Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Another Step Away from Childhood
When my younger son was born, I, for reasons which I still don’t fathom, gave him a nickname.
I called him “Squirt.”
It’s not a nickname anyone else uses. He does have a long name can be shortened. My wife and I use the long name. Many of his teachers and coaches call him by the shortened version.
But often, to his face, I say “Squirt.” The term carries a lot of connotations. It means “little one,” but it can also mean “shrimp” or “half-pint,” terms sometimes used to demean a person’s size. Still, he was a little guy and for the longest time he didn’t mind. While tucking him in one evening, I called him by his name.
“Dad, I’m Squirt.”
Well, my little guy is 9+ now and the day I knew would come has come. He’s asked me to stop using the moniker.
I should have expected it. I was named after my father, who was named after his. For many years, I was called “Little Walter.” (Yes, I understand there’s a difference between a name only one person uses and a name everyone uses.) While I didn’t mind “Little Walter when I was young, I grew to despise it. My feelings about this were the reason I chose not to name either of my sons after me.
At some point, I demanded to be called “Walt.” It took awhile to make the change. People continued to call me Little Walter for years, even after I surpassed my father’s height. There was only one person I didn’t ask to call me Walt. That was my Grandmother. My grandfather went by “Walt.” There was only one “Walt” in my grandmother’s life. I thought that was how it should be. If she wanted to call me Walt, she could.
Last Sunday evening, I tucked my son in as I usually do. And, I called him by name.
He smiled back at me. “Dad, you can call me Squirt. Just don’t do it in public.”
Thankfully, he prefers the Cartoon Network website to my blogsite on the computer.
So, what nicknames did you have for your kids and when did they start requesting a change?