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How Do You Pick A Pet Name For Your Child? 35 Parents Share Their Weird Process

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A have two children, but based on the number of names I use around the house you'd think I have at least a dozen more. Yes, there's William and Gioia, but there's also boychik, girlchik, Buddy, Bean/Beans/Beany Baby/Gigibeans, Dude, and, well, the list goes on. People have feels about nicknames: some people want to avoid them at all costs while others plan them out before their child is born. But, in my experience, picking a pet name for your child is a weird, naturally occurring phenomenon to which few people are immune.

I find that these little pet names often fall into three categories: popular pet names (Bug, Buddy, Bubbah, Bean, and a lot of other "B" names for some reason), natural variations on a given name, and then completely off-the-wall weirdness that makes no sense whatsoever. Like, sometime during my childhood I decided I was going to call my brother "Akhi" (I still do). It in no way sounds like his real name, but just sort of happened one day. Later, however, we did discover that it's an Arabic name that means "my brother," so I'm going to chalk that one up to fate.

But what other gems have people bestowed upon their children? And, perhaps more importantly, why? I asked 35 parents how they found their own kids' nicknames, and some of them are downright bizarre.

Charlie

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"We call our youngest, [who is named] Veda, Darth Veda or Oy Veda because she’s a piece of work. Other people have taken to calling our son Abel Babel and I call him Bubba most of the time, which wasn’t really intentional. It just stuck."

Emily

"Our family nicknames for our son are Moosh and Chuck. Both stemmed from the fact that as a baby he was super pukey, so I called him “mush face” which changed to Moosh. Extended family just called him Chuck because, well, he chucked a lot. He’s going to enjoy that story at his bar mitzvah."

Tia

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"Nicknames in our family are rather nonsensical. The oldest has a nickname of Smirl. The breakdown of this is something like: pretty girl, pretty pearl, smitty smirl, smirl girl, Smirl. Her name is in no way similar to this moniker. I call the baby Nugget because she is cute and small and delicious."

Terri

"I called my daughter {Jamie) Gee Gee for years. Jamie became Jamie Gee became Gee Gee. Like Margaret became Maggie became Meggie became Meg became Peg. It makes perfect sense!"

Erin

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"My kids have bird names that just eventually evolved into avian nicknames: Robin Egg and Jay Birdie."

Shannon

"My husband has always called [our duaghter] 'baybay,' and we call her 'Hellie Lou' because I wanted her name to fit the lyrics of Elizabeth Mitchell’s "Little Liza Jane.""

Tracey

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"[My middle child] is peanut.. although he is the tallest now. [My oldest] is peanut brittle and [the little one] is peanut butter. Not sure how we came up with those nicknames but they just stuck over the years."

Samantha

"Baby A is the bug (now ladybug) and Baby B is the butt (now butterfly or nut, so as not to embarrass her). At birth, A would perch on your chest all curled up like a little bug, and nap that way for hours. B was transverse in utero and would stick her butt into my side and cause contractions. So, bug and butt/nut. They’ve grown into them quite well."

Jessey

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"PJ [her initials] turned into Peej turned into Peach turned into Peachy Pie, but Peach is fine for short "

Allison

"My middle child has always been called boo boo girl. She was always stuck on my boob as a baby because she was colicky, so that was always my number one attempt at soothing! It just stuck with her and now shes 5 and we still all call her boo boo girl."

Elise

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"My daughter is 'Crabcake.' When she was a infant I was calling her my little cupcake, and then she started teething and got really irritable and crabby, so I switched to calling her Crabcake instead. And that has of course evolved over time to Crabbicus, Crabapple, CrabCo, and Crabelina."

Candy

"We call our son 'Buddy.' It started out 'Little Buddy,' and now it’s just Buddy. Our daughter has several. I call her 'Sassy' because it fits. My husband calls her Ofisa [which is how she used to mispronounce her favorite character, Sofia the First]. She hates it and he likes to aggravate her."

Priscilla

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"Pipito or chiquillo because it’s what a lot of Latin people call young boy children and I heard it around me a lot. And then some days I just have to call him by whatever car he is pretending to be that day. 'OK Mustang Number 33, lets go to school!'"

