Nicknames

I have a habit of giving out multiple nicknames, especially to small children and pets. They just come out of the blue somehow when I’m talking to them, and from then on that name can only have that meaning. Devon loved it. He collected nicknames like pretty pebbles on the beach and would sort them out and look at them from time to time. “That’s a new name, Oma, you never called me that before,” he would say happily. Perhaps he would analyze it … “It’s kind of like this one and a little like that one.” I’m sure the sky would have fallen if I used one of his names for someone else.

Ian was very different. Ian was Ian and only Ian. He didn’t want to be called anything else, not even “hon” or “sweetie” or “pumpkin”. You couldn’t call him baby names, but you couldn’t call him “big boy” names like Buddy or Guy or Sport. He always objected quite strenuously, even if he had just told you he was pretending to be “Bob the Builder” or “Spiderman.” You could never call him by the personna. I remember he crawled up to me and rubbed against my legs once, saying, “Look Oma! I’m a kitty! Meow, meow!” “Well, hi, kitty,” I replied. He leapt to his feet in indignation and said, “Oma! I’m Ian!” Even if you asked “How are you?” he would reply “I’m Ian.

During the last hearing, when the judge was making his long statement about his ruling, he kept mispronouncing Ian’s name. It always came out with a long I – Ion as if he was a particle. Everytime I heard that I could almost see my little guy popping up from a seat in outrage. With hands on his hips I imagine that he would declare in a loud voice, “Judge! I’m Ian!” (Let’s hope I can refrain from doing so on his behalf. Don’t think it would go down well in the courtroom.) Monkey.

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