Sunday, March 1, 2009

What's in a name?

And yes, they are 2 1/2 years apart in age and nearly the same height.

I am now sufficiently recovered from my vacation to blog again. I don't know what was wrong with me the last several weeks before I left, but I didn't do much blogging. Thankful, you say? Just watch out, I've got my eye on you.

In a gift shop at Disneyland, I was drawn to the same things I was when I was a child...some background here:

I went to Disneyland for the very first time when I was 7. Even though we'd lived not too terribly far away until I was almost 4, and then visited regularly (my step-father's evil sister lived in Fullerton - by the way, SHE was named after a scruffy little animal that represents a holiday), my mother refused to take me to the promised land until I was old enough to enjoy it. And I do remember that very first visit, for one very memorable reason - it rained the entire day. This was in the ancient days - the days of the ticket books. Remember them? Of course not, you're too young. You got a bunch of tickets, A through E...the A tickets were for cool rides like the Matterhorn bobsleds, or Mission to Mars. The E tickets were for things like King Arthur's Carousel. You'd finish the day crying because you didn't have any more A tickets, but always had Es left over. I have no idea which ticket It's a Small World took, but really? They should pay people to ride on that one.

After that, I went a lot. I remember one gloomy day, right after my mother died. I was 10. My older step-cousin (she was 10 years older than me, and impossibly worldly and glamorous in my eyes) took me for a drive one day. Anaheim is not a far drive from Fullerton, but I didn't know the roads in those days (who am I kidding, I still don't). All of a sudden, I remember seeing the Matterhorn, and looking at Chris expectantly...she'd planned a day to cheer me up. Mostly, I remember her sitting side-saddle on one of the horses of King Arthur's Carousel, and wondering when I'd be old enough to do the same.

This visit was free! I have a friend who knows someone. Really. Cool, huh? I know you're jealous. I would be.

I really, really, really love Disneyland. Well, except for that one trip, my senior year of high school. I wore a maxi-skirt (we truly called them that in those days), tripped and fell on my face. I don't remember much after that, except my teenage cynicism.

We had a tradition when I was a child - our last stops would be on Main Street...we'd stock up on candy from the wonderful candy shop, and then buy souvenirs. I always loved the stands with the little license plate holders for your bike. You could find your name, then everyone in the world would know it as you rode through town on your pretty pink bike with the banana seat and big handlebars (what are those called?).

And Disneyland always had Annie. Oh, you could find the key chains and license plate holders other places, too. But those places never had Annie. They would have Anne. Or Ann (which is truly my first name, but is impossibly short and boring - but does balance out my 13-letter last name quite nicely).

It was always exciting to find Annie. I wished my parents had named me something more regular, like Sandra, or Cathy, or Debbie...then I could have found my name anywhere! Or something exotic, like Astrid or Celeste or Suzette. But my parents were big on naming their kids after people they actually knew and liked - and since every one's first name was Mrs. in those days, I guess I should count myself lucky.

When my kids came to me, they had pretty good names. Which is a miracle. It seems like most of the kids who come into foster care have names like Prima or Sativa. Where do they get these names? Oh, yeah...right.

In fact, these days, it seems like unique is the new normal. Want to name your kid Jordan? Then don't spell it like that - spell it Jordyn, or Jor-din. Food names seem to be gaining in popularity. And unisex names are more popular then ever. Just ask my kids, who have to specify which Riley they're talking about - girl Riley or boy Riley. Since I'm a lot older than a lot of the other parents, even the parents' names sometimes confuse me. When my daughter started first grade and I got the roster, I thought one of her classmates had two dads - but really the mom just has a name I associate with really old stinky hillbilly men. Don't ask.

My kids have pretty regular names. My son came to me with a name that was really, really popular at the time, because a hot soap opera star was graced with it. In fact, he was actually named after the guy, as his birth mom's social worker was trying to help her find a name and gave her a list of the top-ten hunky soap opera stars of the year. Alphabetically, his was first. Our social worker advised us to change his name, as said birth-mother had a really nasty temper and we didn't want her to find us.

We picked a first name right out of the Bible, and a middle name that went really well with it, and just happens to be one of my favorite characters in E.T. Ohhhh, maybe I've finally come up with his pseudonym for this blog. you like it? His first name has a pretty cool nickname available. And it's never really gone out of style. Of course, he gets really mad if one of us calls him by his full first name because he thinks it's dumb.

My daughter came with a really beautiful name, and an even cuter nickname. We shortened her first name to something beautifully classic, and changed the spelling of her nickname. After a model my ex thought was really hot...but now there's a new little celebre-baby with the same name. And we gave her a new middle name (her middle name was the same as my mom's and my ex didn't like it - he actually said it sounded too Catholic).

So I though my daughter would be so excited to find her name on a key chain or license plate holder. But she wasn't. She wanted....a diary. With a lock. Oh, my. She's 6...what kind of secrets could she have?

And my son wanted a truck.

Darn it, they've got minds of their own.

Here's a cool link to how some modern stuff was named.

And if I ever adopt another child, I'm naming them Maddosynn or Hektyr.

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