Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This morning, as I was getting my four year old dressed for school, she coined a term for her nipples that I had never heard before. It both shocked and amused me.

I had grown up feeling very uncomfortable about naming any of those kinds of body parts…I didn’t even want to acknowledge that those kinds of parts existed, much less create special names for them. My older daughters had called them, “Nickels”, after one of them mispronounced the word Nipples and then was overcome with delight when the word elicited such profuse giggles from her parents. As many times as they said, “Nickels”, it never ceased to produce a chuckle or a smile at the very least. My girlfriend told me that she called them, “Nibbles”, which caused a severe negative reaction on my part. Like when someone starts describing their husband naked, or talking about peeling a scab. Ew. I don’t want to hear about that. Keep that to yourself. Nibbles. Blech. Gracie’s word this morning was nothing close to Nickels, or Nibbles, or Nipples. It was….Boobie Stars.


Boobie Stars. Okay. I guess they do sort of resemble stars. And maybe the nipples are the star of the boob. At least it wasn’t Nibbles.

But it got me to thinking about names. How they are so personal. How they elicit a response. Negative and positive associations. How I belabored and agonized over the names for my children. Even for my blog! A name can change the entire way you think about something or someone. It’s a prejudice really. Judging a book by its cover…even if a rose by any other name is still as sweet, if it’s got a stinko name, would we seriously take the time to bend down and take a whiff?

So, it’s got me thinking. Pondering. And I’m remembering how my own name was not something I loved. When I started Kindergarten there were FOUR other Lisas in my class. It was the age of “Lisa Marie” after Lisa Marie Presley. I was a Lisa Grace and how I WISHED I was a Lisa Marie. Grace was so old fashioned and duddy. My name meant “Consecrated to God”, which sounded even duddier to me. It sounded like it should be emblazoned above the doors to a convent or a nunnery. Consecrated to God. I wanted something cute and fun and feminine…like…Kate…or Kelly….or something really versatile like Elizabeth. I loved that Elizabeth had so many nicknames and variations. Lisa Grace was not my fave.

And yet....40 years later, I named my own daughter Grace. Because at 40, I wanted her name to mean something. Not just be cute or fun. I wanted it to stand for something. Represent my desires for her. My blessing on her life. Because now the idea of being Consecrated to God means something altogether different for me. It means, in my mind, to be set aside for His special purpose. To be loved by the One Who made me and loves me best. Better than anyone could. Grace's name refers back to the perfect, loving Grace of God....the gift He gives of which we could never be deserving. I'm so thankful for God's grace and for his gift of my little Grace to me. And no, we will never feel deserving that He blessed us with her. I hope that as she grows up, she will embrace that name and that blessing and wish for her life. I hope in 40 years, she’ll feel compelled to pass it on. Not just the name. The meaning behind it. And all the love and emotion that it conveys.

Names. What an impact they have. And come on…which would you rather be? A nipple? Or a BOOBIE STAR? I’ll take Boobie Star….any day of the week. A name and a meaning and an emotion which I can get behind and proudly sport. In appropriate and private environments, of course.


Eileen said...

My little sister once mentioned after a bath that she got soap in her va-genie. It was dubbed "the genie" ever after. I like it better than the real word, which I once had to read aloud 6 times in one single paragraph in health class. I'd take "genie" any old day.

Changing subjects, I love the name Grace and all that it means. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.

Cora said...

Names are something that I think about a lot. I have always liked my name but I hated that it was not popular I wanted something I could find on a license plate in a souvenir shop. I always have a list of names that I have in mind for my children but I never settle and that list has changed so many times over the years and I think it reflects my growth as a person.

Someday I may get to choose one but I have found to me the name matters much less than it used to.

As for body parts I am with you Boobie Stars are much better than (cringe)nibbles.
Take Care,

Beverly said...

G calls them pimples cause she confuses them with my pimples that at close to 40 I still have worse than any hormonal teenager alive!

I always hated my name but I hate nicknames for my name worse. A pastor at my last church named his daughter hannah grace and hannah means grace too because they wanted her to experience grace upon grace. I thought that was very neat!

Amy said...

Names are so important to Chris and me for the same reason. The meaning was so important. We had to take a pass on one name we liked back in 1993 because it meant "Crooked Nose." Hmmm should we bless our first born with "Crooked Nose" or "God Has Been Gracious?" We chose "God Has Been Gracious." And boy was that the truth! We were blessed beyond deserving.

As far as the Boobie Stars go...LOL that is WAY better than Nibbles!!! That Gracie has STYLE!

I've got one for you. Chris and I were out to dinner with some business friends and talking about the funny names kids have for things because their parents are uberuncomfortable with body part talk. Eileen, this one's gonna make you think Vagina's got it ALL over what they called their precious 3 year old daughters' unmentionable region..."BUNNY!" OMGosh! Can you imagine?!!! We just about DIED when he said that!

Naenay1012 said...

I love the name boobie stars! It made me giggle.
Something that will make you shudder I am sure, my sister's nickname is Tit. Yes, that is right. Let me explain it's origin... Katie (sister) and I are 14 years apart, I am older. When she was little I used to babysit some kids her age. They could not say Katie, they said Tatie. She would say, my name is NOT TATIE, it is KKKATIE. So I would tease her and say, it is not Tatie, it is Titie. The name stuck, but only around family not out in public. Gotta love big sisters.

Heather said...

When Zoe was much younger she referred to her privates as her "pirates" while taking a bath. Thus, the name stuck & we all continue to use that name at every bath!!!!

Stefanie said...

I dunno... I kinda like nibbles.
Love that Gracie girl!!

Lynn said...

You ladies have me laughing out loud. I love boobie stars! My son isn't old enough to name his parts yet but just yesterday he discovered his penis. I looked over at him - he had pulled off his diaper, and was bent over at the waist (mooning me), pulling his penis and laughing hysterically. I about wet my pants. He has played with it before but I guess seeing and playing just made his day!

Amy said...

Okay, if we're now open to talking about penises (is it "es" or "s's". I'm thinking it's got to be "es")...ANYWAY...here's one for ya. So, I've got these three boys under 6 years old when my daughter is born. WEEKS go by and none of them seems to notice that she is anatomically an anomaly. I figure it's a kid thing...but finally, when Gracie was about 12 weeks old, my youngest son, Mac (2 1/2 at the time), was helping me to bathe her. We're humming away "Skiddamarinkydinkydoo" when he stops and says, "Poor Gracie, she's so little she hasn't even growed her penis yet." That about sums it up, doesn't it?

Jimh. said...

I think it makes perfect sense: A Christmas Tree can have an angel or star on the top...a booby, with a little stretching (of the imagination!) can resemble a Christmas Tree...with a "Star" on top...right?

I like nickels too!

Sherri said...

Hey--this is for Amy who posted about "crooked nose"......

I named my son Cameron, which means crooked nose because it was a family name. He always teased me about it until one year he had a teacher (who unbeknown to him also has a son named Cameron) told him that his name was a "very distinguished" name. He has never mentioned it again. He's 19 now.


Kelly said...

I liked this ponderous post. Thanks Lisa!