Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not the Spice Girls

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.

13 comments:

K Cummings said...

Sigh. I know the feeling. And it always seems to happen when I'm in the worst mood.

People get this almost giddy look on their face and say
"Reuben like the sandwich? ha. ha."

and I say, "No. Reuben like the bible."

Depending on what their name is, I have a lot of follow up one liners that I keep to my self. ( John like a toliet?)

Shells said...

All three of those names are popular in England, so I prefer to think of them as hip English names. Also, anyone with Red hair here is called Ginger, boy or girl, doesn't matter what their first name really is! I love your kids, you, and their names.

Emily said...

Loved this. And I love your "confused" response. We've started getting flack for having a Charlie and a Lucy. Maybe it's my fault for not even thinking about the Peanut gang when we were naming them, but STILL. The things people say . . .

Emily said...

And what's with the top boy and girl names being Jacob and (Isa)Bella???

Marie W said...

I'm with Shells. Great names, great girls...but hey, Katy - what's with the "John like a toilet" business? And blast that Emma came up on the top 3 list - again. Still love that name, just wish all those other people didn't also.

David said...

one of my best friend's last name is bond.

people frequently say, "is your dad james?"

his response is the best, "oh that's funny, i've never heard that before" in a muted enthusiastic tone. it's all about the tone.

i'm a firm believer in letting people know that they are idiots.

Disco Mom said...

Katy, thank you for the hearty laugh out loud you gave me, I love the one-liners.

Emily - I never even thought of the Peanuts, they're classic but not exactly en vogue! As you pointed out, it would be different if you had named the triplets Edward, Jacob and Bella!

Marie - I like your kids, I'm not slamming them. You can't get offended about John. She was going for the laugh, and got it from me at least.

David - Your poor friend. I happen to think Bond is one of the best last names I've ever heard. Too bad we can't pick our last names, too. I would put Bond on my list for sure. He might be annoyed by the jokes but it could be a thousand times worse with a less suave last name, like Dynamite or Hammer.

Heather M. said...

Love love love your post. Love your girls, and their names, too. I've always been especially partial to the name Poppy. One of my personal favorites, maybe because it's so british and a flower, much like my own name. My bro's girls have unusual names and deal with interesting looks all the time, at least when on the mainland. In HI where they live there are so many local names that people don't seem to care much one way or the other about what a name is. So their daughters, Beija (portuguese for kiss, spanish for beautiful) and Neve (they just really loved it)are just two of the zillion names there. We love them and their fabulous names. And my girl, Alex, well, it's always prefaced with "my daughter." :)

Kelly said...

Ugh!!!! Exactly why I didn't want to name the baby Isabella! I hate it, hate it, HATE it!! I don't know why I let El do it, I did afterall go through labor and delivery alone and without drugs, why did I give in? At least she has a great middle name...I hope she can use it in school.

Loved the post...you crack me up.

JillEE said...

we got lots of "spice girl" name suggestions to go with our last name. people thought it was funny. and, they wanted to know if we were going to "keep the 'J' theme." As if we'd planned that....

Scott and Jen Driggs said...

Here's a thought...why not just spin it all in a positive way. I personally like the "spice girls" and I call my little girl "spicy" to describe her zest for life and fun personality. I think that all Mother's take great thought (and brains)in naming each of their children and just because a name shows up on the "top" list doesn't make that person or name any less significant or unique. Hey...this is coming from a girl who grew up with the last name "Grumbles" and wished for a last name that was completly ordinary!

Marie W said...

I really ought to subscribe to comment feeds...

Just to clarify - Katy got a laugh from me also about the John comment. I ought to have added an emoticon. You're right, Dave, it is all about tone. :0)

Gina (Lady Goats) said...

I have "Lily" and "Daisy," and I absolutely HATE "themed" names. HA! So, why the match? When my oldest (Lily) was 4, she asked us if she could have a baby sister named Daisy (who knows WHERE she got the idea) incessantly. So we talked about it after hearing the request for a few months... took a few months to finally agree it was time to start trying for another one, and found out it was a girl. We knew there was no way we could get out of naming her Daisy.

Anyhow, I was figuring that if we had another one, we might as well roll with it, and I was actually thinking about Poppy. I LOVE that name (and Hazel.... My Aunt's name is Ginger, and I really don't like her, so I couldn't even think about using that and giving her the satisfaction - it's not a bad name, though!).... Anyhow, this cracked me up....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...