I’ve never met anyone that said, “ I love my name.” I’ve not met a person that said, “ I’m so grateful my parents gave me this name, I couldn’t have chosen a better one myself”. Because, let’s face it, when we’re born we’re given a name and that’s that. Most people, just accept their name for what it is, a gift bestowed on them by their parents. Some may not like their name; I know a few people who use their middle name instead of their registered first name, but it seems to me that most people, apart from the odd ‘I’m off to Deed Poll’ renegade, just grin and bear it with what they were given.
Unfortunately, Mum and Dad aren’t the only people that can bestow names. In those very early days, as a little pink wrinkly person; unable to say a word and barely able to keep your eyes open, you are unaware that siblings, grandparents and yes, Mum and Dad again, are bestowing yet more names; cutesy names, nicknames. Fast forward through life, and schoolchums, work colleagues, lovers, husbands and children are all adding their own monikers. Before you know it, you’ve gathered enough names to make carving out your headstone rather expensive.
The highly descriptive Older Mum has challenged me to reveal some of mine, and whilst I don’t think I can match her wonderfully entrancing alias of 'Tantra', I am game for a laugh, so here are a few of mine.
Moonface – Enid Blyton had no idea what she was doing to small children with round faces when she created this character in The Magic Faraway Tree. Let me conjure up the image for you; my school photograph aged five. There I was, resplendent in grey pinafore dress topped with a face the shape of a plate, framed by two bunches swinging side to side. Yes, Moonface, not exactly flattering for a young girl. Thankfully when you’re 6 or 7 years old, you get over these things quite quickly. At least, I did. (And in case you're wondering, my face is more platter than plate shaped these days.)
Sweetie Pop – Back in the day, before the era of mobile phones, when people still manned telephone exchanges, my Dad, ever the forward thinking man he was, bought a CB radio. He had a two fold purpose in doing this, firstly to liaise with fellow travellers on optimal travel routes but, more importantly, to be able to contact my mother and say; ‘Put the dinner on darling, I’ll be home in 30 minutes”. We all had a ‘handle’: mine was SweetiePop. I remember the machine in our living room with its twiddly buttons and funny handset. If my Dad was going to be home later than bedtime, we’d have a quick chat on the CB before I went to bed. I liked being Sweetie Pop and using the CB. It felt very cool at the time.
Dotty – A moniker from early secondary school. Coined on Brownie camp, this little beauty followed me around for a while. Possibly because I was a little bit scatty. After a while it was shortened to Dot. Suddenly I
got very fed up, grew up and sought to disassociate myself with the name. If Dot had been a full stop on a piece of paper, all I would have needed was one of those smelly strawberry erasers you had in the late eighties and I could have been free of her. As it was, it took a while to shake this affectionately meant, but annoying nickname off.
A long period followed where I was just known by my first name. (Of which, there is nothing remarkable to note.) Then, as my love life started to flourish, a series of saccharine, cringeworthy names followed. You don’t mind (so much) when you’re in love. It’s afterwards you look back and shudder. So, for obvious reasons, I’ll gloss over these.
Bear - My god-daughter’s mother bestows new names on people as if she is giving alms to the poor. In some ways it is flattering, you have been welcomed into her inner circle once you have received your own ‘special’ name. I find it impossible to even keep up with what her own name, and those of her daughters are at any one time, they change so frequently. But Bear rhymes with my first name, hence why I am called Bear or sometimes Aunty Bear. Although why this is the case I don’t know, as I am not their Aunt. Anyway, as names inflicted on their extended ‘family’ go, I’ve got off quite lightly. Take my poor husband for instance; he’s been christened 'Badger'. Now there’s a name that can make a man feel bad about his increasing mass of grey hair….
Mummy Plum- is this my name? Sort of. Mummy Plum came about as the title for this blog because it’s what Pip actually calls me. If I’d never let him watch television it wouldn’t have been a problem; ‘Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom’ and the vagaries of a 2 year old’s mind are to blame for him deciding my name was Mummy Plum. It looked like it was a moniker I was going to be stuck with until a few weeks ago, when I started to be called:
To which, I firmly say: NO. That’s NOT my name.
I don’t want to be Mum. I want to cling on to the innocence and loveliness of the little voice saying ‘Mummy!’ as he snuggles up for a cuddle or, shouts to be rescued from a tree-climbing mission gone wrong. Time is passing so quickly and he’s growing up too fast as it is. So, he can call me Mummy Plum, Mummy Moonface, Mummy Sweetie Pop, Mummy Dot, I don’t mind. But not, Mum. Not yet. I’m just not ready.
What does your child call you? Did they transition from Mummy to Mum? When? Did you mind?