Babyfest 2007 Babyfest 2007
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Parental Name Game

December 18, 2007
Filed under: Baby Kenton, Blog — emkenton @ 8:22 am

I’m currently flummoxed by what my maternal name should be.  I know that Mommy (and Daddy) tend to be the standards, and indeed, these are the names I grew up using for my own parents.  As I’ve alluded to previously, however, I ran into a spot of trouble with the “Mommy” thing back in junior high/high school when I realized I couldn’t yell “Mommy” across a crowded room to get my mother’s attention because….well, that would sound strange.  But I’m a big believer in the name/identity connection thing so I couldn’t just alter it to “Mom” and have it sound okay.  My mother is not my “Mom.”   Hence the rise of “Sheils” which was a much easier way for me to communicate.  (And, of course, all credit is due to AKH, who may or may not have actually invented “Sheils” but still receives accolades for most all of our nicknames…as well as the 1997 Dodge Caravan Sheils still drives.)  

My strong name/identity bonding quirk also rears its head when becoming friends with people who already are called a nickname.  I generally just can’t call someone by a moniker that already existed– I need to come up with my own (or have AKH make it for me).  Case in point: Seth has a teacher friend at school whom people call “Baldi” because her last name is Baldwin.  I can not make my mouth form that word.  So I call her by her first name.  On the flip side, if your name is Thomas and you go by Tom, I can call you Tom.  But if you want to be called T-Dog or something like that– it’s just not gonna happen.

The question of name/identities came up just last night.  Seth and I hosted 25 (!!!) of our young adult small group church friends for the annual Christmas gathering and gift exchange.  We’d recently relocated my Baylor yearbooks to a temporary holding place downstairs and a nosy guest (let’s just say he might want to be called T-Dog) started going through one of them.  He was bewildered by the same thing I was when the edition was printed– it says that I’m from Leawood, Kansas!!   When I was a senior, a freshman showed up on campus with the nerve to have the name Emily Moore.  She was from Leawood, Kansas and managed to confuse the yearbook staff enough for them to claim the midwest as my stomping grounds.  See that?  Stripping away of identity right there!

In any event, we are blessed to have such wonderful friends and had a fabulous time squeezing them all in last night!  If you want to learn more about our group, you can check out


  1. Seriously, Mumsie doesn’t work? I agree with the Mommy bit, but I’ve always enjoyed calling my mother Mom. Particularly when I’m not happy with her and say it strongly or just go all out “MOTH-ER!”. It makes up for the years she ran my whole name together when she was upset at me. Ok, back to ideas. When I want to find fun new name ideas I look to our foreign brethren. So what is your heritage (or better yet, what do they say in India…my fall back country)? Let’s try some out:
    French: mere (I might opt for this, it’s like a name. I call my friend Meredith Mer -pronounced mare.)
    German: mutter (c’mon, that’s awesome sounds like French mustard without the d and less of the a)
    Italian: madre (don’t you already use this one??)
    Russian: mat pronounced mahj (yes, this is a winner for me…I wondered why my sister called my mom that! me likey)
    Japanese: Haha (no worries yelling this across a room…you’d be such a cool mom, but good luck finding your kid at a comedy club)
    Ukranian: Maty (like party without the r)
    Lithuanian: Motina (sounds like mautina)
    Armenian: Mayr (like meyer, as in oscar)
    Czech: Matka just like it’s spelled…so sweet
    Dutch: Moeder (a lot like motor but a little more like water with an m)
    Estonian: Ema (yep, emma)
    Croatian: Matka (like a stretched out MIKE…my-e-ke)
    Indonesian: Ibu (eeboo)
    Irish: mathair (mah-hair, almost like more hair)
    Polish: Motka (just like latka but with an m!! who doesn’t love latkas?!)
    Korean: O-mo-ni (now this has a tune to it you can’t resist!)
    Turkish: Anne (anna just like sheils!)
    Hindi: mataji (ma-ta-gee, gotta love India!!)
    Hungarian: Anya (as in, that kid looks good “on ya”)

    Too bad you can’t roll your Rs because there were a lot of those.

    Ok, wasted enough time on that…hope you find one you like. (I know I found several.)

    Comment by cpine — December 18, 2007 @ 9:53 am

  2. man, I think I got a lot of undeserved credit in this posting…but don’t get me wrong. I like it : )

    Additionally, thank you to cpine for taking the pressure off and providing the wonderful list of around-the-world mama-aliases. Thank you for also making me realize what a wonderful language Turkish is!

    Comment by akh — December 18, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  3. I actually would like to be called T-dawg…that would be awesome.

    As to your name, I think mom is short and sweet. Though I think you should try to get little Brooksie to call Seth “Coach”.

    Comment by tom — December 18, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

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