Naming a child is an unrecognized act of grandeur. I mean, a baby pops out, you name it, and people instantly begin to judge you and your baby according to whatever moniker you've chosen to bestow upon said child. Occasionally you get the "what a beautiful name" comment. You might receive an "Oh, I know a child named that" or an "Interesting, how do you spell it?" kind of shrug. But, overall, people hear your name, judge it, then move on. It's really that simple.
However, as much as people may move on, it didn't relieve me of any of the burden when it came to naming my own children. I painstakingly deliberated over a zillion options and, like many of you I'm sure, was still a little hesitant when I uttered aloud for the first time. I mean, who was this new little creature, after all? How in the world did I know she was a Matilda or a Daphne? Nevertheless, my husband and I had anchored ourselves to their names for all time, ready to defend our choices and proudly claim them as our heiresses.
Fast-forward several months. The prideful art of bestowing the perfect name quickly crumbled in our home. Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe in the consideration that was taken in granting our daughters the all-too-thoroughly-wrought-over names they were given. But, after a few days of no sleep and lots of bodily fluids, the pristine luster of the name announcement starts to dwindle in its sparkle and practicality takes the reigns. Enter: the nickname.
When we named Matilda, I fully took nicknames into account. In fact, one thing I loved about the name Matilda was the versatility of it; and so, shortly after she started showing us her personality, Tilda, Tilly, Til, Matil, Tildy, Tildy-toes all started to show up on the scene. Many versions of Matilda's name have found their way into our normal vocabulary and even she herself would refer to her name as "Tilda Hazel Darling Pardy" if you asked her. Though, we do call her Matilda a good 90% of the time, it came ripe with many options for nicknaming.
Daphne was not so easy. In fact, one of my hesitations (if any) in naming Daphne was that I was worried about finding an easy nickname. Nevertheless, I figured that was the least of my worries, and I knew that only time would tell when it came to discovering what might erupt from our naming games after meeting her.
A few days after her arrival, her dear father started calling her Daffodil. This was lovely. This made my heart soar. This conjured up sweet images of yellow-dotted fields of wildflowers and sun-shiney days full of happiness. Daffodil...what a sweet nickname. As time would have it, however, in the rush of the day, the quickness of activity, and the silliness of the Pardy home...it wasn't long before Daffodil got shortened to "Dil". A hop and a skip, and she's "Dill Pickle" and now...just one jump more...here we are today, calling her PICKLE nearly half the time.
My sweet Pickle. You got it. My baby's nickname is officially Pickle (until it morphs into something else, anyway). Evidently, that's what's stuck for now and we've all just eased into it so naturally that it didn't hit me as weird until the other day when Matilda was blatantly yelling out to her in public and a lady actually turned to my husband and fearfully asked "That's not really her real name...is it?"
Oh my Pickle! :)
Nicknames are a hilarious and atrocious and bewildering thing. They can come from anywhere for about any reason and instantly connote (or denote) a world of ideas that may or may not be true. Chances are good that somewhere along the lines, we've all been called something we'd rather wish everyone would forget, and I just hope and pray I can keep this Pickle-thing sweet and copacetic until another evolution of her name appears. Cause it will...it always does.
Whatever we're called, we each get a chance to actually define what it means. Sometimes I wonder if my girls will grow up to hate their names or ask to be called something else. Sometimes I wonder what their friends will call them, either to their faces or behind their backs. Sometimes I worry about how they'll respond to what others call them - if they'll shirk away from name-calling or if they'll stand up for themselves and own it with powerful assertion. I don't know. I might never know. Maybe it won't even matter.
It's hard to say what my Tilly and Pickle will grow up to be. By this time next year their names could have taken on whole new depictions of what their into or how they act, or even the letters of their names could jumble up into a new word that makes no sense to anyone else. It doesn't really matter. As silly as it may sound when we yell out Pickle, all I care about is that goofy grin waddling her way into my arms. She. Is. Awesome. And, as long as she knows that, she's going to be redefining the gherkin for ages to come.
That's something to relish forever.