The world of celebrities is something of a parallel universe: “we” don’t live in it but “they” do, and via TV, movies, magazines, and the internet, we get to peer in like visitors to the zoo.
This is, of course, unless you become a reality celebrity. These are folks who, willingly or unwillingly, get to cross the boundary and become part of that alternative world.
One such new resident is Nadya Sulaiman/Suleman (the spelling varies), a California mother who recently gave birth to octuplets after In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Unless you live under a rock, there’s little need for me to talk about the controversy that lead to her becoming famous, but what fascinates me is her new nickname: octumom.
I’m opting for octumom rather than the more popular octomom because I believe it’s more accurate. As a portmanteau of octuplets and mom, octumom makes sense. Using octo- as a prefix suggest “eight-somethings” and she certainly is not eight moms. Using octu- is much more indicative of its origin in octuplets.
It’s made harder because the pronunciation of that second vowel is unstressed and becomes a scwah - an unstressed, neutral vowel that sounds like “uh.” So both octomom and octumom end up being pronounced as “octuhmom.”
I may be on a hiding to nothing here. Although CNN agrees with me on using octumom, a quick google reveals that octomom gets 1,600,000 hits whereas octumom gets a paltry 105,000 hits. So, the vox populi is against me. On the other hand, the majority are not always right.
Still, I’ll go with my choice until someone convince me otherwise. As if it really matters anyway!