Kid Nicknames That Stick, No Matter What
~By Alan Kercinik, Always Jacked
I did not have a nickname when I was a boy. Which may be why I take this shit seriously.
Our oldest is Jack. He has a slew of nicknames. Jack Attack. Jackamo Jackson. Jackaroni. They are acceptable. They are also lay-up nicknames for any Jack in town.
I have failed him as a father.
Reid’s nickname is another story. His is Who Botz (pronounced who * bots). There is a variation – Who Botzio – that I call him in the mornings when I get him from his crib or lift him high into the air, moments when he is at his smiliest.
Reid became Who Botz while I was still on paternity leave. I’d never heard the name in my life. I was looking at him and said to my wife, “You know what he looks like? A Who Botz.” Neither of us knew what that meant, but it stuck.
The entire extended family calls him this now, including Jack. Inquisitive as he is, Jack has never once asked what a Who Botz is. Which just proves that I was right. because it is so obvious that Reid is a Who Botz that any explanation is unnecessary and a waste of everyone’s time.
There is even a song. I make up a lot of songs, tossed-off little lyric fragments that should be big hits. “Have you ever met a guy named Who Botz? Yat datta datta dat Who Botz.”
Maybe ‘big hits” is a bit strong.
Almost a year later, Reid still responds to his nickname. “Hey, Who Botz,” will elicit a turned head and that bouncing-up-and-down-while-sitting-clapping thing that is the mark of very young children and simple-minded adults.
Being unique in this way has its downside. Your reaction, for example. “What in God’s name is wrong with this family of crazy people?” you ask. “Nicknames are supposed to be from a language that exists, somewhere, even in fiction.”
That’s all well and good, if you want to be like everyone else. But sometimes I hear things in my heart that just are what they are, things that can be inspired only by my kids and are for only them. This is how I tell my son that I don’t think there is anyone else in the world like him. (There can’t be. No one else could possibly be calling their kid Who Botz.)
And I’ll keep calling him that, every day, until he is old enough to understand when I tell him using real, actual words.
No matter how people look at me.
Alan is the mastermind behind the hilarious blog Always Jacked.