All the parents of Aidens and Addisons can go ahead and high five yourselves for side-stepping today's predictable dilemma. Basically, I named my kid something weird and now her classmates are making comments. They're not even making fun of her, they're just curious how kindergarteners can be sometimes. She goes by Bee. Yes, the buzzing kind. No, it's not a given name. Yes, she likes honey. Look, it's just her name at this point and I'm sure they'll all get used to it.
The name on her passport is something a bit longer. It's not weird itself (unless you're a big Shakespeare fan and you gasp because I named my daughter after a jealous lover), but she's always gone by Bee for some reason. At first, we just wrote the letter B. Then we I tried Bea on her for size, but that felt too formal and a little misleading because she's not Beatrice. We ignored the issue for a few years and then she learned to write her name and since the only name she's ever gone by is Bee, that was it. The end. We nailed three big wooden letters to the wall over her crib and didn't think too much about it since - that is, until today.
I got a note from the Kindergarten teacher that Bee suddenly wants to go by her official, legal name. Okay, my five-year-old suddenly wants to use her full seven-syllable name when introducing herself? They're only in class for two hours. She'll use up half the day just writing her name on her paper. I asked her about this sudden change of heart about Bee and apparently some of the kids, likely in earnest, are asking her if it's bee, like the buzzing kind.
"WHEN I SAY BEE THEY THINK A BEE FLYING AROUND A GARDEN!"
Honey, take it from a Jenna (Jameson, tulls, talia) there are worse things kids can say about your name. That's not going to give my kid much comfort though, because this is her problem and it's happening now.
The realization I'm coming to is we don't fit squarely into this town. I'm starting to miss the city, where there were Zekes and Zellas and Orlas around every corner. I mean, the people are nice here, but if a little blond girl who goes by Bee is the most diversity in the class, we have a real problem. Out here it's all Reagans and girl Graysons. Everyone is white and packaged so damn normal.
I'm the hippy.
Me! Back in the city, I was the boring one with my mom wagon and nuclear family. Out here, I'm like personified Burning Man, what with my vegetarian kids and belief in ghosts and penchant for animal baby names. (True fact, if any one of my girls had been a boy, his name would have been Fox, after my grandfather.) Shoot, I should just blow them all away and send my home made yogurt recipe to school for show-and-tell.
Rather than just give in and give up, teaching her that to be liked, you have to change, I had a talk with Bee. Err . . . Rumplestiltskin. I pulled up a quick google image search of Anna Wintour and her fashionista daughter, Bee Shaffer. I explained to her that Bee is a name, as well as a word - like Summer or Ruby. Bee Shaffer happens to be a Big Deal and her mother is arguably thee most famous fashion editor in the world. Her given name is a nice name and she can use it if she wants, but there is no shame in being called what your mother calls you.
With that, my little Bee asked if she could design things. Yes! She can! She can put her passions into whatever draws her and as long as she works hard and is kind to people, sure, maybe she could be like Bee Shaffer too. So she got out her notebook and drew a pair of shoes, a few necklaces and then came to me with a dress. I mean, she's five, but it was still a pretty genuine effort.
So I got out my sewing machine and we whipped it up. Why not? Here are the pictures of our afternoon in Bee's new embellished dress. Enjoy.
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