Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's in a name?

As I've already shared, I work in a daycare. I love rocking the babies. There is something so soothing about that baby smell, a mixture of baby products, a little spit up and their mommy's perfume. I love it! I certainly get my "baby fix" on a daily basis these days and in large doses too! As I'm rocking, I have plenty of time to think and often I find myself curious as to the background of some of the names that go with the babies I hold. Are they family names? Do they have a special significance or story with them or were they simply picked out of a baby book because they sounded good?

I know, because I've been told many times, that my name came after a lot of thought, making sure that nothing cruel or funny could be made out of my name its self or my initials. You see my aunt had initials that spelled the word "JAB" and my dad has never forgotten how cruel some kids could be. In the end they stuck me with the name MICHELE. (Yes, it is spelled with one "L".) Do I like it? I wouldn't say it is my favorite name in the world, but I've grown fond of it in the sense that I can't see myself named anything else. Honestly, who hasn't at one time or another wished they had a different name? As I have told my daughter (who doesn't like her own name) when you are a parent, that is your gift in life... the ability to name your child anything you want!

While my dad, was always worried about spellings and initials, my mom was one of those mothers who didn't believe in nicknames. She always told me if she had wanted me to be called by a nickname, she would have just named me that! Yet again, who hasn't gone through childhood or their teenage years without one? Over the years, I've had many... "'chele," "Mish" and the one I still sometimes go by "Mich" are just a few.

What I think is funny and the who;e reason I wrote this, is that no matter how hard my dad tried to come up with a name that couldn't be made fun of and my mom insisted on no nicknames, you can't help the fact that God created children with great imaginations and stages in their speech development. Sometimes kids can be cruel, however sometimes they can be extremely funny too!

One of my favorite called names was given to me by a very special child. The first time he said it, I died laughing, but then it stuck, and I even used it for a while, until he and his brothers outgrew it! My sweet, adorable, creative nephew started calling me Auntie "Chelf," once upon a time and I thought it was precious. Although, he wouldn't think about calling me that today, after all he is a big 3rd grader now, I still smile when I remember...

Which brings me to today... I was walking out of the baby room at the daycare and the Preschoolers were eating lunch. This little, cute as a button, three year old stopped me; "Are you Mrs. chelf?" I was smiling the rest of the day! Oh Dad, you tried, but 38 years ago did you ever think the kids would call your baby girl a "shelf?" You just have to laugh!

What's in a name? Memories...


Amber said...

For a family who started out not wanting nicknames, we sure have become masters....

"Chelf," "Mich," "Amb," "Kay," "Kay Bear,"
"Jor," "Jor Jor Binks," "Kea," "Saw," "Tater Tot," and the list could go on and on!

Go figure!

Jo said...

Oh dear! Now the secret's out on the internet! haha Yes, some kids can be cruel and it doesn't take much for some to turn the most inconsequential thing into something hurtful (emotionally and physically).
I grew up and got over it, but I never really realized how much my pain had affected him until much, much later...when you were on the way. You've got quite a Dad there, girl!
Aunt Jo

Jim said...

Well, Meeshell My Bell,
Do you recall when I took you to school to start first grade. We had had so much problem correcting the spelling of your name for folks at doctor's offices, etc., that I just knew I'd have to do it again. You were pre-registered, so the names were plastered on the door. Yep! There it was again, so I told the teacher it was spelled wrong and she had me to change the records while I was there. I got home and related the news to your Mom, and she ask me how they spelled it. I said, "They left off one of the l's." She replied, "that's the way it's spelled!" Yep, you guessed it! I had to go immediately back to the school and redo the changes. Assumptions can be embarrassing!

And of course, your "Kay Kay" and her Winnie the Pooh era when she was learning to talk gave me the grandpa moniker of Poohpa. I still have to correct the proper origin of the term. Not "Poop-ha" but "Pooh-pa".

Well, what's in a name? It's what we make it that gives it its real glory!

Love you, "Shelf!"