Monday, August 12, 2019

The nicknames we stick with

My name doesn't easily lend itself to a nickname. There is not an acceptable short form for the name "Lauren," so my parents and family members often came up with other nicknames for me. Some of these - true to nickname form - were shorter versions, while others - somewhat inexplicably - were longer than my original name.

My husband, however, happily goes by the shortened version of his name. And when he and I sat down to think of children's names before having our son, we did consider the power of the natural nickname.

We eventually settled on a name that doesn't lend itself to any easy nickname, so we often end up calling our son by other monikers. "Buddy," and "Dude" are the most common when we are in public. (I have special names for him that I try not to call him in front of others lest I cause embarrassment.)

I never really thought about the source of those catch-all nicknames until I read through this recent piece on guy nicknames. I suppose I always knew they had to come from somewhere, but I hadn't realized that "Dude" is more than 300 years old.

As my son gets older I do wonder if there will be a time when he asks for us to start using an adapted version of his name, or to stop using various nicknames for him. Perhaps it will happen during his teen years, when he is trying to form his own identity. I am OK with that, even though I am bound to mess up and still call him a special nickname from time-to-time. Maybe as long as I don't do it in front of his friends, he'll let me carry on using them.

Does your child have a special nickname? Talk about it in the comments.

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