When mom and dad hug their newborn baby, they often start using cute, or not so cute, names when their baby looks at them with love and confidence. Unfortunately, parents sometimes just don’t think about the nicknames they give their cuddly baby. They also don’t realize that such nicknames often follow a baby into adulthood.
Imagine being a ten-year-old running around the playground and having friends yelling, “Hey, Baby Huey!” Thanks Dad. Imagine that same guy as a man, trying to be and look professional in his job as a draftsman at an engineering firm. He recently completed two years of community college and is still unsure of himself, but tries not to show it. An old friend stops by for lunch and says, too loudly, “Are you ready to go, Baby Huey?” Thanks Dad.
Imagine also the teenager on his first date with a girl who has been his heart’s desire for years. As they sit on the couch in their living room, with the DVD beginning to show the credits, she asks, “Why do they call you Ears?” He explains that when he was a newborn, his ears didn’t seem to fit on his head. She lifts her long hair from the side of her face and looks at her ears … and laughs. Thanks Dad.
April and John are leaving their house for their first date. John was quite a gentleman, and he entered the house to meet his parents. As they come down the porch steps, ask, “Did your mom just call you Tootsey?” Thanks Mom.
Slugger, Poopie-pants, Junior, Bubba, Baby Girl. These are all names that one may hear a parent call a baby or toddler. They can be cute when a child is young. But when a child starts playing outside with friends or starts attending school, those names, if they follow the child, can be devastating.
As parents, we often spend days, weeks, even months, going through books in order to select the correct name for our child. We consult family and friends. We even pray for our decision on the name that will accompany and define our son for life. But we don’t give as much importance to the nicknames we assign to our children.
In an instant, a word or phrase escapes our mouth as we hug our new baby. It sounds cute at the time and it sticks. And we call our babies by the same name cutsey over and over as they cradle us.
However, they eventually get too big to hold or hug. But often the nicknames we’ve given them as babies stick with them through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Are you really ready for that? Can you, and they, live with the names spoken with love when the baby becomes a man?