Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Nicknames PLEASE!

Sometimes - okay, a lot of the time - it's the small things in life that make me annoyed.

Recently, I've become very annoyed that people have come up with a nickname for my daughter.

Her name, as most of you know, is Rowan.

It's a very simple name, one that I had no idea that someone could find a nickname for. I mean, it's only two syllables!

Yet, some people have actually shortened her name and now call her "Ro." Or even worse, "Ro-Ro."


It started at her school, with her teachers. I adore her teachers. They are amazing.

The one and only problem is that they've started calling her "Ro" and "Ro-Ro."

Again, YUCK! (Honestly, I've tried very hard to think this nickname is cute. But it ain't working!)

So now other parents call her "Ro," and so do some of her friends.

I'm not sure what to do about this. Frankly, I rather talk to her teachers about her progression in reading and writing.

I'd feel like a complete moron for saying to her teachers, "Um, can I have a word? Can you please stop calling my daughter Ro. Her name is Rowan."

Parent-teacher interviews are coming up. I know my daughter isn't having any issues at school, and I have no issues either with the teachers or the school... except for her teachers calling her "Ro."

I just can't imagine going to the parent-teacher interview and the teachers asking, "So do you have any concerns?" And my answer being, "Actually, I do. I really hate that you call her Ro. Can you please stop?"

On the one hand, maybe I'm right to be annoyed. I mean, I named her. Shouldn't she be called the name that I named her? Also, shouldn't I nip this in the bud, sooner rather than later?

Or maybe I'm overreacting? I'm probably overreacting, but, hey, I'm a woman. I'm prone to overreacting.

Any suggestions?

And, also, just a reminder, that if you want to keep up on a more regular basis with my life, please check out Just go under the "fun" section, check out the blogs, and you'll see mine - along with other fantastic blogs - updated weekly.

You can also now post comments there!

But if you have any suggestions, or have been through someone making up a nickname for your child that you hate, please tell me what you did. I love to hear from you!

Rebecca (or Becky!)


Blogger Laural Dawn said...

My opinion - you should say something to the teachers.
I had the exact opposite problem growing up. My name is Laural (obviously) and I hated my name so I'd try to change it Laurie or Laura, etc.
If I wrote that on my school work I had a couple of teachers put an X through the nickname I was using and write my proper name.
I also had a teacher who, if I wrote my full name (LaurAl) would cross off the A and write an E above it since he thought I didn't know how to spell my own name!
In all of these cases my parents went in and spoke to the teachers. It wasn't a huge deal, but they made it clear that it was my name - not theirs.

Also, Matthew (my son) has decided to change his name to Matt because it's much easier to print!

Nicknames can be contentious!

6:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does your daughter like to be called?

6:55 AM

Blogger Atlantic Writer said...

It's not unreasonable at all. Your daughter has a name and they are not using it. I think making a friendly but firm request of the teachers to use her full name is perfectly reasonable. How are her teachers to know if you don't tell them?

8:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless your daughter likes the nickname (in which case, get used to your kids having minds of their own!) you should ABSOLUTELY talk to the teachers. Getting people's names right is very important. My son's teacher kept spelling his name wrong, and I was really really hesitant to speak up about it because I love the teacher and didn't want to hurt her feelings, but she thanked me for telling her. I bet Rowan's teachers will feel the same way - they'd rather you asked them to use her full name, than be unintentionally giving offense.

But yeah, if your daughter likes that nickname, I think you're out of luck :)

9:53 AM

Blogger Badness Jones said...

Tell people. Just don't expect it to last past grade school!

4:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your daughter likes the nickname, leave it be.
If she doesn't like it, then speak to her teacher and clarify your concern.
If your daughter doesn't like the nickname,she should ask her friends and teacher to call her by her birthname.As her Mother,you can troubleshoot different ideas with her on how she can handle this situation. Isn't it our job to teach our kids to fight their own battles ?

7:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you... my name is Erin and for a while when I was a kid people somehow came up with "Er" (air) as my nickname... really?!?

9:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kinda think you're over reacting.
you named her before you met her. then came up with your own sweet nick name once you met her...

"the dictator" will continue to make impressions on people and they too will creat endearing.

(have you taken your pill today?)

4:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suggestion: Ro-Ro-Ro.

5:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a teacher and a new mom I can see why are are upset. is meant as a sign of affection when a teacher makes up a nickname for a student (at least it is for me anyways). You only really do it for the kids you have a special connection with. That being said, if it bothers you, then say something, BUT do expect some feelings to be hurt!

10:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's one thing for friends to call you by a nickname, but I really think teachers should be using a child's proper name unless otherwise instructed by the parent (at least until the child is reasonably old enough to decide for herself).

12:56 PM

Blogger Beth said...

Yep, say something to the teachers! Nip it in the bud now, for sure. I go by a nickname of my middle name (not my choice) and added my husband's last name onto mine (my choice) so name issues are huge for me. I make people get it right.

Rowan is a beautiful name...they should be told to use it! Good luck. :-)

6:31 PM

Blogger petite gourmand said...

Yikes we have some good friends who's daughter's name is Roene also and I occasionally call her "Roe"-but in defense, I have occasionally heard her parents call her that as well.
But I really hope I haven't offended them.

Nick names are tricky-they sometimes just kind of happen.
I have several, and over the years I have really grown to like them.
I love that different people in my life use different terms of endearment for me.
As long as it's not in a professional environment I have no issue at all.

I guess I would just ask the teachers to use her full name-or maybe ask Rowan what she prefers.

1:56 PM

Blogger Amy said...

Overreacting. Is she learning at school? Yes? Then I think she'll be ok.
If your daughter has a problem with the nickname, she'll say something. I've worked with a lot of kids and heard them called all shades of nicknames and mispronunciations and they will generally tell it like it is - "That's NOT my name" - if it bothers them. If you don't think Rowan would speak up, ask her yourself if she minds being called Ro.
If you correct the teacher, no matter how sugar sweet you try to do it, you will come off as the same sort of bitchy as the teacher who tried to "proper-ify" Laural's nicknames.

4:56 PM

Blogger ali said...

does anyone know if Rebecca be reached by email?


3:54 PM

Anonymous Erica Fritch said...

Oh, yes, I can relate. When we decided on the name Natasha, Steve immediately said that her nickname would be "Nat". I replied that it would not. Really, why would you change a completely dignified name to something as un-name-like as Nat? When our friend Bruce asked, "So how's Nat doing?" when she was a couple of months old, I think i replied, "You mean Natasha?" The other response I had ready for anyone else who called her Nat or (I can't believe this one) Natty, was "I don't know anyone named Nat." I think you should ask them at school to stop calling her that. It would drive me bonkers, too. And i would comment on it, just politely, using the wording you suggest in your post. Good luck!

8:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People always tried to turn my name into a nickname as well as my son's name. Just keep calling her her full name and it'll go away. If you're lucky she'll do what I did and correct people herself.

Another nickname issue: what do you do when people come up with ridiculous nicknames for their kids? Ignore it or play along?

10:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nahh... You can talk to the teachers, and they will most likely stop calling her that, but chances are her little friends wont. Unless of course she says something herself. Get used to the idea! My husband's name is Benoît. As a kid, his parents tried to prevent anyone from calling him Ben. Of course it didn't work. Because he didn't mind being called Ben. And I am a Mel... Melanie.

2:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eugh. People sure love turning names into less lovely nicknames. My mother spent my entire childhood making sure I didn't get called by the diminutive of my name, and I've spent my entire adult life ensuring the same. It's a challenge, but a worthy one - and absolutely possible. Just let them know!

11:53 AM


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