A Dick By Any Other Name: Naming Your Children

I'm holding my Dick with my left hand.
          We named our youngest Richard, mainly because we liked the name. Neither Lee nor I like the new celebrity trend of naming their offspring after vegetables, streets, or bodily sounds. Most of the family uses the diminutive Ricky but I call him Dick; or more accurately, my Dick. This is solely for the joke. It gives me the opportunity to pass out baby pictures while asking, “Do you want a picture of my Dick?” Or declare that a friend is rubbing the head of my Dick when she tousles my son’s hair. My particular favorite is “Who wants to kiss my Dick” before Ricky and I make the bedtime rounds. I easily have a twenty year supply of these jokes.

So why do I make these jokes at my son’s expense, besides the fact that I love seeing the look on my mother-in-law’s face when I say them? Though Lee and I do not subscribe to gender roles, there is something to be said about how humans are socialized. Mommy gets to be nurturing and kind and society sees the need to infuse our children with this form of love. Daddy is the flip side. We get to say things like “walk it off” or “get it yourself” that give the child a sense of responsibility and self-strength. If this was one of those African tribes that practices scarification rites, I’d be the Daddy with the sharp rock and the confidence that my son could succeed through the trial of pain. When all is said and done, it is the celebration, the laughter, at the end of the cut that makes the tiny scar into a piece of art. Remember – The one with the most beautiful scars gets the prettiest girl in the tribe. So, my viewpoint is that I am preparing my Dick to be the strongest of this little American tribe of ours.

Luckily, we have three therapists in the family and dozens of mental health worker friends to fix the results of my philosophy. This way, Ricky will be able to get some pretty great discounts as he works out his issues with his Dick wielding father.

Lee says: I will admit, at first I was shocked, disgusted and upset that Paul chose to call Ricky Dick. But the truth is that in my heart I am a comedic whore and funny is funny. He doesn’t actually call him Dick but refers to him as his Dick. There is a small but important distinction.

 It’s a joke. Ricky will be called Dick whether we like it or not. I think by using it the way we do, we have diffused that potential trauma. When he gets older, he will wield the power of his name thus taking that weapon away from the bullies that will undoubtedly be around.

          Another important thing about Ricky’s name is that we knew of his sex when we were 14 weeks pregnant. As a mother, the bond is easier because they are with you and you can feel them move around. They are as real as the kicks and constipation that they give you. For fathers, the reality of their son or daughter is a little more surreal. Naming and joking about Ricky was a way for Paul to bond to him even before he could touch or see him. As a parent and therapist, I strongly recommend for parents to find out the sex of the baby. The bonding takes place earlier and is ultimately healthier for all involved.

          I do agree with Paul’s opinion that Mommy’s and Daddy’s parent differently. He taught me this the hard way and there will be lots more blogging on this concept. Everyday, I will hear “I’m washing my Dick” or “Hey honey, you wanna kiss my Dick?” and I will smile because it’s funny and keeps Paul entertained. I also smile because one of these days,  Ricky with be taller and bigger than his dad. That’s when I get to say “Hey honey, your Dick just kicked your ass!”



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  • Susan

    Totally love this oldie but goodie!

  • Miriam Alario

    LOL The last line made it all worthwhile.
    While I agree that other kids will be ruthless with RICKY, shouldn’t home and family be the refuge, the safe-haven in a kid’s life?
    And re the info on a child’s gender:
    Doesn’t this (Conversly) also allow for disappointment in those Neanderthals who really wanted a male (or female) but got the other?
    And what about the wonder and surprise of the birth moment… to quote MY dad, “It’s a BABY!”

    • Miriam, Thank you for your comments. We believe that home is a haven but it is also the testing ground. If we constantly coddle the kid at home, he/she will never learn any skills to apply to that world outside. Home is the safe place to try out assertion and boundaries without the outside worlds nasty reprecussions. Like training.
      We believe that knowing the childs sex in utero is crucial to bonding. For those Neanderthals out there, disappointment can dissipate in the passing months before the child is born. If not, the newborn will feel the full brunt of a Mom or Dad’s disappointment. The family also has a chance to create a relationship with the baby way before it’s born. Names are a virtue that we often overlook.

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