It is not a name I would have chosen.
If I think about it too much, it has the smell of misogyny about it, in that icky backhanded 1940’s slang sort of way. You know where “dame” and “broad” , “toots”, and “doll” were used in a patriarchal pat-on-the-head “you’re so dumb, but cute” fashion. That is, when they weren’t being used outright as derogatory terms.
I am a “Free to Be You and Me” child of the 70’s. I am not supposed to take whatever is dished out as acceptable, ‘just’ because I am a girl (woman). I can do anything boys can do. I can do ANYTHING! Hear me roar! Etc. Etc. Etc.
But. If I don’t think about it, I can handle it. And. There’s not much I can do to change it at this point. It’s sticking. She responds to this other name as easily as she does her given name. And I have even found myself referring to her in this way. For what it’s worth, and I think a lot, the name only suits her in a contradictory manner. Ella Rose loves her baby doll, but drops it without a thought for a Hot Wheels car. She insists on wearing her brother’s old Lighting McQueen t-shirt, making loud car noises in church, and playing in the dirt.
She is a fairly competent wrestling partner for Will and offers up her fist for a bump with much more force than you might think possible in a sixteen-month-old.
Our Girlie’s eyes light up at the sight of a motorcycle and will shout out “boo-doz-ah” when we pass the bulldozer on a walk. She was a climber before she could walk, scaling the playground ramp up to the top platform without a spotter. [“has anyone seen the baby? Oh my God, how did you get up there?”]
Her spunk is matched only by her ‘art of persuasion’ which usually sounds a lot like Hollering to Raise the Dead, until you find what she wants and hand it over. To which she will grab, smile sweetly and say “tank yoo”. If she could wink, I think she would add one in there, as well.
So, “Girlie” it is. Used in the sassy, backhanded, car-vrooming, knuckle-bumping, eye-winking way that says “I am a child of a child of the 70’s. I am Grrrl–hear me holler!”