Monday, December 7, 2009


When it comes to choosing a name for something (or someone), it’s important to consider it from all angles.

My dad’s name is Robert, AKA Bob. My brother’s name is…(you guessed it), Robert. We’re Italian…and that’s evidently just what you do. You name the son the same as the father, so for the next 18 years or so, every time there’s a phone call request to speak to Robert…or Bob, you’ve got to inquire, “Senior or junior?” Somewhere along the way, my brother became Robbie. Which is fine if you’re like, four…but evidently, it’s not too cool when you’re a teen, or a grown-up. How can a guy expect to be taken seriously if your name is Robbie? My fam has settled on calling him Rob…it’s as far as we’ve managed to get from that enduring childhood name. Everyone else in his life knows him as Bob.

When the time came to name my boys, I wanted to make sure I could live with any subsequent nicknames that arose. I decided early on that if I could, I wanted to avoid the opportunity for anyone to shorten the name at all. Behold! Such is the powah of the Mama!

What hadn’t occurred to me was that a prerequisite of babydom (and petdom) is that whether you plan to or not, you will wind up with a virtual plethora of endearing nicknames for each and every one of your junior family members:

My firstborn, Kevin, is sometimes called Kevie…or sometimes even Websie…even to this day….but only by me….so don’t be yelling, “HEY, WEBSIE!” at him if you see him walking down the street. He’ll probably jump into the first open door he sees, just to avoid the humiliation.

I figured I was safe with Taylor, till the first time I heard a preschool teacher call him Tay-Tay, which eventually got shortened to Tay. He doesn’t seem to mind it….but if he did, there’d be no-one around to bear witness to the infraction anyway, as he would have long-ago sent them running into the witness protection program. No-one messes with Taylor.

You really can’t shorten or mess much with Connor…(believe me, I’d tried.) But somehow, as an infant he was Pooh Bear, which morphed into Bear, then Bearie…before settling on Connor-bear. If you call him that now, he will not only pretend to not hear you, but will more than likely refer to you by a rather…unflattering name of his own, as retribution.

Metro (the wonderdog) is actually short for Metronome (his tail is constantly in motion)….a name we christened him at 9 weeks after we saw his official name on the pedigree documents said “Lord Byron Sniffybutt Pantsalot Marmadoodle”…or something to this effect. Most of the time, we call him ‘Nomie…but Tay calls him Foofie. (I’ve no idea why.)

As for me, I’ve been called Kathryn, Kathy, Kate and Kay. (IV goes by C-man or sweet man. That is, if he’s being supportive that day.)

I’m not a huge fan of the snooty nicknames, like Buffy, or Buzzy…or Jacko. (Apologies in advance to any Buffys, Buzzys for Jackos I may have inadvertently insulted in this post.)

I guess the oddest nickname I’d ever heard was for a guy named Tiff….which I hadn’t thought twice about until I got an email from him and saw it was short for Tiffany. (Again…apologies to any male Tiffanys out there…I was sure Tiff was short for something more…manly…((sorry again)) like TIP-ping a cow, or getting into a TIFF with someone…or giving someone a S-TIFF lip for making fun of their name.) Wait. Is that even slang for punching someone in the mouth? I’m a girl…what do I know?

As for my terms of endearment, most of you know I’m a big fan of Sweetie…the occasional Doll (very Elaine Stritch) and sometimes Honey. I do not discriminate between male and female…although, I do not believe I’ve called any guy Doll. I have called a few of them Idiot and Sh!tForBrains….but that’s another post entirely.

Of course, none of you guys fall into this category…

Jenny said...

My poor pup has to endure whatever words my brain comes up with at that moment, which could be anywhere from her actual name to Turtle to Pigeonface (I have NO idea.). This week she has been called Punkyhead (???)(I am meeting the therapist on Wed). Sigh. Why she hasn't tried to eat my face yet, I'll never know. :)

Anonymous said...

Haha...I have to say...I've never been given a nickname,'cept for work and that's not really a nickname...but more a stage name I guess. Pets..sure...they rarely get called their given name around here. XD It's interesting as to how things get shortened or get called something not even close to the original. XD

Lou said...

