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Huck, AKA Hen, AKA Buzz, AKA Gus

If you were to come to my house on a random night and sit on my sofa (and drink my Diet Cokes, go on help yourself, I’m a good hostess), you’d be forgiven for thinking I have five kids. For the life of me, I can’t seem to settle on a nickname for my kid. In a five-minute time span I’ve called him ten random names! You’d be just sitting there, paging through my magazines, thinking to yourself, “Who is this Hen person, and how long has she had a kid named Buzz?” Also you’d probably be thinking, “Wow, she has bad taste in names.”

Now, this is one of those areas of parenting that never comes up in the books (which I haven’t read anyway, lets be honest) and I feel it deserves some discussion: Nicknaming your kids. Super hard, right? At what point does it feel natural to call your kid by the name you picked out for him at birth? I mean, sure, some people let their kids’ nicknames evolve naturally, but where’s the fun in that? Is this just me? I swear, naming my dogs was way easier than this!

We went around and around (and around!) on the name issue when I was pregnant. I had picked out all of names of my future children by the time I was in the fifth grade, of course, but by the time my baby was nearly fully-cooked and naming him was becoming a reality, my husband declared that “Henry” was suddenly off the table. (He “never liked it all that much.” Rude!) So we scrambled. Simon? David? Nothing felt right. Especially because I had been calling the baby “Huck” for months and needed a name that would make all that make sense. So, “Henry” won out by virtue of the fact that we couldn’t come up with anything better (though middle name Gene was swapped for August).

So, naming babies is hard. Yes? As difficult as I expected it would be, yes. But what happens when you go into naming a baby with the expectation that you’ll be calling him by a nickname most of the time, and then you’re not actually able to stick with that nickname? That is something else entirely, isn’t it though?

Here are the nicknames my poor confused kid gets called on the daily:

1. Of course, “Huck”, and the many variations thereof I can manage to come up with in a day (Huckles, Huckley, Huckadoo, etc.).

2. Sometimes I call him “Bug”, or “Buzz”. Why? No really, why?

3. Then there’s “Hen.” Hen feels like my special, personal nickname, too tender for public use. This, of course, means that I’ll likely end up calling him “Hen” the most and in front of all his friends to boot, and therefore it won’t be so special anymore.

4. “Hank”, “Hank the Tank”, “Hank the Crank”, and of course, “Hanky Pank” (duh).

5. The first/middle combo, otherwise known as You’re In Trouble, Mister!: “Henry August”
(But sometimes I feel like calling him Henry August just for fun though? Won’t that get confusing to him later? If I keep this up, will he constantly be thinking he’s in for it or something?)

6. What I (alarmingly) wanted to call him from the first second he was born: “Henry Diddle Squat”

7. The nickname version of that nickname: “Henry Dids”

8. His nickname at four in the morning when he’s already woken up twice to eat and I know he’s just messing with me: “Ugghghghhhhhhhghghgghghghghg”

9. And then of course, his real name: “Henry.” My husband almost always calls him Henry. And he was the one who didn’t really like “Henry!” The strangeness of this! I mean, !!!!!

10. Lately I have been calling him Tooth Face, so . . .

11. Then there’s the nickname from the left field of his middle name, which I never saw coming but which is really quite catchy: “Gus”
(Confusingly, I’ve always liked “Gus” as a nickname to “Oscar,” which is my top name should we get pregnant again and end up with another boy. So do I save the Gus? Or do I Carpe Diem the Gus because there may never be an Oscar? Do you feel sorry for me and feel glad that you are not having to be me these days?)

Your theories on nicknames and a resounding “RELAX, NATALIE” in the comments, please.

Babble S.O.S. : I need a baby name today!

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