Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Fine Art of Naming Your Children

It's taken me a while to name my sons.

No, I don't mean their actual names.  Those were picked out before they were born.  THAT would be weird.  I'm talking about their pseudonyms, what I call them when I refer to them online (i.e. on Twitter, Facebook, this blog, etc.).

Why do they need pseudonyms, you may ask?  I'll tell you, Oh Inquisitive One.  Because I'm paranoid.  I refuse to allow my sons' real names, or any images of them, to be available on the internet.  Their identities are not to be public knowledge.  I know, I know, that sounds paranoid, doesn't it?  It is; reread the third sentence again.

Perhaps I am overprotective.  The other day my eldest son and I went to the mall for some final Christmas shopping.  (On a side note, we got all of our shopping done BEFORE Black Friday.  I may be paranoid, but I'm not a masochist.)  He's a very loving kid and has so far spent too much of his saved money on us.  Once there, he asked if he could look elsewhere in the store for something for his brother while I shopped for Mrs. Write.  I froze.  Indecision is my middle name, as anyone who knows me will attest.  Choosing an entree at a restaurant is likely to induce heart palpitations in me.  And here was a biggie.

Granted, he IS 12, and quite mature for his age.  He knows all the safety rules, as I and his mother have drilled them into him for years now.  And, last but certainly not least, I know his mother would say yes.  He is smart, trustworthy and a damned good kid.  Unfortunately, when situations like this arrive, I instantly picture that tiny, 3lb., 2oz. preemie I first laid eyes upon over twelve years ago, instead of the preteen he actually is.

After staring at him for what had to be a full two minutes (everyone in the family is used to my indecisiveness by now), I said "Yes,".  We went over the rules again; he repeated every guideline for talking to strangers, staying away from exits and bathrooms, keeping his cell phone handy, etc., etc.  Then, biting my lip with trepidation, I stood perfectly still as he went off in a different direction from me, my little guy growing up, shouldering responsibility, taking another step toward manhood before my very eyes.

Yes, I did follow him the whole time.  I'm indecisive, but still paranoid.

Anyway, on to their names.  I know my real name is visible on my Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.  It's not like their names are a complete mystery to the world. They attended public school until three years ago.  But, when that school requested permission to publish their pictures -the ones already in the school yearbook- on the school's wesite, I checked the "NO" box.  There's something about the internet.  While the yearbook will most likely be read only by other students, anyone could see their pictures online.  Anyone.  Any creep, pervert or child molester.  No, I don't think some random stranger is going to see their picture and come looking for them.  (But, I don't discount it, either.)  I stand by my decision, however.  Just the idea of some sleazy freakazoid fapping to my son's picture gets my blood boiling.

This lead me to my current quandry: What to call them when telling stories about my family online?  This IS a blog about being a SAHD, after all.  It would be weird if I never mentioned having children, I think.  However, every "nickname" I came up with was already used by another SAHD blogger. Thing 1 and Thing 2?  Taken.  The Little Bugs?  Used.  Fric and Frac?  Nope, sorry.  Even the nicknames we call them in real life are used on other blogs.

So, I did what I always do when at a quandry: I asked my wife.  (Yes, there are no pictures of her on the internet, either; I KNOW someone would be fapping to them.)  She pointed out that our youngest some is pretty sloppy while his older brother is, by contrast, quite fastidious and particular.  Once told this, the names became obvious; we even said them together: Oscar and Felix.

"Oscar", my nine-year-old, has no concept of picking up after himself.  He could drop a $20 on the floor and not look back, figuring someone will eventually pick it up and hand it back to him.  It's not for a lack of trying to teach him elf-reliance, but he's having none of it.  I remember a Parent-Teacher Conference back before we took up homeschooling in which Oscar's teacher asked if we could convince our son to hold off pulling his pants down until AFTER he got through the bathroom door.  He absolutely doesn't care if his underwear or butt is showing, and just last week went to his Occupational Therapy appointment sans socks, because he "forgot to put them on".

"Felix", on the other hand, is a neat freak.  His toys and games have to be put away in a certain order and place.  He always dresses in the same manner, including rolling the tops of his socks down (don't ask) no matter the weather or outfit.  He likes his plate, cup and silverware in a certain position, and often picks at his food if it isn't arranged a certain way on the plate.  Bear in mind, he never actually complains about any of these things if they aren't right. And, if asked, would deny that he does any of them.  My favorite story involving Felix and his fastidiousness takes place on Christmas Day, 2001.  Both boys were fans of Monsters Inc., so we secretly decorated their room while they slept with MI curtains, rug, blankets (they were heavy sleepers), throw pillows and the entire series of Happy Meal toys arranged on their windowsill.  The next morning, Felix wakes up and wanders into our room, asking for breakfast.  "Don't you want to open presents first?" we asked.  "No, we are apposed to have breakfast first!" he insisted, completely unaware of the new setup of his room or of his little brother happily playing with the toys.

So, there you have it: Oscar and Felix.  My boys.  They drive each other, and their SAHDad, crazy.  Crazy with love.  I wouldn't trade them for the world.