Our son Christian is NOT a “Chris.” He doesn’t even acknowledge “Chris” as a version of his name–doesn’t respond to it at all. I had to explain that to his first T-ball coach (not because I’m a fussy mom who insists on a full name–in fact, I had assumed when I named him that he would be Chris–but because Coach was getting Zero Response from my son when he tried to get the attention of “Chris” on the field…)
Christian does answer to “Hobbit,” however–which I’ve called him since his crop of curly hair first grew in. And for a period of several months when he was three, he became enamored of Oscar the Grouch’s pet worm and insisted on being called Slimey. (Which arrangement turned ME into “Slimey’s Mommy”–and required another explanation at his daycare…)
He quite consistently insisted on both the name and the “worm persona,” even holding his ground through an evening of heckling by adults when I took him to a faculty barbeque. Though my colleagues pressed him all night for his “real name,” the only variation he would give was to add our surname after “Slimey.”
When he told me (imaginative annelid that he was) that our apple tree had a mouth and eyes and talked to children, I asked if it talked to him… His response (from my 2004 journal):
“No, only to children.” Aren’t YOU a child? “No! Just Slimey.” Naturally–he’s not a child; he’s a worm. He visits with the worms we turn up while we’re planting, holds them in his palm and croons, “Slimey loves worms–so much!” And then returns them to their holes to “be happy, eat dirt.”
Rather reminiscent of Tom Bombadil, that last… But then, we had just been reading The Hobbit together…
What nicknames from your family’s history still make you smile?