Hi Duana-

I have an odd problem.  My 1 1/2 year old son is named Alexander.  It was the ONLY name my husband and I agreed on while we were looking for names.  We love the name and it suits our son perfectly.  The problem is we hate the nickname Alex.  I know, I know - what were we thinking?!  It wouldn't be a problem but, some people just automatically start calling him Alex.  Some people ask if we call him Alex and I tell them we,"want to let him decide."  But in reality I just want people to call him Alexander.  Which is his NAME.  Am I being absurd?  I actually like the nickname Xander, but my husband isn't a fan.  So I was wondering if you could come up with a nickname alternative?  Any suggestions would be welcome.  Thanks!


Okay, I really hate lecturing when people already know what they’ve done wrong – it reminds me of being around my parents at report card time. But I have to say this, not for you, letter-writer, but for the others who maybe think they can get around this – do not name your kid something for which you hate the natural, assumed nickname. I remember once being actually shouted at because I dared to refer to my friend Melanie as Mel. And I bet I wasn’t the only one.  Jacob will always become Jake, Samantha will always be called Sam.

So – is there a way around this?

There is – but it’s not for everyone.

You call him Sascha.

It’s a legitimate nickname for Alexander, it’s different enough that it will be noticed every time, and, despite girls with the same name (Hi Sash) it maintains a masculine tone.   But for this to work, you have to call him Sascha a lot – almost all the time.  Otherwise, people will hear you call him Alexander and jump to Alex. Or worse (for me) Al – which is going to happen when he’s in high school anyway.

How about Alexei? It’s definitely a particular type of name, and again, it’s not for everyone. But it is both like Alex and Alexander without landing hard on that "icks" sound if you hate it.

Your third option is just to continue until people get it. Over and over again. I know girls who are Kate-not-Katie and Jenny-not-Jennifer and usually what helps is repetition, and when he gets old enough, he’ll help with the reinforcement – but know that what comes naturally, nicknamewise, may take time to break in people, if they do at all.   See, he may wind up an Alex against your better judgment, just because that’s who he is. If that’s the case, you can still call him Alexander – but know that he may associate it with his mom and dad forever!

Anyone else succeed in engineering your kid’s nickname? Or in eradicating one at all?

Attached -- Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber's son Alexander is nicknamed Sasha, though spelling isn't confirmed.