As mom and dad cuddle their newborn baby, they often start using cute, or not so cute, names as their baby looks at them with love and trust. Unfortunately, parents sometimes just don’t think about what those nicknames they assign to their cuddly baby. Nor do they realize that such nicknames often follow a baby into adulthood.
Imagine being a ten-year-old boy running on the playground and having friends call out, “Hey, Baby Huey!” Thanks, Dad. Imagine that same fellow as a man, trying to be and look professional in his job as a draftsman in an engineering company. He has recently completed two years of community college and is still unsure of himself, but trying not to let it show. An old friend stops by for lunch and says, a bit too loudly, “Are you ready to go, Baby Huey?” Thanks, Dad.
Imagine, too, the teen boy on his first date with a girl who has been his heart’s desire for years. As they sit on the sofa in his living room, with the DVD starting to show credits, she asks, “Why do they call you Ears?” He explains that as a newborn, his ears just didn’t seem to fit his head. She lifts his long hair from the side of his face and looks at his ears…and laughs. Thanks, Dad.
April and John are leaving her house for their first date. John was quite the gentleman, coming into the house to meet her parents. As they walk down the porch steps he asks, “Did your Mom just call you Tootsey?” Thanks, Mom.
Slugger, Poopie-pants, Junior, Bubba, Baby Girl. These are all names that one can hear a parent call a baby or young child. They might just be cute when a kid is young. But when a child starts playing outdoors with friends or starts attending school, such names, if they follow the child, can be devastating.
As parents, we often spend days, weeks, even months, pouring over books so that we can select just the right name for our child. We consult relatives and friends. We even pray about our decision for the name that will go with and define our child for life. But we give no such consideration to the nicknames we assign to our kids.
In an instant, a word or phrase escapes our mouth as we cuddle our new baby. It sounds cute at the time, and it sticks. And we call our babies that same cutsey name again and again as they coo at us.
Eventually, though, they get too big to hold or to cuddle. But often the nicknames we have assigned to them as infants go with them into childhood, teen years, and adulthood. Are you really prepared for that? Can you – and they – live with the names uttered in love when the baby becomes a man?