A couple of years ago, my friend started calling his 3-month-old Matthew “Money” after the Weird Al Yankovic lyric – “I call him ‘Money’ for short.” The name became so engrained in the family’s life that one day when my friend’s wife mentioned planning a party for Matthew, my friend was confused for a moment who Matthew was.
As parents, we all come up with silly little nicknames that bond us to our kids, from the pointless (my husband and I call our 3-year-old by her initials although she already has an insanely short name. Three letters are a mouthful, man!) to the warm and fuzzy (my best friend calls her son Sam, Sam-a-Lam-a-Ding-Dong).
So why do we reach for nicknames after spending nine months choosing the perfect names for our little ones? It’s pretty simple, according to Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard and the brain behind www.babynamewizard.com. “Baby nicknames are more for the parents than the babies," she said via e-mail. "We're expressing our emotions through the names. Also, a grown-up name like Sebastian or Victoria can be something you have to grow into. If your baby is being giggly or wiggly, a more giggly-wiggly name may fit the moment better. And the babies like that we're making silly sounds with big smiles on our faces!”
I love hearing how people come up with their nicknames, so I asked some friends to share the stories behind their choices.