Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stinky Pork Chops

As if naming your children isn't difficult enough, we've discovered the process of nicknaming to be equally as difficult. We've tried the shotgun approach, where we have them shoot a shotgun, then record the first word that comes out of their mouths when the recoil hits. Grady's was "Whaaaa," and so was Dylan's. No, wait, that's the wrong shotgun approach; what we've done is just try out a whole bunch of nicknames on our kids, and see which one sticks.

Dylan's nicknames started before she was born. We were in Mexico, Regina was pregnant, and the thing in her belly wouldn't stop flipping, jumping, and bouncing around. "Like a little jumping bean," I said, and viola, Dylan's first nickname, Bean, was born.

Just ask Dylan, and she'll give you the complete run-down on who-calls-her-what. "Mommy calls me Boo Boo or Stinky (I'm really hoping the latter one doesn't stick), Daddy calls me Sis, Eileen calls me Beanie-Weenie, Grandma calls me Dilly, and Julie calls me Bean." Whew. It's a lot to remember, and now Dylan's become so inundated with nicknames that she answers to just about anything.

The Hannas are notorious nickname givers. As is the case with most made up names, the nicknames we make up aren't always the recipient's first choice. I have friends who are hesitant to join us for our "cowboy lunch" because they don't want to learn what name we've given them. Like scientists naming new species of bacteria, we try to fair, clear, and concise. No one will confuse Spooky with Doodle or Andre with Mouse.

Grady, at six months, has already earned a few nicknames. Like Dylan, he received his first while he was still in the oven and we were in Mexico. Unlike is sister, who used the womb as her personal trampoline, Grady was a little more subdued (hell, cornered wolverines are more subdued), and, because of his easy nature and because Regina's belly was so perfectly round, we started calling him Turtle.

It was a cute pre-birth name, but hasn't really held. Now, he gets called Snorkel, Bubby, Pork Chop, Baby Brother, or Beef Cake. I don't really think any of those will stick, unless he never grows out of his baby fat, then Pork Chop might last.

I grew up being called Buzzard because I'd misheard the lyrics to a song and thought "Well, Mister," was "Well, Buzzard." An easy mistake, and I didn't mind the name. When you're seven, Buzzards are pretty cool. I was also called Juddy, which isn't really a nickname; almost every boy gets the "y" added on to his name, then he outgrows it. I outgrew Juddy in high school, then I turned thirty and it came back like a bad case of athlete's foot. Now, to most people in the Valley, I'm Juddy. Regina changed it Jubby when she saw how I wrote my name when I was five. I'll take Jubby any day, and I'm just glad that as I get older and fatter Pork Chop and Stinky are already taken.

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