When I was a kid, my parents called me “Kidlet”. As a child/young adult, the only nicknames I had were “Mol” (which I hated) and “Molly McButter” (which I hated even more). I had a friend whose name was Jennifer, and she absolutely refused to be called “Jen” or “Jenny”, she was always Jennifer. My boyfriend (later husband)’s name is Timothy, but most people call him “Timmy”, which is ridiculous because he’s 6’4″ and 270lbs and the extra ‘y’ seems condescending and inappropriate. When I was younger, people who had an awesome name like Christian or Elizabeth and were called ‘Chris’ or ‘Betty’ annoyed me quite a lot. At the same time, I was sort of jealous that I didn’t have a nickname. With that mixed experience in mind, it is ironic how my children (who all have awesome names) have each developed a wealth of unique nicknames.

Olin, as the first child and the one with the most pronounceable name, has the fewest nicknames. Robin came up with the best one: “Roly Poly Ole”. He is also known pretty frequently as “Olin-Pants” or “Olin-Banana”. I’m not sure completely why, it just seems to fit. Lance calls him “funny honey” because he has a honey-based nickname for each of the children that may or may not actually apply to their personalities. When he was a teeny-tiny newborn, he was “Pumpkin” and later “Peanut”. He has now grown up enough to qualify for “Buddy”. My cousin, Daniel, consistently calls his eldest son “Boo” and that does slip in from time to time, but I try to resist.

Azriel was given a challenging name, and we have called him “AJ” from the very beginning. Every once in awhile, I’ll call him Azriel just to remember what his name actually is. If you ask him what his name is, he says “AJ-osiah Kelley”, but he will answer to Azriel. Other nicknames have evolved from there, and he is frequently referred to as “AJ-JJ-JoJo-Kokomo Jo”, thus incorporating all of them at once. His honey nickname is “honey badger”, which makes sense if you know AJ, and he will also answer to “Bud”, “Buddy”, “Trouble”, and “Evil Monkey”. (Come to think of it, I usually refer to all of my children in a group as “Evil Monkeys”. Perhaps not motherly and nurturing, but accurate nevertheless.)

Evangeline is a fantastic name, but it also has a wealth of potential nicknames to be pulled from it. This child is most often referred to as “Evie”, and that is how she will introduce herself. (Except she says “E-bee”, which often confuses strangers.) She could be: Evie, Eva, Vivi, Gigi, Angie, Angeleenie, Leenie, Lina, Evangelista… The list goes on. She seems to know exactly who you’re taking to regardless of the name used, though. Her honey-based nickname is “Honey Bee”.  She is also sometimes referred to as “Evangeline Violent” (her middle name is Violet), and Lance is convinced that will be a fantastic roller derby nickname when she grows up. Of names not derived from her actual name, she is most often called “Princess”. I know all little girls (and big ones, too) identify with the ‘princess’ mentality, but I call my daughters princesses because I know that they are daughters of the King of Kings, royalty with an inheritance and responsibility waiting for them. They are all spoiled, but I hope that someday they’ll recognize that they’re more than just privileged. They have a calling to care for and shepherd others. So, “Princess” is not about pretty dresses and plenty of food, it’s about being a good person. (How am I going to convey that? I’m not sure, but I’ll figure it out as they grow.) Lance also invented the “Evie Bean” moniker, which has evolved to “Beanie Baby” and later “Lady Beanford”.

Seraphine’s middle name is Jeanette. When we named her, we thought she’d most often be “Sera Jean” to match “Evie Bean”, but she turned out to be more of a bear-type, and most of her nicknames reflect that. So, she is “Sera”, “Sera Bear”, “Ser-Bear”, “Bear Bear”, “Seraphine Jeanette le Fuss”, “Fuss Cadet”, just “Fuss”, “Se-raa-phaa-naa” (which is how I imagine Seraphine pronounced in French) and “honey bear”. Lance also refers to her, whenever she qualifies via wardrobe, as “a bear in a dress”. She is also “Princess”, for the same reasons Evie qualifies.

I didn’t think, as I grew as a parent, that I would care about other people’s children. Historically, I don’t like other people’s children, because they tend to be disrespectful, entitled little monsters. They are probably still that, but I’m learning that my kids came that way as well, and only my teaching them to mind and herding them back in to line will enact any change. So, any child I come across may be “Bud, Honey, Princess” or “Pal” as I see fit, and I will redirect or save as necessary. That puts me very thoroughly in the ballpark of someone who Disciplines Other People’s Children. Which is a whole ‘nother post, I suppose.

For now, my conclusion paragraph should probably say: My kids have a whole lot of nicknames, some appropriate, some not, some that violate my personal ideals regarding “What is that child’s actual NAME?” but all given affectionately and appropriate (or at least tolerable) for the situation. What do you call your kids/nieces/nephews/friends/local monsters? Let me know in the comments!

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