Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Long names

Small One is a friendly sort. She says "Hello!" to everyone we pass, sometimes getting very upset if the greeting is not returned. She freely gives hugs and smiles, demonstrates the more interesting features of her toys ("Hey! Lady! Listen to the noise my monkey makes!") and is just a general force of cheer in the world.

For a while, her favorite activity was to show people how fast she could run and how I she could jump. She'd approach an unsuspecting stranger and say, "HEY! Do you want to see howfastIcanrunandhowhighIcanjump?" Typically, not comprehending anything but the questioning tone in her voice, the person would nod dazedly, at which point Small would be OFF! She'd jump in the air as high as, oh, about a centimeter, and then dash off down the hallway. Catching on at this point, the stranger would become the appreciative audience, clapping and cheering, as Small One beamed with pride.

These days, she has a new one. She approaches everyone with "My name is (Small One), what's your name?" When they tell her, she then asks "But what's your LONG name?" This is because she has now learned to say her first, middle, and last name, and she's very proud to show off this skill. Once they tell her theirs, she gets to fill in the blank with her impressive name recitation, which is always a big hit.

Today, I had a little fun. A saleslady leaned down to coo over Small One, and I noticed from the lady's name tag that her first name was the same as Small's. Even better- it was the same as Small's LONG first name, not the name she's commonly called. I seized the opportunity. I patted her on the head and said "Ask the nice lady her name!"

She did. The lady responded. Small was dumbfounded. For the first time in her life, rendered speechless. She looked at me, then back at the lady. After a minute, she said really quietly, "But what's your LONG name?" When the lady's long name was not identical to hers, she regained her confidence and shared her long name as well. She then added that she is ALSO called by her commonly used name. The lady was suprised, charmed, and delighted, and told Small what she's commonly called, which is a slightly different variation.

I love these encounters, they make me laugh and warm my heart. I love them less, though, when I'm in a hurry. Middle Child summed that aspect up best last night when she turned to her sister and said "Don't talk to strangers. It takes up too much time."


Chaotic Joy said...

Clara was JUST LIKE that until about 6 months ago. Now she refuses to speak to anyone in public. Even people she knows, like aunts and grandmothers. She's suddenly mute. I miss my chatty girl. At least she hasn't changed for me.

Anonymous said...

That last observation ... at least it was Small One's OWN conclusion and not something dictated to her out of fear. I applaud you, Mama of Small One.

P.S. - Be thankful she was not a boy who got named [name] III. You know the pronunciation!

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