Monday, November 26, 2012

A Girl by Any Other Name...

I don't have a daughter named Gracie anymore. Now, don't be alarmed. The daughter formerly known as Gracie is alive and well, and still has shiny hair.

But she's decided she is done with being called Gracie. She doesn't even want to be called Grace, which is sort of what I thought she'd go by when she grew up. Nope, Grace is too common, she says. Too boring -- there are at least 2 other girls in her grade called Grace.

Besides, Gracie isn't even her name, my 7-year-old is quick to remind me. "It's Donna, which is much, much prettier than Grace."

Actually, that's true. But I'm going to be honest when I say I'm a bit conflicted. Ever since the moment I had my first crazy pregnancy dream, and decided it was surely a name-choice premonition, I had myself a little baby Gracie.

You see, I'd wanted for years to name my first daughter Donna Grace, after my grandmother, who is one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world. But, also, I really loved the name Isabella - and as I did not know Isabella would be one of the top baby names of that year, if not THE TOP, I was torn.

And THEN I had my aforementioned crazy pregnancy dream in which I was picking up my two-year-old daughter from daycare. She was this impish little blonde thing, with big blue eyes and short curly hair, and a little pony tail sticking out the top of her head.

"Isabella! Get your stuff!" I called to her.

And what did darling little Isabella do?

She put her hands on her hips and stomped her foot and said, "I NOT Isabella, I GRACIE."

"Come on, Isabella! Get your stuff!" I continued. But nope, this little urchin was too much like myself, and she wasn't having any of this wrong-name business. 

By the way, did you know my name is pronounced MER-EEE-SA? Yep, it rhymes with Lisa, and yes, I will correct anyone who repeatedly mispronounces it. I might even put my hands on my hips and stomp my foot about it, as I HATE when people call me the wrong name. So. I can understand why little "Isabella" was voicing her objections.

Naturally, when I woke up, I figured my dream was really my baby telling me to stop messing around with the wrong name, and go with the name I wanted to call her the most. I have never had second thoughts about it.

(Although, I learned soon after not to trust my dreams as prophetic. But only after I FREAKED for many pregnant months over the fact that we might have to deal with the life challenge of our baby being both a hermaphrodite AND Siamese twins. Stupid crazy pregnancy dreams...)

Well, my blue-eyed blondie is digging in her heels again. Not like when she was in kindergarten, and said she was changing her name to Melissa. This time, she told all her classmates and teacher to call her Donna.

When did we find this out? Weeks after the fact, when Will and I were helping chaperone one of Gracie's classmate's b-day parties, and one of the boys corrected Will.

"Um, actually, her name isn't Gracie, it's Donna," the boy told him.

Um, okaaaay then.

So, for the first time since the No-we-will-not-call-you-Melissa days, my kiddo absolutely loves her name. And the best part for her is that it IS her name.

But my favorite part of the name story is about how my Grammy - the original Donna Grace of the family - got her name. You see, my grandma wasn't originally called Donna. Nope, when she was born, she was given the name Dawn. It was her older sister Nina (who pronounced her own name Nigh-Na until she moved to Pasadena, and changed it to the long E pronunciation so she could be 'Nina from Pasadena') who was entrusted with the job of going to the bank to fill out the birth certificate.

The name Dawn was BORING, in Nina's opinion. She secretly decided Dawna would be much more fun. When my grandma turned 16 and went to pick up her birth certificate before immigrating to the US from a farm in New Brunswick, Canada, she was quite surprised.

(though perhaps not as surprised as her older sister Henrietta, who discovered, upon picking up her birth certificate at age 16, that her name was in fact Bernice Juanita - picked by that same sister, because Nina thought Bernice Juanita had WAY more pizazz).

My grandma decided, while she was undergoing her unexpected name change, that she would spell it Donna instead of Dawna. Sometimes she wishes she'd kept the unique spelling, but I'm glad she at least kept the name -- and so is my own little Donna Grace.

