You may be wondering about the name of this blog, since I have yet to wander across any other Pumpkin Doodles in this world. Pumpkin Doodle is my son's nickname. It started with me calling him "Pumpkin", which is a fairly common term of endearment in my family. After a few days of calling him Pumpkin, Doodle just…flowed. Pumpkin Doodle is the star of many improvised songs ("Pumpkin Doodle sings this song" to the tune of Camptown Races, for one), and cheers. My husband resisted at first but now he realizes the inherent appropriateness of the name. Somehow, my son just looks like a Doodle.
I come from a family of strange nicknames. It begins with my grandmother, whose official title is "Queen Nana", a name bestowed by me as the first grandchild. Queen Nana had extravagant names for her five children: my Uncle John was called "Johnnyissimo Chiang Kai-Shek", Aunt Jennifer was "Jenny Tori". When my mother got married, my father became known as "Jeffsonian Institute of Technology".
My mother's names for us weren't quite as elaborate, but my sisters and I are called Pumpkin, Petunia, and sometimes Petunia Buttons more often than our actual names. I've only just realized how much of the tendency to give nicknames I've inherited. In addition to Pumpkin Doodle, my son has been called Finny-bear, Finny the Pooh, Wiggle-worm, and many others. It's funny how I never thought I was very much like my mother, but now that I am a mother myself, I find I am falling into the same patterns I grew up with. Making up songs and silly nicknames was a big part of my childhood that I didn't consciously realize until now, when I see it manifesting in profound ways. I guess when it comes to being a mother, it really is a lot of subconscious behavior, learned or not. Either way, I hope I can come close to the kind of mother I had growing up.