The Irish do the same thing Kathryn, my brother is James V but he was always known as Jamie as a kid and Jim now. His own son is James VI but known by his middle name Dillon (don't see the point myself). Is Kevin off at college? I think it's the first time you've mentioned him. My son Rory's name was also about something that couldn't be shortened but would you believe I call him bubba? Am trying hard to stop though he claims he doesn't mind it from me :-)

Betsy said...

That's one of your parental call your kids nicknames that will humiliate them. ;)

As for pets....yowsa, having 5, I'll have to to an entire blog devoted to just their nicknames! But one of my favorites is for our dog, Ginger the Possum Slayer...because of course, I'm a huge fan of BUFFY the Vampire Slayer, hahaha!

Cynica Sarcastamos said...

Lol! Isn't it funny how we, devoted Kathryn readers, can always turn your blog into stories about us. (Especially me.)

So long ago, my man and I were lovingly calling each other Stupid Goober. (hey, I said lovingly!) It evolved to Stupie Goob, and eventually, Goobie. Now that's on my Jeep's license plate. People will actually follow me into stores, prisons, crackhouses to ask me what it means. ((*o*))!

All of our dogs' names have had 'Muffin' on the end - which is odd since they've been Malamutes. Kaiyuh-Muffin, Brandy-Muffin, Bailey-Muffin. (Bailey was also known as Jiggle Bells at Christmastime. She was a bit hippy.)

Another fun, funny post... K!

talk before sleep said...

I love this!!! My two brothers have always been called Nicky and Scottie by me, since I was the youngest. And I still call them that- they are 31 and 34...I'm sure they love that!

As for pets- our new kitten is named Dexter...I call him rat, ratatouille, ratty kirk ratrick (LOL don't ask), buster, busteroo, and a whole other slew of names when I am mad at him. I wonder if this is a woman thing because none of the men in my life do this.

P.S.The name metronome is adorable!!

Runnergirl said...

I had various incarnations of my name through school, but have shaken them off professionally. My family have mostly called me by my full name - although my hubby calls me Liney-Loo after my parents started calling me Liney.

My husband is Nick. I have failed miserably at coming up with anything more affectionate or coupley than that. He's usually darling, or lovely. I feel very weird if he ever calls me by my full name, but I can't come up with anything for him.

My brother and sister's names have never really been shortened either.

Our cats (no kids...) are Maud and Agnes. Maud becomes Maudie Moo... Moo and Agnes, Aggie Doo - Doodlebug... Bug (all to rhyme with Liney Loo...!!!)

Metronome is a cool name!

dailyseeking said...

My mother told me she named me after an alley cat she had loved as a child. I think I could have lived an entire lifetime without knowing the origin of my name!

Lynn said...

Hooh boy. When I was expecting Adam, we called him "The Bean," because, of course, that's what he looked like before the ultrasounds and shtuff. For some reason, the name has stuck. "Where's The Bean?" "Hey Mr. Bean, how are you doing?" It's baaaad, but as much as we try, it still comes out of our mouth. Thankfully, only from ours, though.

For the last couple of weeks, his six-year-old sister has been calling him Beano. Of course, she has no idea what Beano IS, but still, I have a feeling that in the long term, this isn't going to turn out well...

Great post. :oD

kathryn said...

Jenny: Pigeonface? Really?? I'd like someone to psychoanalyze some of the crazy nicknames that slip from our mouths when we look into those cute little faces. Oh, and don't worry...I think it's only cats that eat people's faces. (!)

Courtney: See? I think it happens more often than not. But when ppl ask her name, you say "Mischa", right? Pretty name....

Gavin: Uh huh. I like the way you've completely skirted the issue of giving us your work nickname or any of the ones you use on your pets. Not in the mood to share? hmmmmm?

