Tag Archives: nicknames

Monkey Has Left The Building

photo by Traci Bunkers @ http://www.TraciBunkers.com

“I don’t like it anymore,” my son said, right before he took an enormous bite out of an enormous apple.


He held up one finger to indicate that his mouth was full, a gesture he learned from me.

“This Monkey business. I’ve outgrown it.”

I’ve been waiting for this moment since my son started middle school.

Last year.

But now that he is finishing his first semester of 7th grade, he has decided that Monkey is no longer a good fit for him.

Forget about the fact that he actually looks exactly like Curious George.

If Curious George had freckles.

Forget about the fact that after he gets a brush cut, his hairline looks exactly like a little baby monkey’s.

Forget about the fact that he is sproingy like a monkey.

The reality is that Monkey is done being Monkey.

“So can I just start calling you by your real name?”

“Noooooo!” my son shrieked in his high-pitched I’m-in-the-midst-of-puberty-and-my-voice-but-my-voice-hasn’t-changed-yet timbre.

“Well, get to thinking,” I told my boy. “I have to call you something.

After he completed three hours of homework — ten algebra problems, a Spanish worksheet on conjugating verbs, some science worksheet on density, mass and volume, a social studies worksheet on Chapter 2, Section 4, and an English thingy where he had to read something and write a response (note: he keeps me out of the English loop) — he went downstairs to practice piano and then returned upstairs to practice for his bar-mitzvah.

Around 6 pm, he put all his books away and wandered into the kitchen where I was making dinner.

“Tech Support?”

“What about tech support?” I asked absently as I popped a black olive in my mouth while pouring marinade over that night’s chicken.

“That’s what you should call me.”

I looked at him blankly.

“You know, for your blog?” He picked up an olive and popped it into his mouth.

“That’s actually pretty good…”

“It’s good because it’s true,” he said.

Little bastard is right. He will always be my little Monkey, but over the last year, our conversations involve my screaming for his assistance because something has happened to my Excel Spread sheet formula, and I don’t know how to fix it. So he fixes it for me. Or I want to do a Power Point presentation, but I don’t know how to set it up. So he sets it up for me. Or I want to change the banner on blog but that involves Gimp and multiple layers, and I don’t know how to do that. So he does it for me. In 6.3 minutes. For years, he has been my IT guy: my fixer, my assistant.

I am starting to think I should pay him.

While I was thinking these things, my 12-year old son said aloud (to absolutely no one): “I will detach your head from your body!”

Looking around the room, I declared, “Wow, you are the King of the non-sequitor.”

“I know,” he smiled. “And yes, I know what a non-sequitor is.”

We both popped olives in our mouths and, as I finished the dinner prep, my son moved to the pantry in search of something that would be ready to eat sooner than the chicken.

Finding nothing, he moved to the freezer.

Which is empty.

Because it has been broken for one week now.

My son stuck his head deep inside the icemaker. From the depths of the freezer, I heard my son’s voice. It was deeper than usual. Distorted from being inside the freezer, he sounded like someone else: a man.

“I really want a frozen pretzel,” this man said, “When are we going to get our freezer fixed?”

“As soon as I get some.”

“Some what?” he turned to look at me, 12-years old again.

I smiled and popped another olive in my mouth, held up my finger and made him wait.

“Tech Support.”

What nicknames did you call your children? Have they changed over the years? What little changes have signaled your child is growing up?

Lessons From Nicknames

A friend of mine recently told me about the time her younger daughter accidentally cracked her head open on the doorknob at the top of a staircase. Of course this incident occurred the same weekend her daughter had a nasty sinus infection and was horking up greenish-brown lugies, thus earning her the nickname Snorky McStaplehead.

The name didn’t stick.

I’ve had many nicknames during the course of my life: I’ve answered to Ren, Renz, Renna, Nay, Nay-Nay, Née, She-Nay-Nay, Hools, Hoolie, Razz, RAS, RazzJ, RASJ, Teach. Each name is connected to the person that I am/was during a specific place and time. The memories attached to the names are inescapable — but not all were terms of endearment.

One summer, when I was 14-years old and enjoying my time at overnight camp, a few of the boys started calling me Kelloggs. I had no idea why. Finally, one of the guys fessed up.

“Because you’re flaky,” he said unapologetically and without a trace of irony.

He thinks I’m stupid, I thought to myself. I’m not stupid.

In college, I worked my butt off. Graduated cum laude. Learned a secret handshake and got a gold key when I was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa.

No one ever called me Kelloggs again.

Tell me a nickname you’ve picked up during your life? Who gave it to you? Do you like it? And what’s the story behind name?