Sometimes I wonder why people go to the trouble of naming babies. After all those hours of pouring over the baby names books, after all those alarmed faces you had to make, listening to the ridiculous names your spouse suggested, after all those recollections of the goofy children of your youth who put otherwise respectable names off-limits with their oafish behavior, you finally settle on a name that everybody can live with. And then you call the baby something else anyway.
Children should not be formally named until they are two or three, when they have outgrown all the infant, pet names their parents have invented for them. If all little boys were named at age two, none of them would have names that mean peace is some distant language. There would be a lot more truth in advertising.
Before the new baby was born, our son wanted to name him Brother or Doritos, depending upon whether he was more in the mood for a sibling or a snack. Both of these names made sense in their own way, and I was happy that he chose them instead of names like Parasite or Usurper. At the very least, I knew Doritos were something he liked.
Meanwhile, my wife and I spent countless hours negotiating. None of our top picks could win the support of the other parent. Finally, hours after the baby was born, we found a compromise.
Now, weeks later, I have observed that my wife refers to the baby most often as Tiny Tim. His name is not Tim, nor is it Tiny. Sometimes she calls him Peanut. This is also not his name.
His big brother still tries to tell people that the baby’s name is Brother, but when he is addressing the baby directly, he usually calls him Mr. Baby. While I appreciate that this is a very respectful form of address, that name is also nowhere to be found in the baby’s official paperwork.
I too have fallen into the habit of addressing the infant as Mr. Baby. It makes him sound like a young gentleman of substantial accomplishment. Other times, I simply call him Junior. This worked fine until his big brother adopted it as well. Big Brother’s three-year-old pronunciation of Junior comes out Junjor. To my wife, it sounds like Ginger, which she has already jokingly repeated several times in reference to the baby.
These things have a tendency to take on a life of their own, and I don’t think I want Ginger attached to my son as his nickname. The way we free-associate in my house, we’d soon be calling his brother Mary Ann. Even with all the “A Boy Named Sue” toughening qualities that these names stand to gain the children, I would still disapprove of this development.
I am simply going to have to pull the entire family back from the Junior word-association thread. I must find a name with a more suitable web of mispronunciations attached to it. If I get desperate enough, I may even have to use the one printed on the baby’s birth certificate.