Lou: Sons are simply not allowed to be bothered by any loving nickname we bestow on them. I do believe it's in the Mommy handbook somewhere. Wow! You guys get heavily into the numbers....I don't think we go much past the Sr/Jr thing, honestly....then we're done. Or maybe it's not talked about. I only mention Kevin occasionally-he's away at a residential school for children with autism. Autism is not funny.
"Bubba"? Such a manly name! Does he drive a truck?

kathryn said...

Gingerella: HA! Great name! Has Ginger ever slayed a Possum? And is Ginger a redhead, as her name suggests??

Cynica Sarcastamos:Hey. It's SUPPOSED to be about you guys...or, at least, the comment part is! I just get you rolling! Loooove the Goobie name...I'd def follow you the next time you walk into a prison to inquire! I've learned that pet nicknames need to be fun and their owners! (The dogs...not US!)

talk before sleep: HA! And I LOVE your comment! Well, I'm guessing Nicky and Scottie do NOT go by these names amongst their friends. I'd almost put money on it...but it's a hard habit to break for us fam members, right?
Pets are a whole 'nother story: ratty kirk ratrick is a WILD one..but I love the original names (Dexter) and how they morph into some really *odd* and unrelated ones. I'd say it's 50/50 for the guys...if it's their pet, I think they eventually surrender to the nicknames of loooove...

Runnergirl: Oh, I love the morphed cat's names! I's hard to come up with *grownup* nicknames....babies and pets are MUCH easier! I love the rhyming and the bugs and the moos...such fun! Yeah, Metronome sure beats the hell out of his *given* name!

dailyseeking: HA! does that mean you've got a name like Whiskers, or Minx, or something like that??

Allegria: Yes! The Bean! Love it! HA! Yeah, you'll have to nip that nickname from sis in the butt. (Pun intended!) But HOW? Those family-oriented nicknames stick like cement! Good luck with that, Bean...I mean, Beano!
Great comment!!

Merri said...

We both went to the same topic yesterday. How about that!!!

kathryn said...

Merri: Really? I'll head over to your place and check it's out. I'm sure yous is MUCH more entertaining than this old thang...

KT said...

I've had several nicknames growing up. My real name is ALDHGLDYEHDKDYGY ...huh, that's odd. it didn't come out, let me try again. My real name is AKLDHDFKETYEYFKSDHFE. alright my keyboard is having a malfunction, let me just say ONE of my nicknames, which has nothing to do with my real name, is LaChela (it means "the blondie" literally translated from Spanish). And yes, if you're going to spell it out, it has to be spelled out like that. None of this was my choosing btw. It so happened that I was the only blonde in my grade and in my school for a very long time.

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

I always woner if guys like "Tiff" learn how to kick ass early as a self defense. Can you imagine? Kids are so mean sometimes.

Unknown said...

I've had many a nickname in my life. My brothers used to call me Butch when I was little. They said it was because they wanted a brother.

My Russian teacher in 9th grade used to call me Bimkerly (instead of Kimberly). Needless to say, I hated that. My fellow Russian students called me Kumdepru because that is what my name looked like when you wrote it in Russian. Again, hated it.

I find that I give my kiddos nicknames. Right now Alex is Bub. Not sure why. Keira has always been Keira - can't really nickname that one. Nicholas is Nick or Nickie.

You really know a guy named Tiffany???

Unknown said...

I am fairly certain that my mother may have reconsidered my name had she known that my friends would start calling me by "Bambi" (instead of Amber) in the 7th grade. Needless to say, there are some other connotations that come along with a blonde girl named Bambi. (Which is why I am now brunette and shun my old nickname.)

Straight in Upstate said...

Rule Number One for parents: consider every possible variant that 12 year old kids can create from a potential name. Although, I wouldn't have seen Bambi coming from Amber, either - you do what you can. But I knew a girl named Cinnamon (and her parents weren't hippies). You might as well buy her a pole and a G-string for her 18th birthday with a name like that. Or is it just me?

My wife is from the South - she really wanted to name our son William Robert after her father and grandfather, but knew it would become Billy Bob.

Kathryn - love the Elaine Stritch reference! Big fan.

Tinkerschnitzel said...

