I suppose that most families develop nicknames for children, especially larger families. In our case it seems to be a rite of passage. Some nicknames stick and others just become terms of affection.
Our eldest child, Kathleen, is known by us as Leen, because that was the first word that her younger brother Michael could form to describe her. Outside the family she is Kath.
Young Michael is a different story.
I have no recollection of how or why we first called him Dude, but that’s how he is now known by us, his friends, teachers and the parish priest. Almost nobody calls him Michael.
From our point of view it was probably a way of differentiating him from me. We’re at the stage now where the children are starting to receive phone calls. I don’t want to be summonsed by somebody wanting Michael, only to find they’d like to talk with a nine-year-old.
Dude has really stuck. He calls himself that and his teachers call him that.
James to me is the Tank. Others aren’t calling him that yet, but let’s wait and see. He’s also the Big Bubba, but that one can’t last forever.
Margaret is my sweetpea. That’s a term of endearment, but just as Kathleen is my princess, I don’t think it will stick outside the family.
Margaret has also become known as Moo. James can say that and everyone else is using it. Maggie Moo is the full title, but like all Australians we shorten this to plain Moo.
Margaret answers to that name and older children in the street are beginning to call her Moo. I sense a Dude-type phenomena starting here.
I wonder if either Dude or Moo will resist their nicknames in years to come?