I read that rabid wolves will eat your children if you use their real names on your blog. I don't really believe this, but somewhere deep down a primal fear of wolves eating my children combined with some of my neuroses about the Internet is combining to bring about a change in my blog. I'm just not going to use my kids' names anymore.
Besides my fear of wolves, there's another reason:
Storytelling is a powerful way to shape your life. Stories are how we know each other, how we know ourselves.
I believe my children have the right to tell their own stories-- to make their own way not overshadowed by my short-comings as a mother, my need to laugh at them and their craziness. In this small, small world where everyone googles their own name, and facebook stalks each other, stories are even more powerful. Little things live on.
We live in two worlds--the real world and the online world. I want my kids to be able to write their own story in both. Of course, they may need a good edit now and then, but mostly I feel that their real-life selves have the right to not be overshadowed by the online persona that I create for them when I tell stories about them.
I used to snort at the people who used nicknames for their kids. What was wrong with real names? Blogging is about real life, right? Well, it's just one little part of life. It's one piece of the puzzle, maybe just an oar of a boat that sits on a big, big ocean.
It makes sense to use nicknames. Not that I think it won't be easy for people who know us to figure out which child I'm talking about, but putting up that one door between their real identity and my blogging will keep them from someday googling themselves and seeing themselves as slap-fighting, horrible children. Because they're not. Just sometimes.
And maybe it will give them the opportunity to tell their own story. And maybe one day when they write about how I locked them out of the house and threw away their toys in their memoir about their awful childhood, they will give me the same courtesy and use a pseudonym for me.
It's kind of hard to come up with nicknames. I'm thinking about just using numbers. But that seems so impersonal. And it's hard to write dialogue or stories that seem real when I'm writing.
For instance, look at this funny story and how weird it is with numbers.
"When I grow up I'm going to put a sign on my door that says, "No #2s Allowed!" said #1, emphatically.
Yeah, not so much. I thought of dressing up the Spanish word for the number. So we could have Una, Dosa, Tresa, Quatra. Or, I came up with a punctuation mark for each of them: Ellipsis, Exclamation, Apostrophe and Ampersand. I wish I would have thought of really naming them those names. Wouldn't that have been awesome?
I think that's it for my creative nicknames. I'm sticking with the punctuation.
Here's a breakdown:
Ellipsis-- Eight years old. Smartie, loves reading, tumbling and is pretty mild-mannered
Exclamation- Six year old. Determined, determined and more determined. She likes bike riding, crafting, and bossing her little sisters around.
Apostrophe-Three year old. Loves to play in water, sweet-tempered and sometimes sassy. Likes to help.
Ampersand--One year old. Loves screeching at her sisters, signs 'banana' and 'dog' and is the last hold on growing hair. So far, she is somewhat predictable.