Are you ready for this? My grandfather made nicknames for each and every one of us grandkids. Mine was and still is birdlegs, because I'm so thin. Embarrasing, but true. I was also known as Tinkerbell in highschool - way before it was popular. It's even embroidered on my letter jacket. My name can't be shortened, thank God! We have weird names for my boys. My oldest, Benjamin, we call Jamin, and the baby, Matthew, we call Machew. I told you it was weird!

Anonymous said...

I do believe I've called you Kat before - most likely because I am an English teacher, and a Shakespeare lover, and a nerd, and I really enjoy The Taming of the Shrew - NOT that I'm implying any shrewdom on your part (far from it - you're sweetness and light) - but, you know...

I have a tendency to go a bit wild with the nicknames, especially where pets are concerned - my wolf Diana somehow became Punkin, my friends' cats, Mishu, Lulu, and Maggie, became Jelly Belly, Squirrel, and Fruit Loop respectively. Well... you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to name our dog "whatamess" when we got her, but got vetoed by ms. congeniality. So I call her whatever comes to mind, funny though, sometimes when I call my pup I end up calling her by ms. congeniality's name. Too funny!

P.S. Not that you need another one, but come and get an award you so much deserve at my blog.

Ron said...

Hello Doll!

HA!...I LOVE Elaine Stritch!!! Here's to the ladies who lunch!

And you're absolutely right about Italian families and names. I however, was named after the actor Ronald Coleman (who my mother had a secret crush on). Which I think is ironic that I eventually went into show business. It's like she KNEW I would!

My brother's name is Thomas, but his nick name is Tipper (because when he was little he tipped on his toes when we walked) - HA!

I'm Ron, Ronnie, Ronaldo, and Rasputin (my father's nickname for me - could you DIE?).

My cats names were Zoe and Jerry. I love giving people names to animals!

GREAT post, my NY friend!

What FUN!!

Have an awesome day!


Spot said...

Nicknames! Ha. Gotta love them. CJ is short for Christopher James, which seemed way too long for a baby. He's also been kissyfer, wee-j, the weedge, CJer deejer, and guy smiley. Molly has been momo, jolly, tamale, mo and Lulu. Sean has only been Sean-o or Disco. And me? Heck I'm punkin, peanut, gert, sweetie sugar honey poo love of my life (obviously this one is from my hubs), princess, and Spot. I do love me some nicknames. My hubs has been danger ranger to summer camp staff and captain oblivious to me & the kids. He's not big on the nicknames.

I call friends and complete strangers sweetie, hunny, luv(british you know), doll, dollface, and hun. Why do we bother naming people anyway? Chances are that names rarely used. Lol. Great post!


Anonymous said...

Here in the South, all women call other people "Sweetie, Baby, Cookie, Honey." My hubs calls me "Bambino." I'm not sure why he does it, but I like to be original! I call him Jake, which nobody else is allowed to do. He doesn't like nicknames. The poor dog gets called anything from his actual name--Andy--to WeenieMan, Weiner, Whiner, Butthead (not by me) and the groomsmen in my wedding called him worse than that. He just wagged his tail and licked their shiny shoes. Guess we all have weird ideas... and names.

Unknown said...

LOL... well's let's see...

Oreo's nickname is OreYodle. Or Oreo-muffinbutt or sometimes Oreo-Shrinkinghead. (he went through a phase where his body grew much more quickly than his head... the name kind of stuck.)

Jimmy is known as Jammer, or CocoPuff, or Little Man.

Don't have kids... lol

My nicknames are many, to be honest. My favorite is SMOOG (seems to work best in all caps) but I have also been known as Lil' Funker, mamasita, and many derivatives of my real name. And the one I have chosen for myself online... Penny. :o)

As for the names with which I currently refer to the male gender... I'll spare you... lol

Heather said...

I never understood how some nicknames stick. Robert/Bob or William/ Bill. Where do those B's come from?

I have never had a nickname that came from my name. My name right now is Dear, I don't think my hubby has ever called me by my given name. I'm sure I would remember, cause it would shock me!

