I don't know when it started, but at some point in his early days, he became known as "Fred" to us.
And then, one day when I was out, I saw a little girl with Down Syndrome. I came home and was describing her to Jim, and I said, "she was really cute...like a girl Fred." And so that's how, within our family, people with Down Syndrome or other challenges began to be described as "girl Freds" or boy Freds." When Joshua is with his Therapeutic Recreation group, I call it his GOFs..."Group of Freds." NOT IN A DEROGATORY WAY at all...just that saying, "group of intellectually/physically challenged individuals" sounds so awkward.
We only talk like this when we are with family...or really close friends...because they all know what we mean and how we mean it. I am totally opposed to using the "R" word, or any word that paints these wonderful children and adults in unflattering ways. And calling Joshua "Fred" makes me happy. It reminds me to look at the happy and fun sides of life with him.
When we call him to come downstairs, like for dinner, we usually yell up, "FREDDDDDD?" And he will respond, "ma'UHMMM" and comes right down. When he does something silly, or says something funny, we say, "oh Fred, oh Fred, oh Fred." When he's being cute, Holly will say, "ohhh...Freddy." His girlfriend, Jenni, calls him "Josh." And when she's being silly, she will call him "my Freddy Weddy Teddy." Isn't that sweet?
Most people call him Joshua. I do. Most of the time. Other people call him "Josh." I'm fine with that, and so is he. But, he's also fine with his nickname of Fred. Random people don't typically call him that, and will look at us funny when we do! But there have been a couple of instances...it's rare...when Joshua will actually tell someone that they can call him Fred.
When he was little, I called him "Joshua Giraffe." No clue why. He's definitely not tall like a giraffe, and he doesn't have a long neck. I even made up a little jingle about "Joshua Giraffe" at some point. I think my Mom started it all when she called Holly, "Holly BEAR"...so, of course, I had to make up animal names for everyone. We all have them. There's Logan Lamb...and Clark Koala. So, naturally, Jim is Daddy Duck, and I'm Mommy Moose. Lame, I know. Now you know wayyyy too much about our family.
Anyway...when we first talked about names, early in my pregnancy, we both loved the name Joshua. Jim's only concern was that it wouldn't sound "professional" enough, like for someone in the business world. But, of course, it does...and it is..and I went the majority of my pregnancy calling my baby bump, "Baby Joshua." And when he was born, of course, no name could've fit him better: Joshua: Jehovah Saves.
Peace to my soul...
"Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, 'before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you...'" (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
"A good name is to be more desired than great riches..." (Proverbs 22:1a)