Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's in a name?

My name holds special meaning for my mother, she named me after a couple in Germany that helped her through some tough times and Tarzan’s middle name is that of one of his Great Uncles. Since our names held such significance for our parents we wanted Cheetah’s name to be equally unique and important. Tarzan and I were coming up with names long before we were even ‘trying’; we had come up with a system. We would bounce off ideas with each other but the final decision if it was a boy would be up to Tarzan and if it was a girl, I would do the deciding. We actually have two more names if anyone is looking for something meaningful yet rare.

In the time of names like Apple, Denim, and Pilot Inspector people are investing a lot in the names of their children. A great deal of consideration goes into this process. People name their children after aunts, uncles, parents, and friends. You go back and forth with your favorites and whittle down your list because of names of exs, people who were mean to you, or those who were just vile and idiotic. You look to friends, families, and acquaintances for feedback and after a few last minute changes you sign the birth certificate. Over time even though you’ve decided on what the child will be called, a few pet names will emerge and he/she may even ask to be called something totally different (like Snake or Optimus Prime). The name may become outdated for the times (i.e.; Doris, Thelma) or even comedic (i.e. Dick) and though the name seems to fit, there are bound to be critics. Maybe even a generation or two down the line.

While Cheetah was with Tarzan’s family this past week, names and who came up with them became a topic for conversation. Cheetah decided on his own to call one of his aunts, Sandy, Aunt Betty the whole time he was there. I asked why he was calling her Betty and he said, “She’s not a Sandy, she’s a Betty.” I argued that Granny had thought long and hard for the perfect name for her daughter. Matter of factly he responded, “Maybe naming people isn’t Granny’s best thing.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Prepare the Novenas

It’s amazing to me that my four year-old has such a well developed personality, no matter his mood he can gather the attention of everyone in a crowded room. I am beginning to think that he will either be a thriving con-artist or a celebrated actor. One moment he is telling us how his friend’s dad shot someone in their front yard and in the next breath we find out that he has told his whole class that he learned karate from a sensei in Japan. The daily pick-up from school has become my newest comedy fix, I don’t know what else to do but laugh. Cheetah has become so good at ‘pretending’ that teachers and friends believe everything he says. He has told the teacher that his dad is on the television at night, I like to be called ‘Master’, I let my him get a real tattoo on his back (he had a tattoo that lasted more than 2 months), and that he gets to eat ‘packing peanuts’ if he’s good at school all week…I am sure that the school is building a file on us as I type away.

After one particularly entertaining evening of storytelling, pouting, and door slamming, I called my mother to rehash and vent. I began describing all the ‘I won’t be your best friends, ‘it’s not fairs’, and the ‘you are breaking my hearts’ when I began to hear laughter. I was calling for sage advice and she was laughing, “Mom really, I don’t know what to do, he has more attitude that most 15 year-olds and the pretending is out of control!” Taking a breath she replied, “I know Jane, I am YOUR mother.” Hmmm, never really thought of it like that…I was beginning to understand. Oh Lord am I in for it. Between my attitude and personality and those of my husband there better be a small country somewhere saying ‘round the clock’ novenas for us. We are going to need them.

I have tried to explain to him that pretending is when you act like someone you are not or do something you normally can’t do and that when you tell a story that’s not real it’s called lying. I was pretty impressed with that ‘rule of thumb’ I passed along until I was reading him his bedtime story and he asked if the monsters in the book were real. Of course I said ‘no’ and quickly he pointed at me and sang, “Ooohhh you are telling lies”. So I’m back at square one, apparently to a toddler there’s a thin line between lying and pretending. It’s like explaining why something is stinky; ‘It just is’. Maybe it’s good (this is me trying to convince myself not to worry) that he is having a hard time telling the difference. Maybe he’ll end up doing something incredibly creative, earth shattering even.