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

My mother always said she named us Maureen and Carol so there'd be no nicknames. HA.
I find a nickname for everything. I consider it a challenge. But also a term of endearment.
I never let my ex call me honey or sweetie or any of those. They drove me crazy. Of course, maye that's why I'm alone now.

carissajaded said...

I've always been a little sad about the fact that I've never had a nickname.. i probably wouldn't like it if I had but, still... at least when I was little it would have been nice. I had a few friends who called me Rissa, and now a couple will call me CJ, but I pretty much had to tell them to do so! I do have a few names for my dog Stella though. Princess Stella Rosita Devito Bertha Tootsie Brown, is her whole name. But I just call her Bear.

Clandestiny said...

Oh my all of you give much sweeter nicknames then we tend to give here!! I guess y'all just go for cute/endearing while we go more for funny/weird factor. Kyle and Bryan are still often referred to as Ky and Bry but for the first few years of life they were Agamemnon Blodgett, Eyeball Boy, Burrito Lad, Wiley Kylotey Super Genius, many others, and any unholy combination of them! My children are asking if you'd be willing to adopt them?

J said...

Wow, I haven't heard Tiff being short for Tiffany before for a guy, that's just wrong. I have a guy friend named Tiff, but it's short for Christopher.

Loredana said...

Yes, I'm Itlian too and my mother decided that instead she'd torture us by the KINDS of names she gave us. She didn't even take into consideration nicknames or that we LIVE IN AMERICA and people just CAN'T pronounce certain ITALIAN SPELLED names. For instance-Michele (nope, NOT MICHELE for a girl, but Italian for Michael). So you take the 'ch' and it's pronounced like the 'ch' in English. However, every teacher or person that called constantly called him Michel(l)e...poor guy.

Then there's my other brothers-Gaetano, Francesco, Gionatan and me, Loredana...yep, my mom loved us!

However, we NOW appreciate our unique names, although we've all shortened them to Mike, Guy, Frank, Jon and Lori...which well sound plain old boring, no?

kathryn said...

book*addict (ALDHGLDYEHDKDYGY): Well, I'm imagining a Spanish blonde is not all that I right? Did you love being the only "golden one", or did you hate the attention? I do believe your keyboard is being over-protective of you, sweetie!

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt: I'd wondered that, too. He sounded so...macho on the phone. I'd asked him twice to repeat his name...I thought it HAD to be short for something manly. What were his parents thinking??

Kimberly: YES. Well, "know" is a relative term. He's someone from the business world and we've exchanged several phone calls & emails. So, yeah.
-Your brothers were mean. They had each other!
-Your 9th grade teacher sounds mean, too. NOT CUTE. Kiera didn't even have a little nickname as a little bambino??

Indiri Wood said...

My 3 older sisters and I had names that didn't really shorten on purpose (my mother hated being called Nan instead of Nancy) but when my parents accidentally named me after a mistress instead of a wife in the family history (um, oops) they named my little sister Lisa Louise to make up for it (the actual wife's daughter was Lisa) and we called her Lee Lou to drive mom up the wall. Now she is permanently known as Lee.

kathryn said...

ValleyWriter: Awww! But, when you're 12, don't they still think Bambi is the little deer? So, we agree it started innocently enough. It just morphed into you being a porn star!!

Straight in Upstate: Oh so true, my friend. I didn't even get INTO the nickname-name-calling venue...and yet, it would be inevitable with a name like Cinnamon. And I'd have to say, def. stripper material...along with her bff Candy! Oh, I'm SO GLAD you veto-d BillyBob...your son'll never know how close he came! HA! You caught my Elaine Stritch ref! (Whee! I'm a big fan too!)

Tinkerschnitzel: Birdlegs? Seriously?? Grandpa! What WERE you thinking?? I hope he didn't call you that in front of your friends! I don't care how thin you were! Now, Tinkerbell, I love...and "Ben" and "Matt" are too...predictable. I like your nicknames for them much better.

~:C:~You can call me anything you like, doll. Okay...too many foodie-references in your nicknames...are you getting enough to eat?? (LOVE the Fruit Loop!)

