Don't call my kids the Spice Girls. It does two things: 1- it annoys me, and 2- it betrays your ignorance. Neither of which we want. Neither of which are good for society.
First of all, if you have done this, don't take it personally. You are not the only one and there have been so many instances I have not remembered individual ones. This is a rant. If you think I liked you before, I probably still do.
It's not the association that bothers me - I love my ZIG-uh-ZIG-aah as much as the rest of you. And, hello, red hair, always a plus. It's the inaccuracy of the thing. If you would take a minute to consider their names - Hazel, Ginger, Poppy - there is really only one spice in that list. Do you know which one it is? Did you know that one in three does not a pattern make?
In the past, when someone has made reference to my girls as spices, I have either responded with a weak but polite noncommittal smile or, depending on who it is and/or my mood, a withering look. But my new approach, and my favorite so far, is to look confused, like I have never heard that before and can't understand why they are saying it. Works great because then they have to explain it, and in so doing, stumble on their own folly. While I stand there smiling.
Let us consider:
Hazel - A nut-bearing tree and/or the nut of said tree. Also a golden-brown-green eye color. Witch-hazel is also a flowering plant used medicinally. Not a spice. Not even close. I had a friend in high school who had it as a middle name after her grandmother - Emily Hazel Miller - and ever since I saw that, I had it pegged for my first daughter. Always my favorite girl's name.
Ginger - A rhizome (horizontal underground stem from which roots sprout), which when dried and ground up, is yes, considered a spice. Ding, ding, ding! Related to turmeric and cardamom. Delicious (I have lots of good recipes...)! Also a reddish-brown color. And a person with red hair, fair skin and freckles - not the coloring she turned out to have, but it was a possibility. We chose this name for its non-trendiness, the ever-elegant Ginger Rogers, my sister Maren's goldfish, and we liked how it sounded with our chosen middle name, Litz, Ed's maternal grandmother's maiden name.
Poppy - A colorful flower, traditionally red but can also be purple, yellow and other colors. One species, the opium poppy, is used to make opium, opiates, poppy seeds and poppy seed oil for culinary purposes. I was at a baby shower when I was pregnant and told someone the name we had chosen. "Poppy?!" she seemed shocked. "Wow, she'll be popular in high school." I had to think why. Is it because of the opium thing? It seemed a far stretch - do high schoolers even know where their pharmaceuticals come from, much less does it destine my daughter to be stereotyped based on her name? I thought the woman was ridiculous. When we visited England in 2009 we noticed Poppy was a popular name there. And it's a lovely flower. We just liked it.
So for a stretch, I admit an unintentional botanic, or possibly chromatic, thread. But not a theme. And definitely not spices. Don't make me say it again.
And then there are those who offer witty unsolicited suggestions for "the next one." If, in some mythical fairytale world, I were to have another, they say to name her Rosemary! Sage! Cinnamon! And for a boy, Tarragon! Chives! Coriander! Seriously? For my only boy? Besides the fact that I hate all those names, why would I limit myself to such a narrow selection? Naming is the best part of having kids; I'm not self-imposing parameters based on other people's ignorance. (My one concession - if we had had boy-girl twins, "Hazel and Basil" might have been irresistible.)
You say I brought this on myself? Maybe. But I'm not going to name my kids Isabella, Sophia and Emma just because people don't use their brains.
So I'm gonna tell you what I want, what I really really want: just call them the Hickmans.