Long ago, before my daughter could even speak words, she went by the name “Izzy. But as soon as she could string words into sentences, my daughter declared “Call me Isabelle.”
Like many parents of late-talkers, I did nearly anything my child requested once she started speaking. Calling her Isabelle, instead of Izzy, wasn’t a big ask. Isabelle is her given name. I adore the name since it sounds a little old-fashioned and very French.
Through the years, there’s been an exception to the Isabelle rule. The rule was implemented by Isabelle. Our neighbors (meaning the people who live in our subdivision, but not in our house) could continue to call her Izzy. But everyone else had to call her Isabelle. There were no exceptions for family members, classmates, synagogue members, doctors, or anyone who knew her before she made this declaration.
A few months ago, Isabelle informed us Ari would be allowed to call her “Izzy,” since it would be easier for him to say once he started talking. (He’s begun to make sounds for “hi” and “no” so he has time before he articulates a proper name clearly.) We were impressed with Isabelle’s willingness to make an exception to the nickname rule.
But it didn’t stop there. Isabelle allows us (meaning her parents and grandparents) to refer to her as Izzy in Ari’s presence. While we still call her Isabelle, we use her given name and her nickname interchangeably when Ari is around.
So imagine my surprise when I got in trouble for calling her Izzy this past weekend when we were at Hersheypark in front of her friend Eli! Our families (four parents and four kids) spent the afternoon together at the park. We were enjoying a sweet snack when I referred to Isabelle as Izzy. I didn’t think twice since Ari was sitting with us at the table. A second later, Isabelle shot daggers through me. I don’t remember her exact words, but she told me — in a stern and direct way — not to call her Izzy (in front of her friends).
I won’t make that mistake again. But that being said, I never thought a nickname would have rules attached to it!