Nicknames have always been kind of a big thing for me. My mom is known as “Bigs” and when I say that, I mean that most of my family, friends and even my dad do not use her first name. They just call her Bigs. The funny thing is she’s not big at all. My uncle is known as Harv but his name is Chuck. My cousin Rex is also Chuck but sometimes likes to be called Biz or Pete. He married a girl named Anna who we call Tone and they had a daughter named Adrianna who we call Kiki. I call one of my best friends from high school Das or Dassy. My grandma wants to be called GG. Growing up, my family called me Patty Girl and my little cousin Chris was Critter B. Are you starting to get the picture? This can get really confusing! I can remember my husband not knowing which family member I was talking about on more than one occasion in the early days of our relationship.
I don’t think you can plan nicknaming though. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, people would ask me if I was going to call her Addy and I would tell them that I didn’t know. We would have to wait and see if the nickname suited her. As it turns out, it does and some people call her Addy and this was a much easier name for her little sister to learn so it works. As a baby, her nickname was Little Sweetheart. My middle daughter was called Pay Mae as a baby and now we call her Pait. At daycare, some people call her Pay Pay. My son is only 10 months and we call him Big Guy or Boo Boo. I’m not sure how my husband feels about the Boo Boo but I think it’s cute and so do my daughters.
Oddly enough, I do not have a nickname for my husband although some of my family members call him Geraldo. Don’t ask, it’s not for the reasons you might think! In law school, some of my friends called me Melt.
Nicknames can be fun but what if you don’t like the name that your family and/or friends have given to you? My advice is to speak up early on because some nicknames tend to stick. A few of my aunts and uncles still call me Patty Girl, which I don’t mind. I prefer not to be called Pat but some people do. I have never liked to be called by my full name, Patricia, but your name is your name so there’s not much I can say. Contrarily, nicknames can be changed and they often do so speak up and let it be known if you don’t like what people are calling you or your kids. As we grow, and as new people enter our lives, new nicknames are born and others are lost in history.
I wonder if I will still call my son Boo Boo when he is 22? What’s the trick to making a nickname stick?