Also, want to know the craziest thing? When Gracie was two years old, I took this picture of her, and when I saw it, I had CHILLS - this is SO the baby Gracie from my crazy premonition dream. Also, this picture was taken whilst I was telling her to stop stomping her brand new sneakers in a bucket of water - such a Gracie moment.

I haven't gotten used to my kiddo's name change. All the nicknames she's ever had tie into her baby name. Gracie Goose. Grackmeister G, Gracie so Cray-cie, Gracie Doodle Dandy....

She mentioned that I could call her Bella Donna - which means Beautiful Lady - and which I quickly informed her is a poisonous plant that also goes by the name of Deadly Nightshade, so maybe I can call her that. She laughed her head off, and didn't mind THAT for a nickname.

Also, as soon as Gracie got her wish, and I called her Donna for the first time, Annelie said, matter-of-fact, "And I'M going to go by my middle name. From now on, you can all call me CECELIA."

To that I quickly said, "NO WAY, not until you're at LEAST seven."

Will both my kids end up with name changes? Who knows. But incidentally, I chose to spell Annelie's middle name as Cecelia rather than Cecilia, because I liked Cece or Celia as nicknames, just in case.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Outta the Mouths of Babes.10

Mid-November already?

How 'bout a little round up of the things my kids say that crack me up?


WILL: Mommy made you a sandwich and she made it with extra sprinkles of love

ANNELIE: No, actually, that's just lettuce.


Gracie, on handling bullies.

If someone called me stupid, I'd say, "Come over to my house." But before they came, I'd glue their picture in my dictionary next to the word stupid, and then when they came over, I'd say, "Come look at my dictionary." And when they looked, I'd say, "TA-DA!"


At dinner

ME: Let's talk about what we're thankful for, and pick something that can't be bought at a store.

ANNELIE: I'm thankful for the people who work at the stores and make sure that the stuff I want is at the stores.


ANNELIE: I'm going to invite Jason, a boy in my class, to my birthday party. Wanna know why? Because he always smiles at me when I walk past him. And when  he comes, I'm going to explain all the rules to him.

ME: Rules like No dating until you're sixteen?

ANNELIE: Yeah, that one. And also no snatching things away from people, and always share.


ME [unscrews Gracie's light switch plate, removes, puts on new light switch plate]: ...

GRACIE: Oh WOW, Mom! You should be a builder or something!

ME: ... are you kidding?

GRACIE: No, I'm not. I think you're AMAZING!

(Yes, it is THAT easy to be amazing, folks.)


GRACIE: Mom, my school picture turned out GREAT!

ME: Did you get to see it?


ME: Then how do you know?

GRACIE [looks at me like I'm crazy]: Because I smiled my biggest smile and I looked adorable. 


ANNELIE [sniffs surrounding air, delighted]: Oooooh, I made it smell like sausages in here!!

ME [breathes surrounding air]: *dies*


Earlier -
Will put on a interview with Christopher Hitchens, in which CH argues that women aren't funny.

Later -
at dinner

GRACIE [puts tiny dab of hot sauce in the center of her taco]: There.

WILL: That's really all you want?

GRACIE [shoots him a serious look]: That's all I can handle in this situation.

WILL laughs.

GRACIE [arches brow and smiles]: There. You laughed. Proof that women can be funny.


That's all I've got for today!

Possibly even for the week.

Maybe even for the month - I've been taking a bit of an unplanned blog hiatus. Lately, I've been up to my ears with my NaNoWriMo project (which is already a good dozen or so thousand words behind my goal), my new job (which involves playing trucks and cars with a 3-year-old, and spoon-feeding fruit smoothies to his baby sister - and I'm so happy to be playing with the littlest-aged kiddos, again), and rearranging all the rooms and/or furniture in my house.

CHANGE IS GOOD. Exhausting, but good.

Hope you're all having a great November so far, folks!   


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