We are on the way home from visiting friends, when Beaver makes a startling announcement.
‘I don’t want to be a Ransom anymore,’ she says.
How, at the ripe old age of four, has Beaver come to the decision that our family is so disastrous, she simply doesn’t want to be a part of it anymore?
I mean, honestly, some days I wouldn’t blame her. I’ve had the same thought myself. But she’s certainly not abdicating before I do. I’ve done my time. And if anyone’s getting parole from this dysfunctional family, it’s me.
I can envision the adoption papers and Beaver, Tinkerbell bag in hand, trotting purposefully down the garden path we don’t have (perhaps a contributing factor in her wanting to leave). To her new, perfect family. Who have a lovely garden path, lined with flowers.
‘Nope, I don’t like Ransom. I want a new name.’
‘A new name?’
‘Lilypops,’ she says.
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Elizabeth Lilypops. That is what I would like to be called from now on.’
And that is that. Done and dusted. A new name in about the time it takes to eat a Percy Pig. Actually, a bit less.
I don’t really blame Beaver for thinking she can change her name. Like lots of kids, she’s already had a string of nicknames. No wonder she thinks a new one is hers for the taking.
And it’s rather funny how we all spend so long agonising over our children’s names. Then the minute they are born we invent new ones and struggle to remember what we actually put on their birth certificates.
The right nicknames can be affectionate. Personal. They can make our family units just that little bit more familiar. The wrong nickname can be downright annoying. Or tactical ammunition.
Take the nickname I gave my sister when we were younger, Miss Piality Jane. Even now, I have absolutely no idea what it means or what a Piality is. I just know that when I used it, it really pushed her buttons. And that was a small win for me in the battle of Little Sister vs. Big Sister.
So, be careful when ‘choosing’ a nickname for your child. Remember, that some will stick. No matter what you do. Remember that it will very likely encourage your child to come up with a few, less considered, more imaginative ones of their own.
Finally, be prepared that you may also find yourself in situations where you’re forced to explain your nicknames to others. Which may or may not involve explaining to your mum the non-animal, non-boy Scout definition of a ‘Beaver’ (ahem) after she innocently mentions your daughter’s nickname to the hairdresser and he remarks, ‘Ooh, that’s a bit unfortunate.’
Actually, in thinking about it, perhaps Elizabeth Lilypops isn’t so bad after all.
Maybe we will let Beaver name the new baby.
HOW DID YOU ‘CHOOSE’ YOUR CHILD’S NICKNAME?
OR PERHAPS YOU STILL HAVE ONE FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD DAYS… ALL ANONYMITY PRESERVED SO FESS UP…