Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Rose by Any Other Name

The Four-Year-Old has taken, recently, to calling BioMom by her real name.

This started a few months ago, and we figured it'd be short lived, and she was doing it for fun, but it seems to have stuck.

At first we noticed that she'd call BioMom "Realname" in front of me and "Mom" when they were alone. Then it seemed that she'd use "Realname" a lot of the time, with or without me there.

So now, I'd say that she calls me my name about 85 percent of the time, and "Mom" about 15 percent of the time. And she calls BioMom "Mom" about 50 percent of the time and "Realname" the other half.

BioMom and I have been trying to figure out why she's doing it and have come up with a couple of theories. Maybe she is just trying to protect me or is doing it out of respect or something. Also, maybe she is trying to protect herself at school. So, instead of explaining why she calls two people "Mom", if she calls them both by their real name, she doesn't have any explaining to do.

Generally though, we were just going on with our lives, figuring that she has a reason for doing what she does and that we should respect it.

This weekend, however, we spent time with the Grandparents and one of BioMom's three sisters and they reacted quite negatively to Four-Year-Old calling BioMom "Realname."

REALNAME? She won't respond to Realname! She's MOM!


She is your Mom, not Realname!

BioMom's Midwestern parents are too polite (or passive) to actually bring up the topic, so it took her sister, over lunch to ask

Why does she call you "Realname"? And what are you going to do about it?

An actual *gasp* conversation ensued to the discomfort of Grandma. Essentially, they think we should correct the Four-Year-Old for fear that other people will misunderstand and think that BioMom is not her mom. I'm not sure if they're worried that Four-Year-Old will think that I am her mom or that she is in some kind of a divorced situation. But the concern was about WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL THINK.

You shouldn't allow her to call you "Realname" just to protect [the author of the blog's] feelings!

We're not. [Blog Author] doesn't care one way or the other what Four-Year-Old calls her.

BioMom is doing some soul-searching to figure out what she thinks about the whole thing. On one hand, she wants to simply respect Four-Year-Old's wishes and ideas. On another, she doesn't care. On a third hand, she misses being called "Mom" in the same way she misses when Four-Year-Old, then One-Year-Old called her "Mama." That is, she regrets the inevitable maturation of her baby. She does have some desire to have Four-Year-Old refer to both of us with parental pseudonyms.

For me, I don't really care about any of it. As was the case in my inaugural blog I don't really care what she calls me. I'm one of her parents, for better or for worse, and that role doesn't change with the title.


Anonymous said...

I have just become pregant by anon donor insemination. My civil partner and I are now trying to decide what she should be called. She is adament that only I should be called Mummy, and I am equally adamant that our child should not call her by her Christian name - I know its old fashioned but I like to maintain the generational distinction between childrena and adults. My friends children add Auntie before my name (at thier inisitence rather than mine), however I beleive that this is inappropriate for my partner. Can you or anyone else offer me any thoughts?

giddings said...

Hi Anonymous? Can you give us more clues as to the cultural explanation behind the ad hoc "Auntie"? Why do they do that? Is it meant as a distinction for someone who is not a mother? etc.