Henry David Thoreau believed that one’s only true name is his nickname. Have no doubt that your children will have pet names that will later evolve into such an extended list of variations, an identity crisis may ensue. Your kids might have to consult with each other behind your back. (“Are you ‘Oonie-Boonie’? It’s not me -you go.”) You may innocently start with Sweetie, but that becomes Sweetie-Peetie, then Peet, then Peet-Feet, and so on. Be prepared to explain yourself when you invariably slip up in front of your visitors and call your baby “Chubs.”
Family nicknames are usually bestowed as a sign of affection. They communicate a closely-knit bond to your child. The only trouble with nicknames is they never go away. Remember that one day your little “Boomer” or “Chuckie” may become an executive officer of a company, and people will need to take him seriously.
Unfortunately, you do not have complete authority over nicknames. Classmates and relatives will give monikers that you cannot control. Some parents think they can name a boy “James,” and then announce that he will never be called “Jimmy.” Don’t kid yourself – as soon as you leave the room, your child will be called anything but his given name. Names that rhyme with expletives, body parts, or other sexual references should be avoided. Kids can be cruel, so use your imagination. Take the name you are considering and – invent your own computer software program if you have to – make sure you calculate every possible rhyme, anagram, or variation of the chosen name.
While they may be great for honoring family members, the main purpose of middle names is to let the child know when he is in serious trouble. A fairly obedient child will probably not even know his middle name until he has to look it up for a job application. Having TWO middle names, however, means double trouble and can be used as a great disciplinary tool. The evoking of a middle name strikes fear in the heart of a mischievous child. Call your child by his full name, and watch him shoot from the room faster than a ball from cannon.
CONFUSION (IT’S GENETIC)
You can’t truly understand a mother’s difficulty with keeping her children’s names straight until you become a parent. There are times that a mother will even throw in the cat’s name before she gets to the right child. The first time you develop TomDickHarry Disease, you will cringe, “I have become my mother.” Don’t fool yourself into believing that you will escape this inevitable genetic disease. Since it defies all logic, you will find yourself calling your son the name of his sister, or even his pet goldfish, before you can remember his real name. You must resist the temptation to name your kids after numbers and call them out like a deli line.