Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What's in a Name?

A nickname seems like such a simple, innocent thing.  I am no expert when it comes to the larger sociological factors in nicknaming trends, but in our family such names are most often bestowed for one of the following reasons:
  • as a term of endearment.
  • as a way of abbreviating the whole given name.
  • as a marker of individuality.
"Googie," for instance, falls into the latter category.  As you may know from previous explanations offered in this blog, I did not want to be another "Nana" or "Mimi," and "Grandma"--well, that just sounds so old.  So when Sooby was born four and a half years ago, I became "Goo Goo" (from a joke suggested by my own mother), which morphed over time into simply "Googie."  I like that nickname.  It makes me unique.  I am the only "Googie" most people have ever heard of.  People holler "Googie" across the aisles of Wal-Mart, and it makes me smile.

Recently, Sooby became distressed when she realized that she alone among her siblings had no nickname.  (I am talking about their real, given names here rather than their blog names.)  Both the other nicknames are shortened forms of the longer given names their mama, Cookie, bestowed mostly for convenience, I imagine, when yelling repeatedly at the kid.  When you have three children and the oldest is four and a half, I can see how this would be desirable, even necessary.

So when Sooby became aware that she was the only one without a nickname, her mama began offering the obvious suggestions, none of which met Sooby's standards, whatever those were.  Finally, in desperation, Cookie threw out one of those totally-off-the-wall things she is so good at:  "Well, how about 'Shalakatron'"?

Ironically, but probably not so unexpectedly to those of us who know the child, Sooby took an immediate fancy to that name.  Hence, she is Shalakatron--pronounced something like "Shuh-LOCK-uh-tron."  As you might imagine, this made for some interesting dialogue during the events of this Christmas just past.  Sooby walks in the door:  "Oh, I'm so glad to see you, Shalakatron!"  Pa-pa hands out presents:  "This one is for Shalakatron."  We eat dinner:  "Do you want some more noodles, Shalakatron?"  She requires discipline:  "Now, Shalakatron, you need to share that with your brother."  You get the idea.

Never mind that nicknames are generally used to shorten a longer name for purposes of convenience.  That concept is pretty well lost on Sooby.  It would appear that, like her googie, she has opted for individuality and uniqueness.  I love that about her.

However, given the name's relative awkwardness and the way it tends not to roll off the tongue or remain easily in the memory, I imagine it will give way to many other nicknames before Sooby is grown.  I just hope all of them will be this much fun.

Meanwhile, those people curled up in the glider rocker reading The Clown Said No or acting out scenes from The Nutcracker?  Those people singing The Twelve Days of Christmas until everyone around them wished fervently for the speedy arrival of Day 13? 

That was Googie and Shalakatron, and the two of them are one of a kind.


  1. Kids and names can be so much fun! Great story -- thanks for sharing!

  2. Well that's a mouthful, lol! :)

  3. Love this story! And I can so relate.....my grkids have had similiar "name changes" along the way! :)
    I also appreciate your not sharing true names nor publishing photos.....something I've been somewhat hung up on.....but learning to ease into it with their Moms' permission! :)
    Look forward to reading more of your blog posts!
    Joan Bickley Stommen @ Gramcracker Crumbs.com

  4. This was another one that was just as fun the second time as it is a year later! SO has it changed at all in 11 months?

  5. Definitely a unique one! Well, TWO unique ones. So cute. Thanks for linking up to the GRAND Social. Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving for you and yours!