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How My Second Son Came To Be Nicknamed ‘The Hammer’

The following was syndicated from Dad and Buried for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

Like many parenting bloggers, I use nicknames when I write about my kids.

I employ these nicknames in a half-hearted attempt to protect the privacy of children that I already wholeheartedly exploit every single day. (And it would be even more wholehearted if someone would actually pay me to exploit them! My door is always open.)

As you probably already know, when writing about them online, I refer to my 5-year-old (he’ll be 6 in 2 weeks!) as Detective Munch and I refer to my baby as The Hammer. I get asked about the origins of those names fairly frequently, but I don’t think I’ve ever explained them (on my blog). So if you’re curious, today’s your lucky day.

Let’s start with Detective Munch.


No, I don’t watch Law and Order: SVU because I think it’s gross and I’m not just talking about Ice-T. So despite appearances, my son’s nickname has nothing to do with that show. (My favorite Law and Order is Criminal Intent. Deal with it!)

Detective Munch’s name is a result of a few things. Lots of people call their young kids “munchkins” but I’ve never been big on that. And I’ve been aware of Richard Belzer’s cop character for a long time, back when he was on “Homicide”, but the nickname doesn’t really have anything to do with Belzer, or even the shows he’s been on. I’ve just always thought his last name was funny, and it was a handy alternative to “munchkin”. But, most importantly, it came with a title.

Everyone knows giving kids titles is funny, and for the same reason that giving animals human names is funny: It just is. It’s like putting a monkey in a tuxedo. Pure hilarity.

I employ these nicknames in a half-hearted attempt to protect the privacy of children that I already wholeheartedly exploit every single day.

When I first started my blog, I am pretty sure I referred to my kid as Lieutenant Munch, because I remember seeing an episode of one of the 300 shows Belzer’s character appeared on (it’s a record, check out the third paragraph!) in which he got a promotion or something. Then I realized I was wrong about that — or else I realized that Detective is a funnier (and also more bad-ass) title than Lieutenant — and so I made the switch. Hence, Detective Munch.

As for The Hammer? Well, that origin story is a little more straightforward.

When we told the Detective he was having a brother, he wasn’t thrilled. Then, at Christmas, when we told him The Hammer’s (real) name, he wasn’t thrilled. To console him, we told him that his little brother was going to have nicknames, and that he could come up with his own, to which Detective Munch immediately replied, “Can I call him Hammer?” to which I immediately replied, “Yes!” (I was thrilled.)

After all, “Hammer” is much better than “Toilet,” which was another name that he’d put on the table (but that we quickly flushed).

Unfortunately, we’ve reached a crossroads, and I need your help.

Mom and Buried has never been a huge fan of the Hammer’s nickname, and, as luck would have it, Detective Munch has recently come up with a few new ones. (Thankfully, he’s a big fan of his baby bro so none of them are toilet-related.) One of them is the delightful “Mister Baby” which, while hilarious and lots of fun to use around the house, obviously has a short shelf-life.

The other, however, is a real contender, and this is where you come in. Is it good enough to switch gears? Should I change The Hammer’s nickname?

Dad and Buried (aka Mike Julianelle) is a 30-something Brooklynite who is sharing his experiences as a father and bitching about the ways the existence of his sons are destroying his social life.