What names have you been called?

When I was younger, my T-ball coach called me Smiley, I guess because I smiled a lot. I hope that is why, anyway. My sister called me Pocahontas because she thought it meant slow, as in I was slow-moving. My mom called me Bella because she thought I was beautiful, which is the Italian meaning of the word. Even when I went through puberty with a face only a mother could love, she still thought I was charming.

There is a sweet, sentimental charm to Bella thanks to my mom, and the name resonates with me. That is, in fact, why I decided to name my daughter Isabella.

Isabella is a classic Italian name, and when shortened contains my nostalgic nickname. I have assigned my daughter a few nicknames of her own - some which will stick and become terms of endearment (like Peanut, Sunshine, and of course, Bella) and some which will fade away as she gets older and I become more capable of embarrassing her (like Stinky, Poop-poop and Boo-boo.)

When my daughter was born, she was so tiny and only weighed about 5 pounds, 4 ounces when we left the hospital. Everyone who saw her - nurses, doctors, friends, well-meaning strangers - all referred to her as "a little peanut." Apparently, this term is used frequently, but my husband and I were in awe that not one person called her by any other nickname. So she become our little Peanut. And a very fitting name it is, because she is little, cute, and sometimes nutty.

Bella, the truncated form of the name Isabella, was a natural nickname to adopt for my little beauty. As I mentioned, there is a connection to my past, but also for us lazy people, you are exerting three letters less of energy every time her say her name. Every little bit counts when you are spending your energy elsewhere, like washing what seems to be a hundred sippy cups a day, and picking up stray toys before they become the dog's appetizer. Plus, as she gets older and you need to reprimand her, those three less letters mean you can stop her in her tracks that much sooner.

And then there is Sunshine, one of my personal favorites. I am not sure when I started calling her this, sometime during the first two months, but it is a name I call her often. She is like a little ray of light in my life, always happy and bright. Maybe because I am lazy, or maybe because it is just plain cute, but I have even shortened the name Sunshine and many times call her Sunny. My husband hates this nickname and thinks it sounds to hippie-ish. Peace out, hubby, because Sunny is here to stay.

What do all the names mean to her right now? Probably nothing. What does she take away from them right now? Likely confusion. If she had a visible thought bubble, I am sure it would be, "Ummm ... my name is ... actually I don't know what my name is. But this new world is confusing enough to me, so do you think you could call me by one consistent name while I figure everything else out?" Yes, that is a long thought bubble, but my daughter is super intelligent.

What do I hope the names mean to her as she gets older? That her parents love her so much, they had to call her by multiple terms of endearment as one just wasn't enough.

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