My problem is a little different than the typical name indecision issue you cover at Swistle, but I hope you and your readers can give me some advice.
I love names, and I spent a long time picking out the perfect name for my first son. I settled on Edison Byron. I wanted my son to have his own unique name, but I also wanted to honor my Dad, who doesn't have any sons of his own. My Dad's name is Edward but he goes by Ed (or Eddie with my Mom). I thought Edison was perfect, since he could go by Ed / Edi.
So what's the problem? This baby is the first grandchild, so naturally everyone is excited. My sister told me while I was pregnant that she was going to have her own special name for my son. I told her I'd wanted veto power over any nicknames she wanted to use, and she became very upset that I was so controlling. She said that what she wanted to call my son was her decision. I let it drop and figured I'd deal with it later, especially since she lives far away and likely won't see Edison very often. Just recently she came to stay for a few weeks to meet her nephew and help me out. While she was here, she decided that referring to Edison as Ed or Edi was "too weird", because that's my Dad's name. My sister decided that she will call him E, and now my mother has started to use that nickname!
I don't like the nickname, for 3 specific reasons. One, I picked Edison with the intention that my son would either go by his full name or Ed / Edi in honor of my Dad. Calling him E entirely routes around that. Second, I have a strong preference for other E names and am considering an E theme, and I love the name Beatrix with the nickname of Bea...but I would hate to have an E and a Bea. Third, (though less important) the name E just sounds more edgy than my own style (though it fits really nicely with my sister's style).
How do you and your readers typically handle family nicknames? Should I try and stop this nickname, or should I not worry about it? Since I understand that it's a little weird to suddenly have another Ed in the family, are there other nicknames I can offer that will still honor my Dad?
Thanks for your help!
This is a very tricky issue, because on one hand I can vividly imagine how teeth-clenchingly annoyed I'd be if someone was calling one of my kids a nickname I didn't like---and on the other hand, I don't think much can be done without being more aggressive than I'd ever want to be about such a thing. It's so easy for other people to say "It's YOUR baby and YOU get to decide..." or "Don't LET them..." or "You need to INSIST that they..." when the scenario is happening in their imaginations (which is also where we tell off our boss and that mean girl in high school), but much harder to do it in real life---especially when nicknaming rights are a grey area.
I can't tell from your letter whether you've already explained your reasons to your mom and sister. If not, that's where I'd start: I think it's easy for people to object to being told what to do, but much harder to persevere when they've heard the perfectly understandable reasons not to. I would particularly emphasize the potential future-sibling-name problems and the honoring-dad-with-the-nickname issue (and in fact might skip the style one). I would do the whole thing calmly and nicely (tone should be requesting/explaining rather than demanding), perhaps with quavering voice and tears threatening to brim. I think I'd start with your mom, since I think she'll be easier to convince and then she might be able to help with your sister (and also because later in this post I'm going to discuss the possibility of allowing your sister to keep using the nickname, in which case you'd only need to talk to your mom about it).
(I'm not accepting your sister's argument that it's weird to have another Ed in the family. Plenty of children are named after other people, and it might be a little odd at first but then everyone gets used to it. Plus, if Ed/Edi is too weird for her to get used to, she can call him Edison. Her argument that she wants to have her own special name for him holds way more sway.)
If they know your reasons and are doing it anyway, I'm stumped. I've heard stories of people teaching their children rude comebacks, or using ultimatums such as "You can't see him unless you call him what _I_ want you to call him," but for me those would be "only in my mind" techniques. I'm imagining if my much-disliked mother-in-law had insisted on calling one of my children a name we had a specific and reasonable reason for objecting to---but even THEN I don't think I would have used the destruction of a family relationship as my threat of choice. Maybe I could have managed something like a wincing "Oh, I'm sorry, but we REALLY don't want him called that." Again, I'm not sure parents DO have full nickname control---or if they do, it doesn't last past the point where the child can make his or her own decisions about what he or she wants (or is willing to be) called, at which point perhaps your son will (politely!) tell his aunt he'd prefer to be called Edi.
This is the part where I suggest that another possibility is to allow his aunt to call him E. I generally dislike the nickname Kris and generally wouldn't want anyone to call me that---but one set of my grandparents DID call me Kris, and my aunt (their daughter) still calls me Kris sometimes, and it's just different: to me, when THEY use it, it's "their special name for me," losing all elements of "a nickname I dislike." I can imagine a boy might really enjoy being called E by his aunt, even if he didn't want other people to call him that.
It's different, though, if the nickname catches on, as it looks like it might if your mom is already using it. Again, this is where your sensible reasons seem like they'd come in handy: you have legitimate concerns here, and perhaps even if your sister won't change (which might be okay or even better than okay), you can persuade your mom and others not to join in. If someone new calls him E, you can say, "Actually, he goes by Edi: E is just his aunt's special nickname for him."