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changing a child's first name / using a nickname - anyone done this?

(23 Posts)
geekgirl Sun 19-Oct-08 23:24:22

Dh and I have decided that we really need to start calling dd2 by an abbreviated version of her full name.
She is called Katarina, which is my middle name and the German form of Catherine, but it is completely unpronounceable for her as she has severe speech problems due to having SN. She usually calls herself 'Tita'. I am worried that she will never be able to tell people her name, particularly as it is a foreign one.

We were thinking that we could call her Katie, at least she could then retain Katarina as a longer version. I feel so nervous about this but really want to unburden her from this mouthful of a name we gave her (I should add that we named her before we knew she'd have SN).

What's the best way of going about this? I am going to talk to her about it but she doesn't have the level of understanding that an ordinary 7 year old has. I am terrified of confusing her and also anxious about messing with her 'sense of self' IYSWIM hmm. But we really need to tackle this sooner rather than later.

What would I say to the school? I was thinking of using 'Katie' at home until after half term, and then asking school to use it too.

Would be grateful for some input!

MirandaG Sun 19-Oct-08 23:28:48

I don't think that you necessarily need to talk to her about it - you could jsut introduce it in a sort of playful way, almost like you'd use a term of endearment like 'sweetheart' and then use it more and more often until it becomes what you call her.

dizzywitches Sun 19-Oct-08 23:29:05

I would just casually start adding it in and she'll get used to it

mine answer to a whole reem of things, all specific to each of them but she'll soon come to recognise you're meaning her

have you asked her? she might prefer Kat or Kitty and may take to it more easily if she has some sort of input

geekgirl Sun 19-Oct-08 23:35:33

I don't think she'd understand if I asked her, it's just too abstract a concept for her

You're right about using it as a term of endearment - I think maybe I am getting unnecessarily worked up about it all hmm. Ds's full first name is Maximus and he's usually called Max and that's no big deal, but then we've been doing that with him since birth.
We would have introduced 'Katie' much earlier but had a cat called Katie when dd2 was born so it seemed wrong.hmm

dizzywitches Sun 19-Oct-08 23:37:00

I think you just start adding it in gradually then so as not to overwhelm her - am sure her teachers would advise similar and will be happy to help her with the transition

geekgirl Mon 20-Oct-08 09:37:27

Tried it out a bit this morning and she looked understandably baffled

misdee Mon 20-Oct-08 09:42:41

not on the same level, but dd3 is called Serena. She cant say it, so has become Nina. We have been working on her SSS sounds, so is finally getting the basis of Serena (think S'nina) but its slow going.

Do you call her by her version of her name 'Tita' or Katarina (gorgeous names btw!). Could she say Kat?

geekgirl Mon 20-Oct-08 09:51:14

hiya misdee, we always call her Katarina or 'Katarina darling' etc., never any abbreviated versions.
She can kind of say Kat (she can't say 'k' though and says 'ch' instead), but I think that would be confusing as we have a cat hmm

Serena is a lovely name too - sounds like she's getting there with saying it .

shrinkingsagpuss Mon 20-Oct-08 09:53:02

|Why not call her "Tita"? I think that's really sweet. My sister was called "Bunny" for years, and my DS is called "Whizz".

Liffey Mon 20-Oct-08 09:56:48

I don't think that needs any explanation to her or to others! my son is 3 and can't say his name. He has speech delay.

Tortington Mon 20-Oct-08 09:58:53

i like tita

geekgirl Mon 20-Oct-08 10:03:44

mh, I guess my problem with Tita is that it's not a proper name - I'm thinking here of dd2 being a bit older, maybe at secondary school, and someone coming along and asking her what her name is. At least with something as recognisable as, say, Katie, everyone can work it out even if her speech is a bit unclear, and she wouldn't need to spell it for people.

TBH I am really dismayed by how few people get 'Katarina' right - I think it looks so straightforward, but only 1 in maybe 5 people at the opticians/hospital/wherever else actually manages to say her name correctly - we get all sorts of variations, usually not even anywhere close hmm. I've given up on correcting them.

DeJaVous Mon 20-Oct-08 10:04:40

Tita is lovely, can you not just use that as others have suggested?

Here (in the Netherlands) Katarina is often shortened to Rina (pronounced "Reena"), might that sound be easier for her than the K?

Nothing against Katie by the way, I'm a Kate myself, but I know a lot of children have trouble with the K.

DeJaVous Mon 20-Oct-08 10:07:16

Ooops X.

geekgirl Mon 20-Oct-08 10:12:33

mmh.. Rina would work well in that she'd barely notice the difference (she tends to not hear the beginning of long words anyway).

DeJaVous Mon 20-Oct-08 10:19:54

That's what I thought geekgirl. It's nice to have a 'genuine' shortening that reflects the roots of the name too. The other commonly used one is Katje but that would probably be much more difficult for the British ear...

ilovespinach Mon 20-Oct-08 12:29:00

what about Kitty? Think this is a shortform for Katerina....

Liffey Mon 20-Oct-08 14:19:57

Kitty lovely, and easy to say?

BlueberryPancake Mon 20-Oct-08 16:42:20

The school shouldn't have a problem with changing her name in the paperwork etc. Can you for the first few days (maybe half term) say both her long and her new nickname, every time you say her name, so that she doesn't get confused and gets used to it before doing it at school? Would Tina be easier to pronounce?

liahgen Mon 20-Oct-08 16:50:31

my dd2 is officailly called Emily Louise. When she was born, ds2 couldn't pronounce her name so cam up with his own version.

She is now known as this version by all her know her. She's 3 and half now and knows her name is Emily. Couple of her playschool teachers call her Emily but the ones that know us call her The used name. (can't say it, I use it as a pasword)

You would not in a million years make this word from the name but it really suits her and i get complimented on it all the time.

LindzDelirium Tue 21-Oct-08 09:00:46

I think Tita is lovely! There is a boy at DD's school who has the cutest nickname (Zebedee) but his YR1 teacher insists on using his real name (Adam) which just doesn't suit him!

I call DD munchbunch cos she is a fridge raider - not at school tho!

Liz79 Tue 21-Oct-08 09:32:45

My beautiful daughter is called Nina, but we call her Noonoo, I don't know where it came from my husband just started it one day when she was tiny (only 10m now) and it has stuck. This was before we realised it was a tellytubby character blush(of which she will be getting for Christmas)

Elkat Tue 21-Oct-08 17:18:00

I'd ask her. My eldest DD has chosen the name that she likes to be known as (she chose it at 4) and she understood the concept fine. Maybe just introduce it as a casual discussion (or after someone has got it wrong) - talk about her name, ask her if she gets fed up of people getting it wrong all the time, and if she wants to have a nickname, then you could then 'helpfully' suggest that she chooses a nickname to introduce herself to people she doesn't know. My DD has a nickname and her official name - people use both interchangeably (as do I), and it doesn't cause any problems... but you'll probably find that over time her name will naturally change to the nickname and most people will call her whatever she introduces herself as. I don't think you need to make a big deal out of it - just let it happen naturally.

I did that at 18 or so... I have a nickname, and just introduce myself as that, so that people think of me now as my nickname. Even my hubby says it is weird when he hears me called by my full name as he has never known me as that. But some friends do call me by my full name, although this descreased as they heard other people calling me by my nickname, and so they eventually called me by my nickname too. I never made a big issue about changing my name though!


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