We’re not big on nicknames in this house. We’ve given all our children long, classic names, and only Alex goes by the shortened form. People are constantly asking us “What do you call him? Nick? Nicky?” Other people are forever referring to the boys by diminutives, but we do not. We chose the names we liked, darn it, often after great agony, and we’re going to use them!
But I have tons of pet names for the kids, at least when they’re little. Alex went by Mr. Bug, and I’ve also used punkin, boy-o-boy, and variations on munchkin (munchy-girl, munchy-boy, munch-baby, smunchkin) for babies and toddlers.
But nobody, and I mean nobody, has as many names as Julianna:
- Miss Pooey, a title bestowed by Grandma Basi, and its cousin, Missy-poo. This seems to be the name off choice when she’s getting on and off the school bus.
- Miss Sneaky, AKA Superspy. We first gave her this name as a joke, because when she learned to crawl, she smacked her hands and knees so loudly with every step–she needed hat much physical input. To our great chagrin, she has grown into it. Taking her to play outside or shopping anywhere is an exhausting mental exercise, because if you turn around–you know, to choose a head of broccoli–she pulls a vanishing act. And she does it soundlessly. As an example: one day I was nursing Michael when I realized I hadn’t heard a peep from Julianna in half an hour or more. I ran from my room on the second floor all the way down to the basement, checked all her usual haunts, shouted her name. No response. I was rushing outside in a panic when I heard Nicholas saying, “Wake up, Juweeanna! Wake up!” I ran to him and discovered Julianna, asleep in Michael’s crib. Yes. The crib.
- Pretty girl. Self-explanatory.
- Julianna Banana…occasionally. When we’re feeling silly.
- Sweet pea, girly-girl (I’ve never actually called her “half-wildebeest,” though I often think of her in that dual way.)
- Ju-Ju-bee, her Aunt Laura’s pet name, and one I just love.
- Then there are the various stages of little ones learning to say her name: Ju-ju, Nana, Jujunana, Junanna, Juwee-nanna, Juweeanna. Right now she pronounces her own name something like Ooo-lah-uh.
- And of course, when she’s in trouble, her compound name gets split decisively in two: “Julie-ANNA!”
And although she often makes me want to pull my hair out, I still love her madly.