What's in a Nickname?
Now, just for the record, we don’t watch WWF wrestling. The kids don’t see violent programming, TV commercials, or music videos. We don’t beat our crumb crunchers. Scott and I don’t go around hitting one another with hockey sticks, nor do our eldest children, which is why we were quite shocked when our 2-year-old expressed his desire to strike his sister with said hockey stick.
So by referring to Casey as The Thug—while simultaneously trying to convince him that he shouldn’t hit people with his hands, feet or sports equipment—am I inadvertently helping to turn him into a thug?
Then there’s The Diva, otherwise known as Abbey. Every conceivable definition of the word “diva” befits her, even though she doesn’t have a movie star staff of hundreds at the ready to fetch her favorite bottled water and give her pedicures on demand. Although it frequently seems as though she considers my husband and me her personal hand servants and is apt to request post-bath foot massages.
Putting aside Abbey’s sparkly, Pepto-Bismol hued wardrobe, and ignoring the fact that we are frequently required to sit on the living room couch to watch her dance (after which we must applaud uproariously), there are other little character clues that all point to one, irrefutable conclusion: Diva.
Ask Abbey to do anything other than play–like clear her plate from the table, make her bed or put her coloring material away—she’ll dramatically drop to the floor and feign abject exhaustion. “I’m too tired,” she’ll groan as she hyperventilates like she’s just completed the Boston Marathon. When the situation escalates and she’s given a choice of picking up her toys or spending some time in her room, she’d rather sit on her bed for hours than participate in any degree of manual labor.
If I ever want Abbey to drop her diva routine and Casey to start acting civilized, perhaps I’d better ditch the nicknames. As for my brother, however, I still refer to him as Scum’s Rash when the mood strikes me, even if his hair now smells like fruit instead of feet.
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