I’m about to admit something that I don’t think most Mothers would ever admit. It is a situation that has been irking me a lot lately and given my nature to never be able to make a solid decision and stick with it, I think it’s a problem that is only natural for me to have. I think I might be having name remorse. Let me take you back to 2008 if you will. I’m pregnant with you and the idea of naming a person is not only exciting for me – it is down right mind blowing. This right here is the whole reason I got pregnant. Forget buying the teensy tiny baby clothes or picking out the nursery colors – I’m all about the name. The process is a delicate one and one that your Dad and I did not take lightly. Since we didn’t know if you were going to be a Mr. or Miss, we had a lot of thinking to do. We had a system where if either one of us liked a name, we wrote it on a sticky note and put it on the office wall. Over time, if either one of us wasn’t feeling a particular name on the wall, we could take it down and veto it forever.
Now, the name selection itself is a tricky one. Your Dad and I have extremely common names so we didn’t want something so common that you shared it with half your class but we also didn’t want to pick something so unusual that you had to explain it to every person you met. With every name that is picked, we also have to come up with every way a child can make fun of it to avoid you having to discover this on your own. We had a strong group of names and unfortunately we learned the hard way in the beginning of the pregnancy to never discuss names with anyone, especially family. People show no shame in telling you if they like a name or not. A name that a parent has fallen so much in love with; shot down in seconds flat by a mouthy relative. Yes, I had a different name in mind for you but at the end of the day, I didn’t have the guts to give it to you. Most of Americans would have butchered it anyways. Ok, so you know how the story ends – you were named Olivia. Don’t get me wrong, I love the name and for the most part, I call you Liv anyways. In 2008, it was not that popular. Here we are in 2011 and when I take you to preschool and we pass by the coat hangers with the corresponding child’s name above it, I am confronted with the fact that six other Mothers also loved the name Olivia. My absolute first criteria above all else was I didn’t want it to be uber common and dammit, it happened anyways. If you’re 8 years old and you demand to be called something else – have at it. I’ve been there with the common name and I totally feel you sister. Honestly at this point, even if I were given a do over card I don’t think there is a perfect name out there to capture you. You are solidified as O-bear for eternity and that’s that.
You have been going to preschool for two months now and one thing that always made me a little sad was when I came to pick you up and I saw you playing on the playground. I never really saw you playing with anyone. A lot of the kids were interacting with someone but you were always running around by yourself or just doing your own thing. As a Mother, I can’t help but feel a little sadness that you’re not making friends. Nobody wants to see their kid watching from a distance at other kids laughing and playing amongst themselves. You can imagine my delight when I dropped you off at school and there were two little girls eagerly awaiting your arrival. They quickly grabbed your hands and whisked you away to the table to play with the toys. I think I may have lingered a little too long that morning but I was truly so happy that you were able to make friends on your own. Sure, you have friends but they are forced friends – neighborhood kids who so happen to be outside playing when you are or friends kids who are thrust upon you for playdates. It truly took everything I had not to run gayly out of the classroom shouting to the sky, “THANK YOU LORD, MY CHILD ISN’T A SOCIALLY INEPT FREAK!” Now my issue is, who are these children and do they dabble in street drugs?
You are still going through a phase where you appear to be scared of anything and everything. You have such anxiety over the smallest things that I’m starting to have anxiety myself as to the basket case child you may become. I see you get anxiety over the smallest things and I can’t help but think of that whiny emotional kid in the movie ‘Parenthood’ who had a near nervous breakdown because he lost his retainer in a Chuck E Cheese. Fortunately we’re not there but I fear I’m having premonitions of things to come. You’re still down right terrified of men and you nearly crapped your bathing suit in the pool when a male teacher sat down next to you. It’s a good fear to have because I know you’re not willingly going to go saunter in to a strange man’s van. You would think this fear would carry over to boys but no such luck – you’re still a giver when it comes to kissing neighborhood boys.
I, once again, am contemplating the idea of going back to work. I have always had this debate with myself but the reasons always seem to change. The most obvious reason nowadays for me is to be a good role model for you. I want you to see your Mother as successful and contributing something to the family. I know that what I do is contributing but I have this deep innate fear that you won’t respect me because I decided to put a career on the back burner to stay at home and take care of you and Miles. I know you will judge me no matter what and I’m sure there is no right answer. I could argue the fact that if I did go back to work then maybe you wouldn’t respect me because I didn’t spend enough time with the family. Perhaps I just need to come to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to do anything right and you and Miles will one day spend evenings upon evenings discussing how much I screwed up your upbringing. How about we call a truce – if I can perfect an awesome pie and have it waiting for you whenever you visit, then you can’t talk ill about me behind my back? I think that’s a fair solution.
I’m fascinated with the inner workings of a toddler’s brain. I can hear you talk to yourself on the monitor and it’s a solid thirty minutes of entertainment filled with biblical songs, robot voices and random shouting directed at Miles. You are on from the second you wake up to the second before you fall asleep and you’re still mouthy as all hell but you do have a kindness about you that is starting to develop. When I was sick this past weekend with the stomach flu, you wouldn’t leave my side and you were genuinely concerned as to how I was doing. You are pretty amazing and despite the fact you share your name with thirty percent of the toddler population, I still think you’re something special. Now, quit singing “The Lord is Good to Me” or I’m going to throw The Book at your head.