A few weeks ago, a commenter here left a note about how my reference for my eldest – the Monster – made him increasingly uncomfortable… and I thought that I’d circle back about it after I’d had some time to put in real thought.
So… the Monster. As I mentioned in my first ever blog post, we’ve called him ‘Monster’ since he was two days old. It’s a name that’s stuck, and he actually does answer to it. And yes, he does know his real first name, both in English and Hebrew.
And after a month of thinking on it, I still don’t particularly see the issue with it, either.
It was cute when he was younger, when he’d not been diagnosed yet and was already fixated on Sesame Street. Because I growl at him (and now at his brother) frequently, he growls back… and sometimes, when introduced as the Monster, he’d growl at the person too. He thought it was funny, I thought it was funny… and let’s be honest, it was funny, if only because it was a two year old doing it. (Okay, I’m a dad and I’m inclined to think my kids are funny when they do the vaguely inappropriate things I teach them to do. Now, if I could teach him and his brother to do the “So Long, Farewell” routine from The Sound of Music…)
But a name is what you make of it.
All of us, at one point or another, have had nicknames. In the Monster’s case… the only “monsters” he knows are on Sesame Street. They’re furry, they’re lovable, they’re kind of wacky, and they’re… kids like him. So they look different, or act different, or whatnot, but despite appearances, they are kids.
And it suits him.
We started calling him “Monster” because of his size, but he’s grown into a funny, lovable, quirky kid. He’d fit right in really with a lot of the characters on Sesame Street if given the chance.
And certainly, there’s the potential for folks to misunderstand… but those opinions would be destroyed within five minutes of meeting him. He’s often the calmest, quietest person at gatherings, and he does reasonably well in crowds and better if he has something like his iPad to distract him. Most noises don’t seem to really rattle him – he can tolerate my screaming at the television during football without getting flustered or even covering his ears. And as he’s getting older, he’s handling things like turn-taking and sharing better, so he’s at least ‘fitting in’ without causing disruptions.
As it says in the play, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And until the name stops fitting him… he’ll probably remain the Monster. 🙂