Rhiannon

"To me, my 4-year-old is Beebs. It went through quite a transformation. I started calling her 'beebee', my variation of baby. It turned into 'Beeple Boople' pretty quick. I called her that for so long. 'Beepala Boopala' was another that stuck for a while. It eventually made its way to Beebs and it stuck. It’s pretty much the only thing I call her now."

Ella

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"My son‘s middle name is Lennon, like John Lennon, but when your parents are Russian and they hear it for the first time they think 'Lenin.' His sister is two years older and what she heard was 'lemon' so for about a year we called him 'Zacky lemon.'"

Heather

"My oldest was a difficult baby, and in an attempt to find humor in the situation we nicknamed her 'Crabby Patty Fussy Butt.'"

Stefanie

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"My daughter was 'Bunny' when she was very small (cute and wriggly like a baby bunny), which was shortened to 'Bun' or 'BunBun.'"

Erin B.

"The first time my son smiled was when I was shaking his hand and saying “Dee dee dee dee.” Ever since he was two days shy of 1 month I called him DeeDee, which turned into Deetzy, and now that’s how he sometimes refers to himself!"

Ruth

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"For reasons I don't really understand, I often call my girls chickens. 'Hey chickens, we're leaving. Let's go chicks!'"

Samantha Anne

"My son was an absolute tank as a baby. All he wanted to do was nurse which led to some ridiculously delicious thigh rolls. We stared calling him Big Bubba which just morphed into Bubba. He’s 4.5 now and even his baby sister calls him Bubba."

Tina

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"We call my daughter 'beany girl.' When I was pregnant we used one of those apps that gave you a week by week size of the baby using foods and one of the weeks was a bean. Ever since then we referred to her as 'beany girl.' We still do!"

Liisa

"My daughter is 'ladybug' or 'bug' because she looked so much like the ladybug in A Bug's Life when she was an infant."

Kate

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"We call our daughter Boots because she spent months when that was the only footwear we could get her in."

Elizabeth

"Our daughter we call 'bean' because her name is Eleanor. Ellie. Ellie-bean rhymes with jelly bean. Shortened to bean."

Abby

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"The nicknames chose us. I started calling our son 'Andy Pants' when he was a baby — I think maybe because his tiny baby pants were so adorable — and then it devolved in to calling our daughter just Pants. I will literally call out Pants at the playground and she answers."

Jin

"We call her Buggy because she was supposed to be born in June, like junebug. I think we have friends who don't even know her real name, just Bug."

Angelique

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"My name is long and people always try to shorten it, so I deliberately chose short names for my kids that I thought would be nickname-proof. So what do I, myself, do? Call my daughter Iris 'Irie' and my son Kai 'KaiKai.' Nicknames are inevitable, it turns out."

Jessie

"I’m not sure that this is particularly funny but we call my 6-year-old Sammy Pajammy because that’s what his 3-year-old sister called him when he was a baby."

Kristen

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"My son gave himself the nickname Dommy-Do as this was his stubborn response to any and all attempts to help him dress himself, eat tricky foods, etc. as a toddler. He’s almost 9, still stubborn, and the name has stuck."

Alaina

"When my daughter was just walking I started calling her Duckie since she waddled and her little diaper would stick out and [she also had] fuzzy hair. ... My youngest ... named herself LaLa when she was learning to talk and has insisted she’s LaLa ever since."

Christine

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"For about 18 months my daughter was Chewie or Chooch since her in utero name was Chewbacquina since we make 'em furry."

Lindsey

"My daughter's nickname is Missy Schmoo Moo, no f*cking idea why. Schmoo for short. My son is Mr. Bubba Bizniz. My husband started calling him that claiming his son was his business. So weird. But they’ve stuck."

Teresa

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"Beeboo is my boy’s nickname. He loves boobies, and so Beeboo is booby backwards. So funny how nicknames crop up"

Regina

"My oldest we call Monkey shortened to Monk because he loved his bouncer as a baby and I have Irish twins (my oldest was just 10.5 months when I had my second). When my youngest was born and in order to differentiate between which baby we were talking about we called him 'little baby' and that got shortened to LB. What’s ironic is he now is bigger than his older brother."

Shannon Y.

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"My son has several nicknames. We call him June because at 3 he got glasses and looked like Uncle Junior from the Sopranos."