WannabeVirginiaW: HA! Wouldn't "whatamess" be hard to spell for the vet? And what DO you say her name is at the vet?? Aw...I'm honored by the award, sweetie! Be right there!

KT said...

There are plenty of fake Spanish blondes, but no natural ones like me. I actually hated the attention at first, but then in the 11th grade I wasn't the only "chela" so i got a little annoyed. But, it's cool, because my high school buddies still call me LaChela. =P

Mixed Reflections said...

So glad you take this task seriously. My bro just had his first little girl, and he and wife named her Eileen. It's a family name on her side, I's can you call a BABY Eileen? I am visiting them next week & will most likely call her a name I made up myself.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Oh God! I've been called Bella or Belle or little girl since birth! Mom named me so she could call me Dani, but she never does......

kathryn said...

RON! "Another loooong, exhausting day...another million dollars....I'll drink to that!" OMG...that is so cool! "I learned something new about Ronnie!", she sing-songed...dancing happily.

And oh, I love the "Tipper" fun, Ron/Ronnie/Ronaldo/Rasputin! Great cat names, too! Love it!

kathryn said...

Spot: Oh, I'm LOVING these names of yours! Everything from Kissyfer to Captain could you not crack up every time you said it??

jmberrygirl: Oooh...I'm digging the "Cookie". I forgot about that one. "Bambino" is sweet..and poor Andy! He's caught the worst of it!

SMOOG: Loving the "OreYodle"! And his body grew quicker than his head?! What was THAT about? And CocoPuff! HA! I love SMOOG, too...I wonder why?!

Heather: You're DID they come up with Bob/Bill? It really doesn't make much sense, does it? Aw...he calls you "dear"? What do YOU call HIM??

Maureen@IslandRoar: My mom's name was Carol...I don't remember any nicknames there. For Maureen, I've heard of "Mo", but never really cared for that. Am I still allowed to call you "sweetie"...just sometimes??

carissajaded: HA! That super-duper long name for puppy and you call her "Bear"? How cute is that? And I'm lovin' "Rissa"...maybe you're too strong a woman for just ANY nickname...

Tinkerschnitzel said...

Kathryn, trust me. The nicknames everyone else got were just as bad!

Tia said...

A friend of mine (male) was the oldest of 3 boys. They all had "girls" names. Tracy, Stacey & Shannon. I have no idea why their mother did this to them. But I do know they weren't made fun of (more than once) because they were all well above 6' tall & probably weighed between 250-300.

None of them had nicknames.

Just thought I would share. :)

Tia said...

A friend of mine (male) was the oldest of 3 boys. They all had "girls" names. Tracy, Stacey & Shannon. I have no idea why their mother did this to them. But I do know they weren't made fun of (more than once) because they were all well above 6' tall & probably weighed between 250-300.

None of them had nicknames.

Just thought I would share. :)

kathryn said...

Clandestiny: HA! Those names are hilarious! I'll be they're glad you've calmed down to just calling them Ky and Bry. Hopefully there's no incriminating photos with captions including the nicknames!!

J: Now, Tiff being short for Christopher makes sense to me! But this guy's name was def Tiffany!

Loredana: Wow! You're not went from names that I'm sure were constantly mis-spelled and mispronounced to the most basic names of all. I'm sure they sound beautiful with an Italian accent, though...(sigh...)

Sara: AH! What an amazing story! How the heck did they mistake your name (the mistresses for the wife's?) "Um, oops" is right! I like the name Lee...that happens to be my middle name!

book*addict: I love it! See? That's always the hate the attention till it's taken away from you, right?

Gropius: Hmmm. I do see your point. It's like calling a baby Stanley. Some names are made to be grown into. maybe "Eiley"?? You KNOW they'll be coming up with some nicknames of their own. I can guarantee it!

Oddyoddyo13: Oh, I looove Bella! But I like Dani too...and with the "i" ppl will know you're a girl...but not always so little!

kathryn said...

Tia: Woah...thank God they were BIG boys, or they wud've been tortured! I would seriously wonder about that mom...why would she DO that??

nashashibi said...

great post :) , at least they didn't lie///lol

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