Growing up, I was called “Susie.” Once I reached cynical teenager-hood, I loathed the name. I didn’t feel it fit me. I met Ben, and he started calling me “Sue.”
Casting off a childhood nickname is a powerful thing. It can free you from a role you never agreed to play. (Have you ever met someone who has completely renamed themselves? Changed their name to Summer Showers or Cat Rainbow? Something traumatic is in their past. But I digress.)
Nora has informed Ben and me that she does not want to be called “Kiddo” anymore. I didn’t realize how often we were doing this until she asked us to stop. We found we couldn’t. The first few days she was constantly reminding us, and now we try to remind each other.
It may seem silly, but I feel it’s very important to honor this request. She’s establishing a sense of herself, and if we ignore that, or don’t take it seriously, what would that tell her?
So, when I forget, she says, “Remember? I don’t want to be called “Kiddo” anymore.”
“Oh, that’s right.” I say, “I’m sorry, I forgot. You may have to remind me a few more times.”
“I just want to be called ‘Nora,'” she replies. “That, or ‘Honey Bunny.'”
“Can do, Honey Bunny. Can do.”