How They Became Dudes


Backyardigans. (Photo credit: Vintage Studio. Artes Plásticas e E.V.A.)

When my oldest was born, I gave him nicknames like: Little Face, Sweet Pea, and Pumpkin. Only I said Pumpkin like the “m” was an “n”.

He would look up at me with those big happy eyes, cooing and gurgling. Intense even then. I was a woman in love with this gift: motherhood.

My husband said, “He’s such a dude.”

I didn’t care much for that.

When my youngest came along, he was also called Pumpkin with the “m” pronounced as an “n” and Sweet Pea. His other nickname was Chunkers because he looked over-nourished. Plump and healthy.

He would look up at me with a wide smile and bright eyes. He was my giggler. Rolling with laughter. And, I was a woman in love with this gift: slightly more experienced motherhood.

My husband said, “He’s such a Dude.”

I still didn’t care for it.

As they got a little older people would refer to them as Buddy. You know?

Hey Buddy how’s it going?”
Hey there Buddy?”
What you got there Buddy?”

Buddy for me sounded like a dog’s name. I didn’t like it. Just one of my ~isms. But when I found myself referring to them as Buddy, that was the end of it. I started calling them Dude along with my husband because in my mind Dude was better than Buddy.

And so began their Dude-dom.

It became such a common term in our house that it wasn’t long before the oldest was addressing the youngest in this way:

It’s okay Dude.”
What do you want Dude?
Dude? What are you doing?”

It was an early word for the youngest.

Then came the Backyardigans episode: Surf’s Up, in which the characters pretend to be surfers in search of a secret beach. The Dude Talk abounded. The girl surfer was a Dudette. It was a favorite episode for a long time.

Surf’s Up solidified Dude as our family term of endearment.

Boys. They are boys. Active. Strong. Strong-willed. Confident. They already have very definitive ideas about a man’s role in life.

My oldest recently asked my husband, while smoothing down the front of his shirt, “Does this make me look manly?”

Ahhh testosterone in the morning. Already a man’s man. Already a Dude.

Now this one word means so much more for us … Tone can change what it means. While roaming the Hanson Household you’re likely to hear, “Dude …” just a few times.

So for those of you who’ve commented that you love the fact that I call them Dudes, I have to say, I can’t take credit for it. But, the title suits them.

What’s your “dude” or special pet name? How’d it come to be? I’d love to hear the stories behind the names given in love.

Photo image from Zemanta


  1. DUDE! I love this post. : )

  2. The Fashion Mister used to call me Lozzie, it’s an Australian nickname for Laura (funny that nicknames in Australia are often longer than the original). But when his grand-daughter came along, she couldn’t say Lozzie, it came out Lolly…and it stuck. Now the Fashion Mister, his three kids and the grand-daughter all call me Lolly. Which I kind of like because lolly is what they call candy here. 🙂 So I’m a treat!

  3. My pup is sweet potato. My last pup was sweet pea. Sweet potato is much smaller than sweet pea, but I felt like he had to have a different name…I am obssessed with both, of course. 😉

  4. I think ‘dude’ is a really cute name and I call my youngest son this (even though he’s 22!) I’ll say, ‘Hey, dude. How was work?’ when he gets home and he nods and tells me it was good or bad. I love all the little dudes who have been his friends for years as well and sometimes call them ‘dude’ and they don’t mind either 😀

  5. Phil Hanson says:

    Great story- how they came to be Dudes. Love those Dudes.

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