My chookooloonks. Photographed with Nikon D300, 50mm manual lens.
When people first learn of my site, invariably two questions arise. The first is always, "What in God's name is a 'chookooloonks'?" The second, usually asked before the first one can actually be properly articulated (or responded to), is "How the hell do you say it?" In previous incarnations of this site, I've always included the definition of chookooloonks, because it was much more applicable to what I was writing at the time; however, it's been brought to my attention that I've been remiss in including the explanation in this version. I figure now's as good a time as any to rectify the situation.
When I started this blog five years ago, Marcus and I were waiting for Alex to be born, and I was writing about our experiences; both our emotions as Expectant Parents, and later, our adventures in becoming More Experienced Parents. My main motivation was due to the fact that our families live all over the world, and I thought a blog would be a great way to keep them involved in our lives.
As I was trying to come up with a name for the site, I knew I wanted it to be memorable, somewhat vaguely related to the fact that a child was about to join us, and preferably Trinidadian, since I am, after all, Trini. Then it hit me: the perfect word, the one from my childhood, the one that just felt right, was chookooloonks.
If chookooloonks were in the dictionary, it would look something like this:
choo•koo•loonks (n) A Trinidadian term of endearment, used especially when addressing a child.
In other words, chookooloonks is like "darling." Or "sweetheart." There are variations on this word: you might choose to call your son "choonks." Or "choonksie." Or, as my dad calls Alex, "choonksie-woonksie." It's just a fun little word that we Trinis (and for some reason, it's primarily Trinis) like to use for our kids. Over the years, I've received e-mails from people who have found this site, and say things like, "Hi! I'm a fellow Trini/my dad is a Trini/my mom is a Trini/my wife is a Trinidadian and I found your blog on Google. When I saw the name, I just had to come over and see where you were from. Only a Trini would use that word!"
Nowadays, of course, I photograph and write about much more than just Alex; however, the name has stuck, and sort of become a brand in its own right. And so, my blog and my business remain "Chookooloonks."
And to pronounce it? Just like it looks: CHOO-koo-loonks.
So there you go. And of course, going forward, feel free to use chookooloonks in your everyday lives.