M. Giant's
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006  

What's in a Name

BuenaOnda and her new husband English came up for a short visit last week. They spent the night on an air mattress, on our still-under-construction upper floor. It was supposed to have walls by then, but our sheetrock guy hasn't been that great so far at, you know, showing up. I felt bad about making our guests sleep in what looked a lot like the climactic scene in Blow, but they assured us that they were both quite comfortable all night. I took them at their word, because there wasn't much I could do about it after the fact anyway.

BuenaOnda was last here just under two years ago. So when you consider that M. Small's 26th month is starting in a few days, you can probably imagine that he's changed a bit since the last time they met. For instance, he's walking, talking, wearing pants, sleeping through (most) nights, and when he gets impatient with a meal he just throws it on the floor in sticky fistfuls instead of horking it up into the lap of whomever would have been wielding his bottle back then. Also, he's tripled in size. So there's that.

And he's suddenly gotten better at names. Shortly after our guests arrived Wednesday night, they went outside to smoke with Bitter. Trash kept them company, leaving M. Small and I in the house alone. "Let's go find [BuenaOnda]," M. Small said. When he could only come up with her cell phone, he gave it to me and explained, "That's [BuenaOnda's] phone."

As for English, his nickname took a bit longer for M. Small to grasp. I normally don't transliterate M. Small's utterings here, preferring to spell them as he clearly means them. But it's quite cute to hear him say, "Come on, Igg-wiss." He clearly wasn't happy with how this was coming out, so he kept practicing. Over time, the nickname evolved through "Inn-wish," "Egg-wih," and "Yng-whych," the last of which probably could have been substituted by the more easily pronouncable "Welsh" given the spelling. Eventually he settled on something that sounded a lot like "Angwy," which kind of made me a little jealous, because "Angry" is just about the best nickname ever.

Meanwhile Linda, who is probably one of the first twenty people he ever met in his life, finally got the honor of hearing him say her name the other night when she was over watching The Amazing Race. I think he made up for the delay by saying it in extra-charming fashion. This involved climbing up on something that's behind the love seat she was sitting on, leaning forward, and repeating "Winda" directly at the back of her head while grinning madly. Rather winsome of him, really.

I'm just glad M. Small got my facility with names and not Trash's. When we were in our respective high schools and didn't know each other that well yet, we were at a tournament and I ran into some of her friends. "Hi, Dan," they said, because that what Trash thought my name was at the time.

"Hi," I said. "But my name's not Dan."

"Aw, Trash said you were a kidder," they said knowingly.

The good news is that she quickly learned my actual first name, and has been reliably calling my by it ever since.

What worries me a bit is that lately, so has M. Small. I'm always correcting him, "No, I'm Daddy or Dad." After a few rounds of this, he starts addressing me properly again. It's not that I resent the informality; it's just that I know one day he's going to mishear me, and then all be "Dan" all over again. "Danny silly," he'll giggle.

Oh, well. He already knows I'm a kidder.

posted by M. Giant 8:01 PM 4 comments


My 21-month-old has been reliably greeting her father lately with, "Hi, Cwaig!" (Craig) Sunday, it was "Happy birthday, Cwaig!" I'm still Mommy, even though Cwaig keeps trying to get her to say my name.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 8, 2006 at 9:41 AM  

My three-year-old niece has been calling both my brother and my SIL by their first names for almost a year now. Unless they're in public. Her new thing is spelling it, so instead of a Hi Mommy or Hi Debra, it's "Hi D-E-B-R-A". And "P-A-U-L, can we go outside?"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 8, 2006 at 9:46 AM  

Our daughter calls her father "Victor" when he's not listening to her. She's 2. It pisses him off I think but it's still frickin' hilarious.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 9, 2006 at 3:23 AM  

My 2 1/2 year old has been trying out Mom instead of Mommy and my heart is breaking! I don't think she knows my first name yet, because my husband mostly calls me Honey. If one of us calls her Honey, she usually says "I'm not Honey, I'm Sweetie!"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 13, 2006 at 9:16 AM  

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