I was filling out an email survey today, and one of the questions was: "What are some of your nicknames?" My family has more than a few names for me, so I started listing them. Halfway through typing the first one, I stopped to giggle at the memory of my mom telling me that, when I was about 4, I refused to respond to the name Laurie.
"My name is not Laurie," I huffed in my childish voice. "My name is Doodlebug."
I don't know where it came from. Nobody does. It's a mystery.
But wherever it came from, it stuck. I'm 24 and I still get messages on my cell phone saying "Doodlebug, it's Mom. Call me back."
There was a time in my life when I was mortified by the name. Sixteen years old, and eager to feel grown up and cool, I shunned my nickname. Doodlebug. How childish. How uncool. How stupid. I refused to answer to any sentence that began with "Doodlebug." I forbade my mother to use it in front of my friends. She slipped once, saying "Bye Doodlebug!" as I left the house with a friend, and I fought back tears. I was horrified by the idea that my friend may have heard it and would spread it around school, as though being called Doodlebug was the worst thing that could happen to me. I didn't want to be known as Doodlebug. I wanted to be cool.
My parents induldged my desire for secrecy, agreeing to keep their arsenal of nicknames for me under wraps. They referred to me as Laurie or Honey when friends were around. But when I was alone with them, they called me every name they ever had for me, and even made up a few. And now, even though I'm all grown up, nicknames abound.
I call my dad The Olden Dragon.
I call my mom Pocahantas.
I call my brother Chaserina.
But those are just a few.
It seems like the worst nicknames always stick. The cute ones, the sweet ones never do; My dad spices up our conversations by calling me "Sugar Booger." Sure, there's an occasional "Sweetie" thrown in there. But I'm not called Sweetie nearly as often as I'm called "Fart Blossom."
Obviously, I've grown past the stage of embarrassment that comes along with pet names. Now, I think they're cute. I love that my parents have bestowed upon me nicknames including references to bodily functions and mucus. At this stage in my life, they don't make me shudder, they make me laugh. And they remind me of being a kid; A chubby kid in a purple bathing suit running around our huge yard in Kentucky, bowl haircut blowing in wind, laughing without even caring that I had teeth missing.