Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Got a nickname?

Mine was always just the short version of my name. Kris or Krissy.
Around the 5th grade I decided that it was silly to call me Krissy when
there was only 1 S in my given name. So I named myself Kristi. Short
for Kristina.

With Charlotte, I tried calling her Charlie (a la Top Gun, you know).
Somehow, Char has stuck instead.

And now comes Trystan. Believe it or not, there are 2 Trystan's in his
daycare class. Technically, the other is Tristen. With the same last
initial even. There are 3 in the daycare as a whole. And I thought I
was being unique.

A week or so ago, one of the teachers told me that they had given my son
a nickname, to distinguish him from the other Tristen. They didn't
shorten his name to Tryst (which isn't probably appropriate for a
toddler, LOL) or Stan. They decided to shorten <i>him</i>. Tiny. They
wanted to nickname him Tiny.

I think its not uncommon to give a nickname that's the opposite of what
the person is--so "Tiny" would be someone who is huge. Except Trystan
isn't huge. He's tiny. As in, falling off the bottom of the growth
chart in height and weight. Outsized by kids half his age. Literally.
Our pediatrician has said that she's going to watch his growth over the
next year or two, and we might be talking to an endocrinologist about
stimulating his growth. Personally, I believe its genetic--he's
actually bigger than his sister at the same age, and she actually went
up a few notches on the curve as she got older. But he is the smallest
in his class.

Kids, and boys in particular, who are smaller frequently end up picked
on. Add a diminutive nickname to the mess, and it's a recipe for low
self esteem or worse. And, like "Char", if we allow the name to start
now, he'll carry it until he changes schools around pre-k or
kindergarten. That's too much Tiny for us.

One of the teachers called him Tiny in front of me yesterday, and I
asked her, as politely but firmly as I could, to please find him a
different name. She actually pouted. I think she's older than I am,
and she pouted at being asked to find a way to support a growing kid's
self esteem instead of diminish it.

The other Tristen is nearly 3, and will then transition out of my
Trystan's class. Maybe then, my son can re-capture his name. Until
then, hopefully they'll go with T-man, or T-Rex, or even Blondie or
Towhead. Something not quite so belittling.


Amanda said...

Having a particularly short son myself, I applaud you. Kids don't tend to pick up on that stuff if you don't make a big deal about it, but to call a small child Tiny is a bit much. Tris? Titan? Or hey I know, Trystan. Nicknames are not a necessity. So what if two kids turn their head at the same name. Why does one have to be different? Maybe include his middle name into the mix. Having no choice in having a nickname since I was Amanda and the other girl was Mandy, don't let the school force a name on your son that is sure to stick.

Bethany said...

Why not have them call him by his last name? Or Tye? Or any other name of your choosing.

I am astonished that, and I'm assuming here, an educated preschool teacher would even consider such a name. Teachers are trained to build self esteem, and have to be careful with the nuances. If she's got a degree in early childhood education, she should know better.

You're right, the name may not hurt now, but if it sticks it could later.

trystan said...

well, i myself have the name trystan, my friends call me trys pronounced tr-is, also i like the nicknamed Twisted Twisted, but i don't think you would like that name