Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Lolly was upset this morning. She was doing a good job at covering it up but I can see she's nearing her upsetment quota -- that mental state at which she can no longer ignore a lingering social problem. Yesterday, a "gang" of 4th grade girls decided they were both the fashion police and the naming authority. The head gang member approached Lolly with some things to discuss.

Lolly doesn't care what she wears. I let her wear whatever she wants as long as it is sufficiently modest, isn't completely full of holes and it's clean. She even ENJOYS thrift store clothes. Except for the time she tried to get me to buy her a wetsuit, it's been fantastic finding her unique things at secondhand stores. She's an unconventional kid and she doesn't follow the laws of fashion because it's just silly to look like everyone else.

I enjoy modest veto authority throughout the year but I try not to push my opinion unless there's a need. If it's simply not my taste, that's not an issue. I do, however, require her to wear a reasonably matching modern-ish outfit whenever it's the first week or school or she's visiting a doctor for the first time. I want her to look presentable for teachers and doctors. Before she or I open our mouths, I want the first impression to be that this is a child who conforms to expectations. A good first impression is always important, even if it’s completely inaccurate. After that, Lolly's quirkiness is more acceptable.

As a girl who isn't into the current definition of "fashion," it didn't bother Lolly when the head of this clique of girls was chatting her up about her enormous blue boots. But when the girl asked Lolly's name, she wanted to know why her mother would name her Lolly. That annoyed her. (I secretly giggled when she told me the story--this has got to be one of the 40 girls in the school named Emily or Ashley.) She said she was ignoring the girl but I could feel it. She could ignore her, but not for much longer. Then she would say something. Let's just say that some of Lolly's comebacks take a while for kids to understand.

Actually, her mother didn't name her Lolly. Her parents named her Lauren. Lauren's mother, who was under the influence of various pain management medications after having Lauren agreed when her husband suggested "Lolly" as a nickname for their newborn. It really stuck.

She'll get over this conversation about her name. She'll continue to ignore this little girl's comments and we'll continue to campaign on the part of greater ignorance. But one day, probably when she's about 14, she'll dramatically declare that her name is Lauren,not Lolly. "Oh, so you want to be a walking cliche?" we'll, say, "That's fine."

And we'll endure several years of attempting to correct ourselves when we address her.

This is somewhat similar to Cassidy's naming dilema. Being our first, we had lots of time to read through baby name books. We selected her name because it was Irish and meant "clever." We knew it was traditionally a boy's name but didn't care because we’d never heard it used before. We thought that she would probably never meet another Cassidy in her life. Then Kathy Lee Gifford had a daughter and, let me say, that ended the whole unique name revolution for our eldest.

There were Kassidys and Cassidies around every corner. We've never called her "Cass." She was nearly out of grade school before her permanent nickname took hold. CaSIDidy became Sid. Most people don't call her Sid though, which is just fine. She was annoyed at her new nickname, initially. But it fit a need that was there. Now she accepts and even likes it. Maybe it's because you can't shout out the name Sid with the same dramatic flare as when you emphasize the different syllables in Cassidy.

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