being a particularly agonistic baby, wrestling and squirming and pinching her mother while she nurses, we say that she is “a tiny nosserus too.”

Anyway, said potamus is now 1 year old, or rather, she is sort of 1 year old. And so she got a carrot cake tonight.

Sora complains, “That’s not a very flattering picture of the cake.” Yeah. But the potamus is looking OK, so I’ve posted it.

Here’s another picture of her, without any cake at all:



  1. She is a very sweet, little gal. I see Isaiah is trying to train her to be a gymnast like her siblings. She seemed to be enjoying being walked about with a finger to hold onto last weekend, and soon she will be hard to catch! I agree with Sora that Hosanna resembles Matt more than the others; her hair may be growing more slowly than his did though. He needed a clipping by 13 month, but Hosanna is months away from that situation.

  2. I think I understand Talia’s objections. She is thinking, “What’s to prevent them from assigning ME some off-the-wall nickname? I don’t want to be known as ‘warthog’ or ‘wombat’!” She may be thinking of Martin Niemoller’s warning “First they gave ridiculous nicknames to the infants and I did not speak up…..”

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