Mama Mia: Pass the Pasta

Mama Mia: Pass the Pasta

I’m not really sure how nicknames come about. Usually there’s a specific story or incident that triggers it. What makes it stick though? Oftentimes it’s peer pressure or the failure to remember the person’s real name. I have a few of those here. There’s a nice German architect who I have been calling Richard from day 1. It was literally, “Hi. My name is Martin” fast-forward ten minutes through random but interesting tidbit information about hair gel, architecture, and beauty and no sooner do I hear my own voice saying, “Bye, Richard.” So, it happens.

For whatever reason, the nicknames of my children (2 so far) came about well before they even met the world. So, my first was Gnocchi for several reasons. We were in the doctor’s office getting (if I remember correctly) what was our first scan in a series of many. For those of you who don’t know (yet) or can’t remember, the first scan usually shows up as a sac and the nurse or your ObGyn will most likely draw an arrow, pretend to be impressed as though it’s the first time they’ve seen one of these and proceed to write “yolk sac” as a label. The important thing in the moment is that what’s meant to be there is there. Caveat: there’s no ‘oh look there’s my baby’ moment. I mean yea, I was excited that there was a yolk sac. I was also kind of freaked out because it looked like what I would expect some sort of an invasion or a cyst to look like. Also the name, “yolk sac” did nothing for me except remind me that we are all the same, like a chicken egg yolk. Ew.

My husband and I were holding hands gazing at the tiny screen that looked almost all dark and empty. Like a strange object floating in space. Our little yolk sac. I started saying, “our little yolky,” and my husband immediately said, “our little Gnocchi.” Being the big foodie that he is, I didn’t put it past him to come up with something like that, but still, pretty cute and clever.

And so, the name, much like the potatoes that make the gnocchi stick, stuck and her nickname (before we officially met her that is), was none other than Gnocchi. I’m not sure if he was starving at the time or just really creative. Either way, I loved it. It was the right mixture of something yummy, and warm and homemade, and the fact that if my husband ever wished he was from anywhere other than where he’s from it would be from the Amalfi coast in Italy. The mixture of homemade pasta, chilled wine, perfectly grilled fresh fish and platters of dishes, mezze style, but better because almost every dish contains cheese or cream or both. So, Gnocchi became her nickname.

Getting pregnant the second time, we had to, of course, have a name that matched our daughter’s. For instance because we went with something a little international, we couldn’t name her something very ethnic or traditional. Well, we could, but that would be like those people who ask for French fries in their sandwich. Or like those people who eat pizza with ketchup (sorry mommy). It just doesn’t make sense.

So, I’m 21 weeks now, we still don’t know the sex and we’ve nicknamed baby number 2, Cannelloni. I think hubby is honestly so excited about having the nicknames be pasta dishes mostly because: 1) It was his idea; 2) It’s easy to remember; and 3) Any mention of pasta just makes him so happy.

He went off on a tangent saying the third will be Ravioli, the fourth Tagliatelle, the fifth? Ummmmm, what? Really hope he’s interviewing other wives to “carry” all those pasta dishes for him.


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