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What’s in a nickname?

What’s in a nickname?

My daughter doesn’t have a nickname. Nope, not one. She has dozens. We adopted her from the foster care system four years ago. I tease her that it’s a good thing she came to us already knowing her name or she never would have learned it because of all of my nicknames. I started calling …

She's proud of her nicknames

My daughter doesn’t have a nickname. Nope, not one. She has dozens.

We adopted her from the foster care system four years ago. I tease her that it’s a good thing she came to us already knowing her name or she never would have learned it because of all of my nicknames.

I started calling her “LeLe,” a shortened version of her first name, before I even met her in person. All I had was her photograph, and talking to it in such a personal way helped ease the distance and apprehension about what was heading our way — becoming a first time mom to a little girl who had already been through more trauma than most adults.

She fell for the moniker quickly once she moved in. In fact, I’ve rarely called her by her given name. I quickly became smitten with motherhood and my little girl, finding just about everything she did or said adorable. Then the pet names started to roll.

There were the usuals at first:

  • Cutie (This is actually her dad’s only pet name for her.)
  • Princess
  • Baby Girl
  • Sweet Potato
  • Sunshine

Somehow that morphed into random words used in a loving tone. She’s been “Pickle,” “Bug,” even “French Fry.” And then each nickname has launched spin offs. For example, “Peanut” turned into “Peanut Butter and Jelly Girl” and “Nuthead.” “Monkey” became “monk-monk,” which became “monka-monka-lu-lu.”
It turns out I’m not the only one with a fondness for nicknames. Lynn Edler of Texas said, “Every kid in my family has a nickname. Actually…several nicknames. In fact, it’s rare that we call anyone by their given names. The names come from all over. Some from circumstances. Some because they sound silly. My kids like (most of) their nicknames.”

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Colleen Payne, also of Texas, calls her daughter “Rosie Posie.” Rose her child’s middle name.

Shirley Prescott of Florida is proof that some middle names last into adulthood. “I was given a nickname from my father when I was very little. I like that he still uses it,” she said.

While nicknames are usually given out of love, sometimes they add a little humor to the difficult job of parenting. For example, Nicole Ramage of Oregon calls her son “‘Monster’ — because that’s what he is.”

“LuLu” is actually what I call my girl most these days. It started as an extension of her original nickname, “LeLe.” “Le-Le-Lu” came out of me in a singsong voice one day and it wasn’t long before she was simply LuLu.

Or LuLuBelle.

Or Belly.

Or Bellycakes.

See, they just keep coming!

She’s proud of her nicknames and doesn’t care if I’m shouting them in the grocery store or blogging about it for the world to see.

Does your child have a nickname? Did you have one as a child?

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