It all started with my grandfather...
Apparently, he woke his three girls up every morning with a sing songy rhyme. My mother's was "wake up Fredda Jeannie beenie weenie whoa" which was right after he hollered to my aunt, "time to get up Andrea Leigh hee hoo hoo ha ha." I know--weird, but it has become the norm for my nutty family.
My mother must have a gazllion nicknames for each of us, including all the cousins. When I was little my grandmother used to warn that none of us would know our real names if she continued to make up ones up for each of us. And they weren't out of nowhere--many developed and evolved over time. For instance, my cousin Bina. She was born Mary Righton Brown, aka MRB. Which turned to Murb, which lead to Murbina, which lead to Bina Ballerina which was shortened to Bina. The girl looks like Jennifer Aniston and yet we have called her Bina for the past 20 some odd years. When I was growing up, my mother didn't hold back with her wacko language. She'd hold the phone against her chest (as if that stifles any sound at all) and yell, "Little Big Mac, the phone is for you" or "LaurieLouLou Bird, your date is here." Seriously, mom?!! If you ask me, it was her way of overcoming the name Fredda. If you call everyone else something ridiculous, then Fredda doesn't seem to stand out so much.
But it wasn't just the nickname, there was usually a song to go with it as well as a gush. Now this is an important term in the Owens household--if you call somewhat fat or chunky and then gush them, it means you love them so much you can't stand it! You could be a 90lb. teenage boy but if we think you are cute, then we will say "Come here you chunky thing" and then gush your heiny. I am not making this up--Meredith (my sister) gushed Bert within the first 5 minutes of meeting him.
I'm not saying I dislike this. I mean, I have carried on the tradition of cookiness. For as long as I can remember, my number one nickname was Loulou or Laurielou--no one called me by my real name. I didn't mind--hence, the name Loulie. It didn't just fall out of the sky--the Bug's name came from a long line of loving nicknames.
It took Bert a couple of months to catch on but he is now on board. It started for him when we got Bridget Bojangles who quickly became Shaniqua while she was napping because sometimes it was just more fun to say. She has had about a hundred nicknames since then. One anniversary, Bert turned it around on me. I had been calling him Mr. Pufftastic for about a year. He had gotten used to it and by that time was answering to anything. It was our second anniversary which calls for a "linen gift." I opened the box to find a towel wrap with the monogram "Mrs. Pufftastic" in blue script on the right corner. He told me if he was Mr. Puff, then that made me Mrs. Puff--great, I had never thought about it that way. Names have only evolved from there.
Bottom line, you probably need a translator to visit our house. I'll try to be clear in my post but just in case, I have included a translation below. Is anyone else out there as wacky as we are?
Gush: (verb or noun) meaning to pinch on a squishy part of a loved ones body.
Mullygrubs: (noun) to have the "I can't help it"s, a little down, usually the result of January or a rainy day
Fat: an endearing term that means you are good enough to eat. Has nothing to do with size or weight of one's body
Lauren: Laurieloulou Bird, Laurielou, Big, Little Big Mac Attack, Bunny Biscuit Weaver, Bunnybear, Little Bit and Sparkplug
Bert: Mr. Pufftastic, Husky Bear, Husk, Johnny, John, Johnny Bickerstaff, Bonshnowzer
Loulie: Loulie Bug, Munchkipuff, Punkin Pie Beanpole, Dyschweka Patterson, Muffinfuss, I really could go on and on
Bridget Bojangles: Shaniqua, Dysheki, Fat and Husky Dog, BB, Bergit
Fredda: Mom, Lovey, Gertrude, Apple Fredda, Fredda Cheese, Frida
Tom: Grandaddy, T Burger, Fatboy, T, Big Tom
Meredith: Aunt Muffy, Piff, Mufliuflionipone,
Bruce: Uncle B, Brucifer, Brusky, "whoa--who is that tall guy?"
I could move on to extended family but I'll stop here. If you have made it to the end of this post, please don't call the psych ward.