Thursday, November 21, 2013
Let's talk nicknames
Dear Boy's name is technically a nickname. We gave him a formal and unusually classical name that is for documentation and passports and doctors' offices and perhaps business sometime in the distant future. His preferred shortened name is for friends and family and the labels on his clothes and the sign above his cubbyhole at childcare. It's the name he calls himself.
It's the name he calls himself when we practice shaking hands and say: "Hello, my name is Mummy, what's your name?". He's still figuring out what "how are you today?" means.
But he also knows himself by other names. He knows when I call out Buster or Buster-man or Buddy or Buddy-boy that I am calling for him. He likes the sound of Buddy and swills it around his mouth and repeats it over and over.
He knows Darling as a term of endearment but not what that means. When we pay for groceries or sneak through the drive-thru, he calls out 'thanks, darling' from his pram or his carseat.
He knows Sweet Potato and Cuddlepie are his funny names. He laughs when we turn the Small Potatos themsong into his own tune and impersonate Billy Crystal's pecan pie schtick from When Harry Met Sally.
His baby nickname was Smoodger. There are official and 'urban' definitions of this word (yuk) but we used it in our own way - inventing new use adjectives and verbs: his cheeks were smoodgy and perfect for smoodging. It briefly morphed into the Smoodger-hideen. Which is a dumb nickname. For so many reasons.
As he grows his names grow and change too. Some will fade away and some will stick. Some will be acquired in wierd and wonderful ways. Some will amuse and some will mortify him. Some will be dumb and some will be said with love. And I wonder which ones he will hold on to.
Lilybett is one of my nicknames. One that my grandfather chose for me when I was small and he remains the only person to really ever call me that. And now I've chosen it for myself here because it was always my favourite.
Do you have a collection of names for yourself or your kids? Do they come with stories or are their origins lost with time?