I have many names for my granddaughter. Her mother named her Josephine Danielle. It's useful to have a lot of syllables that one can use to modulate the degree of seriousness with which one wants her attention. "Josie!" "Josephine!!" "Josephine Danielle!!"
If you point to a picture of her and say, "Who is that?" she'll say, "Josie!" But to me she is also Jo, and Jo Bug, and the Bugster; and Toot and Tooter Pop and Popstar.
These days she calls me Nonaise.
I was unprepared for the Southern seriousness of naming the grandparents. As soon as we started telling people that Marian was pregnant, we'd get the question, "And what is the baby going to call you?" I didn't realize there were so many options.
Growing up in Wisconsin, it wasn't an issue. Grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe with a last name attached to differentiate them. But they didn't pick out particular names. It wasn't a big deal.
Just to tease Marian I told her that I wasn't going to play. I was not going to pick out a name for myself. The little critter would call me whatever she called me. It'd happen naturally. Marian was furious at my cavalier attitude towards something so important. She threatened to call me No-Name. "Fine with me," I'd say.
Lynn picked out Nonni for herself, so by the time Josephine arrived, Marian's name for me had elided into "No-Nay" and I started spelling it Nonai. And, somewhat to my surprise, when Josie came to language early last summer, Nonni and Nonai fell quite naturally off her little tongue.
And then, sometime in the fall, she started turning them into plurals. At first, we thought that she had learned possessives and was identifying our things with us -- that hat is Nonai's, or that cup is Nonni's. But it became clear that wasn't it -- the name itself had morphed.
Marian finally figured out why -- she'd get Josie ready and put her in the car saying, "Should we go to Nonni's house? Do you want to go to Nonai's house?" So, for Josie, the "s" sound at the end became part of the name.
Now I spell it "Nonaise" and I don't believe I know of a sweeter sound.