I’ve never been good at naming things. When I was little I named our pets things like “Snowflake” and “Feathers”. In kindergarten I wanted to call my soccer team “Sunshine America”. Shockingly, it got voted down. In high school all my short stories had one word titles, and even then the word wasn’t a particularly good one: “Night”, “Truth”, “Smoke”. In college I became a fan of the colon (the punctuation mark, not the part of digestive system). After graduate school, someone gave me a fish for my desk at work. I named it Orlando thinking I was being all cool naming it after a hot movie star. Five days later someone else pointed out to me that the fish and my husband shared names. The only good name I’ve ever bestowed was to my daughter, Zoey. Apparently, I name well under pressure.
Zoey inherited my terrible naming practices. She names all her animal lovies after their species but adds a “y”: Beary, Rabbity. She names all her dolls Rose or Angel. The grandparents took her to Build-A-Bear where she picked out a stuffed leopard. She named the leopard “Cheetah” on the birth certificate and then after a few days changed the name to “Tigey”.
Recently I invented a new game. Tragically, the best name I could come up with was . . . Bouncy Ball. It involves Zoey and I sitting across from each other on the floor with our legs out. We touch our feet together to make a diamond shape. On the count of three we yell, “Bouncy Ball!” and each bounce a ball in the middle of our legs. The goal is to crash the balls together on the up bounce. If your ball gets knocked out of the leg-diamond you lose. If it stays in, you’re the winner. Whee!
Once upon a time while playing Bouncy Ball:
“I have a much better name for your game than Bouncy Ball.”
“Great! Bouncy Ball isn’t such a great name is it? What’s your idea?”
(I choke on my own spit due to sudden inhalation)
“1-2-3 Let’s play Vagina Ball!”
“No. No, we can’t name it that. It’s . . . it’s . . . a personal word . . .”
“I can’t wait to go back to school tomorrow! During Show and Tell I’m going to tell everyone how to play the fun game you made up! Yee-haaw! Vagina Ball!”
So all this week I’ve been hiding behind other mothers at pick-up and waiting for CPS to knock on my door.