Sophie's Choice | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sophie's Choice

I don't wanna go home!
Last night, Sophia sat at the kitchen table with her chin on hand and asked, "Why ehbody calls me Sophie?"

"Because they like to--it's a cute name," said Joel.

"But I don't like it."

"Who calls you Sophie?" I asked her.

"Ehbody in the 'tire, whole world"

"What do you want them to call you?"


When we named Sophia, we had every intention of calling her Sophie.  I adore the name Sophie.  In fact, I think I would have just named her Sophie, except it didn't seem to work with the middle names we chose, and Sophia seemed like the right name.  And we did call her Sophie for a long time and, obviously, many people do.

For about a year now, I have realized that she actually prefers to be called Sophia.  Only because I noticed that she will always refer to herself that way.  If someone asks her what her name is, she invariably says "Sophia."  Knowing that, I have started to gravitate to calling her Sophia pretty exclusively--I've even noticed in reading through old blog posts that there has been a definite changeover from Sophie to Sophia.

And yet, it still surprised me last night when she expressed that she didn't really like being called Sophie.  She's only 4 years old, and I suppose I don't think of someone so young as having such a definite opinion of her name.  Of course, this is Sophia we're talking about, and she has definite opinions about everything!

Like she hates wearing pants, especially if they're denim and would rather wear a skirt or a dress every day.  She loathes pizza, she insists her hot dogs be served "normal" (without anything on them) and refuses to let a single person leave the house without kissing and hugging her.

And she wants people to call her Sophia, and it was worrying her little soul that not everyone does.

So, I taught her to say, "Please call me Sophia.  I like that better," whenever anyone calls her Sophie.  And then we practiced.  We all took turns calling her Sophie and she would politely correct us, while looking down at her plate so she didn't have to make eye contact.

I hope she really does tell people her preference.  I know it's hard, because I've had to do it my entire life so that people won't call me Lora (rhymes with Cora) or Laira (rhymes with bear-a).  Sometimes I just give up on trying to teach people what I prefer to be called, but I always regret it while I am answering to a name that really isn't mine.

And the nickname thing that Sophia will have to deal with is a whole different issue.  People just naturally shorten names, which is fine and great for some people, and not so much for others.  Maybe someday she'll prefer Sophie again, and then again, maybe she won't.

But for now, she is Sophia.

And it fits.


  1. How cute. My sister's four year old, Elizebeth used to be EJ but has been called Beth for the last three years or so. A few weeks ago she just announced she wants to be called Betsy. Crazy.

    I love the shortening of names. I LOVE when people call me Lis (and not only because it means fox in Polish :) but they rarely do. It has to be spontaneous. I call my brother Micah "Mike" but I NEVER think of it as Mike. I hate even writing it out because it's not spelled like that (or at all) in my mind. If I heard someone else calling him that I would think it was just weird and wrong.

    Ewelina goes by Evie (with a short "e" sound at the beginning) or Ev. Sometimes people call her Ee-vie or Eva. She hates them both but doesn't say anything. I think we need to practice with her like you have with SophiA. :)

  2. Once at the doctor's office the nurse kept calling James, "Jimmy". It really, really bugged me. I finally asked her why she kept refering to him that way, knowing full well that Jimmy is the nick name for James. She said as much, then I told her it's James, and James only. Joseph gets that all the time too, "Joe"....guh! Joseph, not Joe. one ever gets my name mixed up -- which is good I guess, but then again I do have the name of a 65 year old librarian. :(

  3. I went through similar phases growing up. I liked Debbie, Deb, and Debra, and would refuse to answer to the "wrong" name.

    My current pet peeve? I introduce myself as Deb or Debra. People then *immediately* start to call me Debbie. Bugs the heck out of me. It's fine if you used to know me in my Debbie phase, but if I just introduced myself as "Deb," I find it incredibly rude for someone to assume that they can shorten or put an "e" on the end of your name. Grrr..

  4. She is absolutely adorable!! Sophia or Sophie, both are beautiful names. I think it's so great that she is only 4 and she knows what she wants and feels strongly about it. That is so healthy :)

  5. I think it's great you are respecting her wishes. My sister and I have both gone by the opposite of what our family called us.

    My nickname is Tina. HATE it. Always have. I have gone by Kristina since I was in kindergarten, in school and with everyone but family.

    My sister's name is Angela, which is what we always called her, but she goes by Angie. It's weird for me to call her that, because it's sort of a new change.

  6. My name preference at age four wasn't so much my full name as it was anything BUT my given name. Takes awhile to get used to Barbara:)

    What's gonna happen when she ends up liking just "Soph?"

  7. My daughter is Kendra. When she was 4 or 5 someone called her Ken for short. She immediately told them her name was Kendra not Ken. She never had any problem with a shortened name and I knew she wouldn't because she stood up at such a young age.

    So good for your Sophia.

    (my granddaughter's name is Sophie)

  8. So funny, Lara, because my Sophia hates being called Sophia and wants to only be Sophie. (Or Sophi, with a heart dotting the "i". Oh, to be 10 again.) She does NOT like her name and has made that clear for years. I chose to name her Sophia so that she'd have the option of having a nickname if she wanted, because having been just plain "Kerri" all my life, I longed for a more sophisticated choice. (Caroline, maybe?) Too bad she hates it! One day I hope she loves it.

