I've always been big on nicknames. My first couple boyfriends I had specific nicknames for, and rarely called them anything else. For Matt, I have many terms of endearment, but often complain that we never call one another by our given names. Sometimes I have noticed that Matt only calls me "Jessica" when he is frustrated with me, and that makes me sad. Matt, on the other hand, complains that he gets hand-me-down nicknames from the cat. I can't deny that, though honestly, those names have faded from memory now that Kate is in the picture.
Kate has many, many nicknames.
Kate earned the name "Littlefoot" when in utero, because rather than sharp kicks, she would stretch her legs out so that I could feel her little foot pressing out of my belly. (I, apparently, was a kicker as a fetus, because my in utero nickname was "Spunky," so says my baby book from 1981.) I also occasionally called her "Wonky," because when she would stretch or roll over late in my pregnancy, she would make my belly go from visibly round to visibly, well, wonky--lopsided and oddly shaped.
We've also called her "Katemonster" from the time we knew she was a girl. We had decided on the name Kate, and had recently discovered the musical Avenue Q (also known as the adult muppet musical), the main character of which is a muppet named Kate Monster. This name has stuck. (I saw a pink monster Halloween costume on eBay--do you think I should get it?) We hope that referring to her as our little monster will help her not be afraid of monsters under the bed and such when she gets older.
I received The Essential Baby Organizer: Birth to One Year (complimentary edition) for free in a Diapers.com order when Kate was a few weeks old, and among the notebook's weekly fill-in-the-blanks like "learned..." and "did these funny things..." is "was given these nicknames..." It's kind of interesting, because I imagine most families do not give a child a new nickname every week, but I have a pretty good track record in that area. Beyond her in utero nicknames, we have added:
... and more. Some are contextual, depending on her latest mood or skill:
When she started to outgrow one of her first sleepers--a white polka-dotted fleece sleeper with a bear on the chest and little bear feet--I felt sad, and started calling her "Baby Bear." That has stuck, and Matt and I have even become Daddy Bear and Mommy Bear. She has had several other bear-themed sleepers (all coincidental, as they were all gifts), but just outgrew the last one (see Wordless Wednesday tomorrow for my sentimental "ode to the pink bear sleeper and cap"). The "Bear" nickname has been combined now with Boo for "Boo Bear" and Kate for "Kate Bear" (also a nice homonym with Kate Barry..."Bear-y"... get it?)
I worry that with all these nicknames, Kate won't learn her name. Just as the cat is called "Charlotte," "MowMow," "Kitty," and "NoNoBadCat," and Kate may never know her "big sister's" real or scientific name, she may not distinguish "Kate" as any more official a name as "Baboo" or "Baby Bear."
Since Kate has started solids in the past couple weeks, she has developed the odd habit of tucking her chin down inside her rubber bib, getting food down inside the bib and on her clothes. We call this annoying habit "turtleing," and I told her, "Kate, stop it. You're not a turtle. You're a bear."
She's going to be so confused.