Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nicknames

I've seen some mommy-bloggers use nicknames for their children and their husband in their blogs, and I kind of like the idea. I've typically just referred to mine as my first son (born May 2009), my second son (born October 2010), my third son (still in utero), and my husband. But I think I'd like to try out the nickname thing.

My husband is easy. He'll be the Professor. My first-year college friends who saw me out with him used to ask, "who is that graduate student that Beth is dating?" He's always looked about 10 years older than he actually is (and being old = being wise, right?). Since he also eventually hopes to be a professor, I think it's apt. Easy enough.

The kids are going to be harder. The first scheme I came up with is based on their personalities. That would yield something like the Leader, the Nice Guy, and the ? But since so much is still unknown about their personalities (particularly that of the not-yet-born one!), I didn't want to shape my own understanding of them by applying a personality trait that is so likely to change in the next few month or years. I thought I might have a hard time shaking that perception later on, and if I got stuck on it, it could make it hard for me to treat them according to who they actually are.

The second scheme I came up with is based on potential career paths I could see for them. That would yield something like the Priest, the Musician, and the ? Same problems as the first naming scheme, not to mention even more danger for me as a mother in shaping the way I raise these boys, and getting attached to something that will not be.

So what I finally came up with is to name them according to virtues of the saints we ask to intercede for them so regularly. We named our sons after saints in the hope that they would emulate those saints in virtue, even if not in vocation, and attain graces from spiritual communion with their heavenly brothers. I think it's acceptable for me, as a mother, to give them nicknames in the anticipation of and hope for such gifts.

The nickname I will use to refer to my first son, age 2 1/2, born May 2009, will be the Pious One. It's kind of appropriate, given that he's the only one of our children who actually knows any prayers, can accurately identify Jesus and the priest at mass, and can even answer a few questions of the Baltimore Catechism. But um, generally speaking, we're still working on it...sitting still through mass and prayers is first on the agenda.

The nickname for my second son, age 16 months, born October 22, will be Braveheart. No, he's not named after William Wallace or Mel Gibson. But his patron saint was courageous, and I think it's also good for a little guy with such a big heart. The courage part is not inappropriate for the way he conducts himself on a daily basis, either, given his capacity for throwing himself into things head first. No, literally, like diving off the edges of beds, chairs, pews, the floor, and so forth...head first. Um, we're working on it...

The nickname for my third son, due in June, will be the Statesman. Statesmanship or diplomacy is not a virtue specifically, but when I think about the saint after whom he's named, I think of a prudent and reverent leader who demonstrated strength and honor and promoted peace, justice, and generosity. Those, I think, are all characteristics of a good temporal ruler or statesman. Yeah, we'll get right on it...

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