  9. I had every intention of calling my Sophia "Sophie," but it hasn't ever really fit. We'll see. :)

    One time last year I said something to Will and called him "Bud." He walked right up to me, held my face in his hands and said, "Mommy, I not 'Bud.' I Will or William." It was so cute.

  10. I've never had any issues with my name, occasionally I've been called Annie- and I probably looked at the person like they were an alien without a head. But I know that I have been guilty of accidentally using the wrong name/pronunciation for some people. I try really hard, but some have been harder to keep straight than others. Good job teaching Sophia to express herself in regards to her name.

  11. Isn't it interesting how keenly these little ones feel their dignity and how carefully they guard it? Our 3 year old is the same way. He is very sensitive to very small things.

  12. So, my name is Jenny. Just Jenny. Not Jennifer. It bugs me to no end when people assume it's Jennifer and call me so. I mean, shortening a name is one thing, but making it longer than it really is?

    I think Sophia is an adorably wonderful name.

  13. Jaxon is moving swiftly away from our favorite nickname for him--Jackee--but he's also seeming more like Jax, which was the original nickname planned. Reed had a day where he wanted to be called Orion (his middle name). I was a little sad, but obliged, and by the end of the day he was done.

    Either way, I love both names--Sophie and Sophia--and I love that she has a strong opinion about it!

  14. That pic of her is just darling. I want a picture like that, myself. ;)

    I've heard it said that people's names are the most important thing they have. Most people feel strongly about their names. I'm like you, I've been called Lora or Laurie or Lauren so much that I just about answer to everything except for my ACTUAL name. ;)

  15. I love her name. She knows what she wants and what she wants to be called. Smart girl.

  16. I love that she knows exactly what she wants to be called. I was Missy for so long and I always wanted my real name, but was afraid to tell people. I waited until I changed schools when I was a teenager. So sad.

    YAY for Sophia and her courage!

  17. what a cutie! it is amazing how early the opinions start, isn't it? jacob's latest thing to our telling him that he's cute or handsome "no i not, i jacob!" i love it!

  18. what a cutie! it is amazing how early the opinions start, isn't it? jacob's latest thing to our telling him that he's cute or handsome "no i not, i jacob!" i love it!

  19. My youngest goes by his middle name by everybody except me and my hubby. We call him both names... we alternate.

    Sophia is full of spunk, and I love it.

  20. a determined young lady! on the other hand, i have the same issues with my name - Lara. but I always tell people what I like to be called :)). well done, Sophia!

  21. My 4 year old Avery always corrects me when I call her "Avy" by stating very clearly, "No, it's Aaaaa-verrrrrr-yyyy." :) And I agree with you on correcting people on the pronunciation of your name. Tons of people read my name and call me Rachel or hear it and call me Michelle. I used to decide whether to correct people depending on how long of a relationship we were going to have, but now I even correct the receptionist at the dr's office because I hate answering to the wrong name.
    Random thought about nicknames: I never thought I could marry someone who went by a name that was initials. But love is love. :)

  22. That is so fun. We named our little boy Jacob and both Matt and I really don't like the name Jake. So we were really worried about naming him Jacob in fear of hearing our child called Jake, So we put a middle name as Daniel so if he wanted to short we would hope that he would go with J.D. However his nursery leader calls him Jake or even worse to us Jakey (not even sure how to spell that one) and I have corrected her but she continues without even thinking about it.
    So, hopefully she is able to say with kindness and firmness that she prefers Sophia.

  23. Good for her. :)

    I found out the other day from one of my 8th grader's teachers that my daughter prefers her nickname. At first I corrected the teacher, saying she goes by several variations as well as her real name. Now I have to step back and wonder--which does she really prefer? If she told her teacher one nickname, maybe that's it, and I should honor that.

  24. I love that cute picture you posted of Sophia. Makes me smile when I look at it. I also love that even though she is so young she knows exactly what she wants. Such determination will get her far in life!

  25. I think that is absolutely adorable that she wants to be called by her given name and not a nickname. She certainly does have a mind of her own. I don't know why but I never really think kids that young are old enough to be that stubborn about what they want, and it always surprises me. But come to think of it, they are their own little person and of course they know what it is they want! Silly me. :)

  26. As someone with an unusual and very un-shortenable name, I feel Sophia's irritation! I usually hate when people try to come up with nicknames (I'm always joking, "Why don't you just call me 'Dler,' while you're at it?"). And to top it all off, Chandler is my middle name—I've never used my first name, Elizabeth. But it's always funny when people say, "So do you go by 'Liz,' or 'Beth?'" and I say "Actually, 'Chandler.'" It never fails to bring a confused look to their faces.

    The fact that Sophia knows what she wants at such a young age, and isn't afraid to stand up for it, speaks volumes about her. Such confidence!

  27. My daughter just has her name mispronounced a lot and we had to practice with her, too, in how to correct people instead of letting them continue saying it wrong.