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What’s In A Nickname?

on June 22, 2012

  My family has been calling me by the same nickname for as long as I can remember.  I could tell you what it is, but then I’d have to kill you.  You see my parents and siblings are the only ones who get to call me by that name.  My husband doesn’t even try it because he knows that it is a special name reserved for those who put up with me  were with me through my formative years. He can call me something else….and he does.  It isn’t that I don’t like the nickname my family bestowed upon me as a very young child it is that I’d be embarrassed to have someone else use it because it would probably have a different connotation.  I like it when my parents use it because it makes me feel loved.  It sounds right coming out of their mouths or my sister’s mouth but there are just things that only some people can get away with.  My family’s nick name for me is one of them. That makes me wonder…..will the nick names we have for our kids embarrass them some day also?

Our oldest child is  the only kid who doesn’t have a permanent nickname.  His given name, Erik, really can’t be shortened down. We’ve called him “Bud”, “Bub”, “Buddy” and when he got older “Brutus”: affectionately of course. He’s received nick names from other people over the years (I’ll get to that later) but we never really came up with one for him that stuck.  I wonder if he realizes how fortunate he is??

When our oldest daughter arrived I gave her a perfectly lovely name: Brittnie. I like that name – always have.  I have no idea why within weeks I started calling her “Pretty Britti” other than the fact that parents coo ridiculous things to their newborns when trying to get them to sleep in the middle of the night. So her name was shortened down to “Britti.”  Unfortunately for her it doesn’t end there.  I love all things teddy bear and have from my youth.  Bears are cute and cuddly and sweet and I love them.  So was my daughter so she became “Britti-Bear”.  In the years that have passed it got shortened down to “Bear”.  (Since she’s become a teenager I’ve noticed her nick name fits her disposition when she comes out of hibernation every morning.)  She doesn’t seem to mind us calling her that.  She’s a good sport. She  has an awesome collection of teddy bears because, well, what else would we buy our Bear?

Our next daughter’s nickname actually makes sense to people.  At the age of five months we found out she has a severe esotropic form of strabismus and the treatment path we chose for that was to put her in glasses.  Really thick glasses that made her eyes look HUGE. They still do actually. So as a baby with her big huge eyes under her little glasses she looked like a bug.  She became our “Lyndsie-Bug” or “Buggy” or “Bugsy”…you get the drift.  It’s a little ironic that “A Bug’s Life” was released the year she was born. She honestly thought the movie should be about her when she got old enough to watch it.   We have a few friends and family who call her “Lyndsie Lou Whoo” but for the most part, she’s just “The Bug”.  She too is a good sport. She has recently informed us that since that is her nickname we really ought to buy her a Volkswagen Bug when she turns 16.  She’s a smart bug!

When we named our youngest young Jakob  many people thought I’d put the “k” in there so people would know it was ok shorten it down to “Jake”.  Nope! If I wanted people to call him Jake I would have named him that.  I like his full name.  I also like “k” in boys’ names obviously. Anyway, I fought the nickname thing with him the longest. No “Jake”.  When he was about two he became fascinated with the movie “Finding Nemo”.  His favorite characters were Crush and Squirt the sea turtles who say “Dude” a lot.  Because they were his favorites, he started saying “Dude” a lot too, which is hilarious coming out of the mouth of a two year old.  He said it so much we started calling him “J-Dude” and a nickname was born.  At least it isn’t “Jake” I guess….

My all time favorite nickname story has nothing to do with me.  When our son went to college he began attending a campus ministry there.  It didn’t take long for the campus pastor to come up with a nickname for him. Our last name is Wedel,  pronounced to rhyme with “Cradle” (now you know what our birth announcements said!)  Before I go further let me just tell you what I tell every telemarketer/new person I meet: “Yes, that is seriously the way it is pronounced.”    “I know it doesn’t look like it should be pronounced that way.”  “I have no idea why there isn’t an “a” in it, there just isn’t.”  and “Because that is just the way you pronounce it.”  Ok…back from side track.   Our son hadn’t been on campus long when he was given his new nickname: “Weeds”.  Our son, ever proud of his heritage, said, “That isn’t how you pronounce it.” The response, “That’s ok.  It’ll grow on you.”  And it did.  He now proudly wears a backwards baseball cap with the Chi Alpha on the front and “Weeds” on the back.  

I guess nicknames don’t necessarily have to make sense.



4 responses to “What’s In A Nickname?

  1. Tonya says:

    Great blog…and You’re one I’ve never found a nickname for. lol I miss you !

  2. momshieb says:

    Great post! I grew up desperately wanting a nickname, but I never did earn one! My sister, on the other hand, is named “Elizabeth”. She has been known at various times as “Liz”, “Lizzie”, “Lizard”, “Beth”, “Betsy” and “Abbie” (short for ‘abnormal’, a name given by our next door neighbor).
    I made sure to give all three of my kids names that lent themselves to nicknames!
    Signed, proud mamma of “Katydid”, “TBone” and “Mudball.”

    • wedelmom says:

      Love it! I didn’t have a nick name growing up from anyone other than my family. Maybe subconsciously I was trying to do that for my kids too. Never thought of that.

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