Boundbytheword Blog

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A rose by any other name… April 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 1:07 AM

Choose your battles. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is what it is.

I believe in those mantras wholeheartedly. But there’s always that one thing that just needles you and the worm of  irritation gets set in your skull. At that point the ability to listen to level-headed, logical advice seems to evade you. That’s where I’m at.

My daughter no longer wants to go by her lovely given name of Lainey, and now prefers (or rather demands) to be called Shadow. This has been going on for the last year, but it’s becoming more of an issue in the last few months. We got a note home from the teacher saying she refused to sign her given name and was handing in everything signed Shadow. She alshadow 1so battles it out with peers who won’t relent to the name preference, and corrects anyone who calls her what she was born with that her name that is actually Shadow, not Lainey. Sometimes she has success with it – like with our amazing Naturopath who made up her tincture with Shadow on the label (which scored big points), or with her Taekwondo coaches and teammates as they cheer her on. Her best friend has been calling her that since last summer and now asks to speak to Shadow when he calls to talk to her on the phone. She’s thrilled when someone does oblige with the name change, is miserable when someone resists, and has informed us on many occasions that she will be changing it the very day of her 16th birthday. Oy.

shadow 3Overall, I’m not sure if it is a menacing Shadow,  a mysterious Shadow, or a bright sunny day kind of Shadow – though that one  might be wishful thinking. Regardless, Shadow is what she likes to be called.

But, here’s the thing – I can’t really do it. I feel like an idiot calling her Shadow. Not only do I like her name (as most mothers who pick names for their children do), but it just irks me every time I say her name and she corrects me. I’m a-0k with her friends calling her that, or her bribing her brother to use it, as in when he asks for a favour she says, “Call me Shadow for a whole week or no deal”. But for me to call out across the grocery aisle, “Shadow, grab a carton of yogurt, will you?” I just feel like a dolt. I tell myself to choose my battles, I tell myself this is a phase. I tell myself to lighten up.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for children expressing themselves. I don’t insist on certain kinds of clothes, or haircuts. I believe everyone is unique and special and should do what they need to do to shine and feel good about themselves.  I want them to be happy – that’s it. The rest is gravy. But Shadow? Seriously? I just choke on it every time. Truth be told, I try not to call her any name these days, and if I need her attention, I call her hun or sweetie, or even dolly. But now that I’ve written it out, I guess those aren’t any less ridiculous than what she wants to be called.

When I was growing up, my childhood neighbour (who, like my daughter, is also an artistic soul – maybe that’s what’s going on here) went through a long phase where she wanted to be called Angel Rosebud. She used to give herself body tattoos with pen, and went an entire summer inking her bellybutton up to look like a giant sunburst. She also went about two full years without smiling in a single photograph. She turned out okay in the end, and we call her by her given name now. No Angel Rosebud required.

I may just have to toss in the towel on this one. Or maybe I’ll strike her a deal that I’ll call her Shadow if she calls me Ms. Marvelous. Remind me again – when does this get easier?


15 Responses to “A rose by any other name…”

  1. We all have our phases. Try going through life with a handle like Tobin. Good God. Anyway, inevitably, almost everyone shortened it to Toby. I refused to (and still do refuse to) even acknowledge those two syllables. I simply hate it.

    On the other hand, when I was young, I rebelled by getting a platinum blond streak in my hair at the front (Noelle, you might even remember this, it was in college). Then I went blond on top, still with the streak and my natural brown below. I looked like an idiot. And when my mother went semi-nuts over it, her boyfriend at the time calmly turned to her and said, “Does he drink?” She said no. “Do drugs?” No. “Smoke?” No. “Then if this is the worst he’s gonna do, you’re getting off lucky.”

    It’s a philosophy I’ve clung to (sometimes desperately) with my own kids.

    Ten years from now, it’ll be a story you can tell to embarrass her. But this too shall pass.

    • I can’t wait for the day that I can use it against her. Why must time pass so slowly?

      I do remember the Depeche Mode hair you sported in college. Before your comment above, I just didn’t realize the styling choice wasn’t because of drugs.


  2. Lisa Mae Says:

    I think the phase is more likely to pass if you just give in. Or not, it’s hard to say. Shadow is much better than some potential choices – like Carver, for example. Once she’s worn the new name for a while, she might get bored with it. Or not. I understand why you feel foolish calling her Shadow, but does it really matter what the people in the grocery store think?

  3. Dale Long Says:

    I think the key here is to acknowledge that she wants to be different or stand out but also to show her the silliness of her demand. I’ll lend you the name of a character in my most recent short story. Make a deal with her that she has to refer to you in public around her friends as Tallulah Luscious.

    It wouldn’t hurt to point out the people that have used that particular handle (Initial searches have it show up as a preferred pet’s name) like Shadow Stevens, or more ridiculous names like Moonbeam Zappa.

    But then I’ve never been one to back away from any battle, even the ones I should. Good luck. This too shall pass.

  4. Deepam (Susan) Wadds Says:

    It’s important to her. It’s not hurting anyone. Have you asked her what it means to her? What she sees or thinks about the name… Where it came from? She’s individuating. No one is going to assure you that it ever gets easier. Sorry, just sayin’. Good thing she doesn’t want to be called god.

  5. Lesley Says:

    Dear Ms. Marvellous… oh man I feel your pain! I would have the very same reaction, esp. the part about really, really Wanting to be cool with things like this. But honestly? My first reaction was to suggest to you that every time she says something know-it-all teenager-like (presuming she does, of course, do this on occasion!), you look at her and nod sagely and say, “The Shadow knows.” Then just keep saying it.

    HOWEVER, I realize that taunting a teen, esp. one you love and want to keep at home, is ill-advised (though oh-so tempting). We’ve had our share of name issues as well, so I can relate. But did you know that one possible combination of “shadow” and “lainey” is Shadowy Alien — which pretty much sums up the feelings of most teenage girls, myself included. Whatever you decide to do, write down your strategy so that you can refer to it years from now, when Shadow names your granddaughter!

    • A-ha! Issue resolved – taunt her now, tell her I told you so later. I knew this parenting thing must be easier than it felt!

      Funny – everyone has assumed her to be a teenager, but she’s just turned ten. I guess in this changing time though, ten is the new fourteen.

      I think I’ll nickname my future grandchild Pooompa Lolly. Or Slasher Ax. I haven’t decided.

  6. Shadoww trumps drugs, sex/unprotected sex, underage drinking/binge drinking, tats and body piercing. Count your blessings.

    • Shadow does trump those, so when you put it that way…

      We are looking at a strong ten year old, so I am crossing my fingers that the list you gave isn’t in our future. Disney just makes this family stuff look so easy…

      • Nicole Lizotte Says:

        (Sigh) Ok, I’m gonna go all old school here LOL! I just wouldn’t do it! I know we have to pick our battles, but jeez! We’re giving kids way too much power these days.

        OK, down off my Archie Bunker soapbox for now. In all seriousness, I feel for you, this is a tricky one!

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