Her full name is Madeline, but we’ve always called her Maddie.

Sure, she’s had nicknames. Maddiecakes, Maddie-Moo, Mads. But she’s always been Maddie.

When we walked into her first grade room at orientation, I noticed her coat hook and her desk were labeled with Madeline. It looked so foreign, so strange. Madeline Murphy. Such a grown up name.

Maddie didn’t blink an eye at the name change. She sat proudly at her new desk – an actual desk, not like those baby tables from kindergarten. There were even textbooks inside. Textbooks! I thought Maddie hadn’t even noticed the use of her full name.

Later that night, I called to her from the kitchen. “Maddie!”

“Mom,” she said as she entered the room. “I’d like for you to call me Madeline now.”




This is my Slice of Life Story this week. Share yours at Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday.




17 thoughts on “Madeline

  1. I can relate! Isabelle was Izzy (originally). Once she had the ability to express herself in sentences she informed us she wanted to be called by her full name, not her nickname. I was heartbroken, but respected her wishes. HOWEVER, there’s a handful of people (our neighbors) who she allows to call her Izzy. Perhaps Miss Madeline will still allow some folks to call her Maddy.

    Btw: Did I ever tell you that we almost named Isabelle “Madeline” (Maddy for short)? we were trying to decide who to name her after and since both names were on my side of the family I allowed Marc to pick which one. I always thought that perhaps he would have a second girl and I will get my Madeline that way. As you know, we are not getting a Madeline next month.

  2. Such a sweet story accompanied by such a lovely photo of that serious-looking first grader, Madeline. The first of many changes to come as they leave the nest and adapt to the world…. First grade is a big year. Good luck to you and to her!

  3. She is growing up. It is something how names and nicknames evolve over time. I am still “Bobby” to my family and I don’t think that will ever change.

  4. I was pretty sure where this was headed when I read the words, “we’ve always called her Maddie.” I was Ramona until college where I became Mona which totally irritated my dad, and now I’m a mixture of both. Names are interesting things! Good luck with the new young lady, Madeline, residing at your house.

  5. It is interesting when you hear your children’s friends calling them by nick names that they’ve made up. It’s like they are becoming their own little people, out of your control! Slightly unnerving for a mom. 😊

  6. I remember when I “changed” my name from Leigh Anne to Leigh – It was shorter to write in cursive! I eventually went back to Leigh Anne. She is becoming her own little person and isn’t that what we really want…although sometimes it is so hard!

  7. Names are so interesting. I have several students who have picked “English” names and although I encourage their own name I know it is really their choice. It must have been a bittersweet moment seeing her look so grown up.

  8. My oldest daughter, Gabrielle, was in my classroom as a sixth grader. She’s a very quiet, unassuming girl (even as a college freshman), and it bothered her when people called her “Gabby” instead of Gabrielle. So, one day, just to be silly before school, I called her Gabby. Talk about something foreign coming out of my mouth! Her head snapped around, and we decided right there, it would always be Gabrielle! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your own story of the process of growing up! 🙂

  9. Such a great slice. My grand girl Cecelia is often called Cece but in kindergarten she decided she wanted to be called by Cecelia.

  10. Dana,

    I truly love your writing! I love that I can hear your voice in every piece. I am very big on nicknaming people in my family: my mom is Muddy, my nephew Kosta is Bob (that one has evolved so much I don’t even know how that came to be, but the poor kid thought his middle name must be Robert – it isn’t – he was devastated!), my son Andrew is Drookie, Tessa is Tessie, Tessoula, Tessoun, and of course I was known as Kookoo (for being crazy), but my name matured to Kooks, as my nieces and nephew grew up. Once they started to sell Girl Scout cookies and fundraising items, I needed a last name, so now I go by Kooks Malone!

    Madeline is a beautiful name and she will love hearing her friends say it, but I have a feeling that Maddie is not completely gone . . . especially if you use Madeline when upset and Maddie when you are upbeat and happy (she will prefer Maddie at that point) 😉

    I have a love/hate relationship with your writing because of the emotions it makes me feel!

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