Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

The Name Game

with 8 comments

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Oh yes, I’m quoting Shakespeare, get me!  Gone are those base days of a pretzel in the potty.  No, wait, they’re back.

Names.  We go by aliases on this blog, for reasons of security, but rest assured that our kids have real names.  Pudding’s name is pretty ordinary (something about her had to be!), but Cubby goes by a nickname (other than Cubby) most of the time.  When Cubby was born and we introduced him to his sister she screeched his name.  That was weird, I remember thinking, because…well, it was.  Then we discovered that every time she said his name she would do it with the same screech.  It was awful, and it went on for months.  When I finally became worried about her language and she had her first speech evaluation, I mentioned it to the therapist.  She’d never heard of a kid doing this before, but felt that it might be connected to her mixed emotions about having a new sibling.  I couldn’t bear that he grew up answering to that screech, and something had to be done.  Pudding continued to do it, and no amount of coaching her would change the way she said it, so we decided to change his name.

Now, he has the kind of name that lends itself well to being shortened.  Imagine for a moment he is called Donald, and we switched it to Don.  It works well, but it just didn’t seem to fit a 6 month-old baby.  So we played around and discovered that we liked the sound of his first and middle names together.  Imagine Don John for instance.  Way better than the screech, and it stuck.  That became his name, and he got more used to hearing that than “Donald”.

Like Pudding, he learned his name at the same time other babies do.  He’ll happily pick put himself in a photo album and say “Don-John”.  He even seems to know that “Donald” is also his name, though he usually only gets that now when he is in trouble.  He comes when I call him (most of the time), so I figured we were done with this, the box marked “knows his name” had been checked off, and we could move on to other things.

Grandma was visiting last week, and she asked Cubby what his sister’s name was, and he told her “Pudding”.  We gave him a round of applause.  See how smart my boy is knowing that?  Genius.  A little Einstein, if you will.  Except when she then asked him what his name is, he again replied with “Pudding”.  Ruh-ro.  What I imagine is happening is that Cubby has listened to Pudding answer the question, “What is your name?”, and connected the name part with the Pudding part.  Name = Pudding.  Whatever else we proceed it with just sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher talking.  It doesn’t matter whether I want to know my, your, his, her name, it always = Pudding to him.

I’m unchecking the box, and trying to establish that name = Cubby, then name = different depending on who is being asked.  You know though, unlearning something seems to be way harder than learning it when echolalia is in the mix.  It is like how Pudding was “two, almost three” for weeks after her third birthday.  I’d better start to prepare her now for December.  Does anyone have any tips for making this process easier?

Here is another kicker.  He has also learned to answer “Pudding” to the question: “Who does Mummy love?”  Break my heart, little man, why don’t you?

One last thought: it is way more difficult than you’d think to write a post about names using aliases.

♥Σ◊ψ♣ – The artist formerly known as Spectrummy Mummy.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 18, 2010 at 7:31 am

8 Responses

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  1. this sure is a tricky one (although your last line made me laugh – nice symbols!). We used to think that our son would think his name was “rocko”, since that was the dog’s name and he heard it more than his own 🙂 Language is such a tricky thing and so hard to undo. I remember when my sister was little (she’s 13 yrs younger than I am) I thought it was funny to teach her that black was white and vice versa (I was a mean 14 yr old). It stuck and took a lot of undoing and yelling. She knew the right answer but had to be retrained. I’ll be interested to hear what advice you get.


    October 18, 2010 at 7:56 am

    • What an evil genius you were! I can’t figure out how to underline on WordPress, but I’ve got the funky symbols down.


      October 18, 2010 at 9:34 am

      • I can’t underline either! It’s a conspiracy 🙂 and I think evil is the appropriate word, not genius.


        October 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm

  2. Echolalia – My little boy (almost 3.5 years old) – suffers from strange version of echolalia.

    Me: Who’s this?
    Boogle: Mamamama
    Me: Who’s this?
    Boogle: Mamamadadamama
    Me: Who’s this?
    Boogle: Dadadamamama
    Me: Who’s this?
    Boogle: Mamamama or Dadadada (it’s different every time)

    What the??? We’ve been doing this *daily* – and now – we get him not knowing who is Mum or Dad.

    It’s heartbreaking – his brain won’t even tell him who we are…

    Trish Reeve

    October 18, 2010 at 8:03 am

    • Oh, I’m sorry- that is heartbreaking! Do you think he has face blindness? Does he do the same thing in both pictures and real life? I wonder if anybody reading this has experienced the same thing, or has any helpful suggestions?


      October 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by akbutler, Spectrummy Mummy. Spectrummy Mummy said: The Name Game: http://wp.me/pZNhv-bC […]

  4. First of all- Congratulations for writing what must have been SUCH a difficult post to write!!
    You wrote it so weel that I had no trouble following what you meant. Even with alias names 🙂

    And I couldn’t stop giggling at “Ruh-Ro”…scooby dooby doo! lol

    Echolalia- it’s a real tough one isn’t it. Frustrating and so hard to work with, Do either of your children have a speech therapist that you could ask?

    I’m sorry that I dont have any decent advice for you 😦 But I’ll make you smile – my Lucas always says “Good boy Mummy” when I do something he likes…..we are STILL working on that one hmmmmm


    October 19, 2010 at 3:25 am

    • Cubby is going to start with Pudding’s speech therapist from Monday, so I’ll be sure to mention it then. Clearly it could be a lot worse. I just have to laugh because every time I think we’ve mastered something we need to go back over it.

      Love the “Good boy Mummy”. Pudding used to say “Aah, pretty Daddy” and stroke him when he was hurt. 🙂


      October 19, 2010 at 8:40 am

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