I Call My Kids Everything But Their Given Name

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My first son’s name was chosen with great care. His first name would be that of his great-great-grandfather, Addison. His middle name was a no-brainer, David, after my father and brother in-law. It complimented his first name perfectly. It was a brilliant combination, and I was proud.

While you are pregnant, so many people ask you what the name of your child will be, and I was not someone who wanted to keep it a secret. And the compliments on his name choice came in hot. One woman even said,”Wow, that sounds presidential.” Yes, thank you. I agree, it is amazing. And guess what? We call him Add — as in this doesn’t add up, you can add that to your Amazon cart with a click of a button. Add. It is what his younger sister called him, and I thought it was adorable. He is 13 years old now, and it is rare we call him anything else. Add, add, add.

We repeated this charade with our second child — naming her after her great-great-grandmother. After all, we did love the name Anna, and it went well with my first name, Kathrine, and there it was, another fitting, sentimental name that would be perfect for our daughter.”That is so lovely,” people would say. “What a beautiful name.” But these days, she goes by “Lady.” I say, “Oh, Lady,” at least a dozen times every single day. I even use it while cheering for her at her basketball games. She loves it, I love it, and it suits her. Just looking at her I think, she is my lady.

But the real fun came when we had our third child and my two older kids were still fumbling their way through most words. His name is Jack, but he came out very fat, shiny, and bald. I called him “Bubble” right away. Then he kept growing larger, and I called him “Chubby Bubble.” Then I combined the two to make it easier for my kids to say, and called him “Chubble” (you know, a chubby bubble) for a time. Then, to make it more confusing for all involved, around his 1st birthday, I kissed his velvety head one day, and it was so smooth. Smooth as butter, so he was known as “Butter” until his brother and sister started calling him “Bubba” because it was easier for them to say. And to this day, he is my “Bubba.”

Do you see the madness? We spent so much time picking out the perfect names. We hem, we haw, we keep our prized names a secret so no one else will steal them (god forbid someone steal them!). We are proud and announce their perfectly fitting name on beautiful birth announcements, and then we end up calling them “Bubba” for the rest of their life.

Sometimes, these nicknames play off their given names, but sometimes the nicknames pay tribute to a physical or character trait (my favorite kind), and while some think it is tacky, I think it is delicious, and most parents I know have, at one time or another, had an endearing nickname for their child.

Before you know it, the rest of your family ends up calling them by their nickname, then come the friends, maybe even their teachers. These names stay with them for a reason. They are fun, they are adorable, and sometimes they fit our sweet minis better than their real names because of the unique qualities they posses.

Picking out a name for your baby is special. It is sacred. You want it to fit them and be a reflection of you and your family, or maybe you just like a certain name that you wished you had growing up and decide that it is The One. So, really, our children’s names say more about us and our family than they do about our newborn babe.

But no matter what goes in to choosing a name for your little one, know that you will probably end up calling them something completely different for most of their lives, and honestly, it will feel just as special.

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