Friday, October 19, 2007

What's in a Name?

Schools today look nothing like the schools I attended as a youngster. My elementary school was all dark wood interior, my mind's eye always sees it enshrouded in darkness. The classrooms were lighter, there were windows, but the main lobby and hallways were deeply-stained panels of a very ancient design. The stairs and bannister bore the same swirled moldings. The atmosphere was one of an old manor house in a horror movie.

The elementary school my son attends is decorated in bright primary colors. The floor is dotted with yellow, red and blue tiles placed here and there, somewhat haphazardly. There is light everywhere, the interior hallways are all brightly illuminated and those that encircle the building have windows all along the outside wall. Every door, wall and entranceway is decorated with the art of children. It is like a child's picture book.

And yet, there is still some vestigial rigidity in schools, even the brightly colored ones. For instance, The Boy has had little luck in convincing them to accept his new name. The Boy chooses new names often, he changes them the way some children change favorite cartoons.

We were shopping for refrigerators in Sears one evening when he suddenly decided we ought to call him "Harry". I had never considered Harry as a name for him before he was born but I had to admit that it certainly seemed to suit him and so I agreed to it straightaway. I wasn't as easy to convince when he changed his name to "Rico" a few months back, but once I told him it meant "rich" in Spanish, he was utterly delighted with his choice and there was no changing his mind.

We can't change his mind, but he often does and sometimes advises that I may still call him by his real name at home. He wants others to call him Rey Mysterio, but not his mom.

Oh yeah, that's his new name. Rey Mysterio. His best friend at school is a wrestling fan (more on my dismay about that at another time) and apparently Rey Mysterio is one of the top names in the wrestling book. We don't watch wrestling here, but his friends know all about it.

He insisted on having his new name written on a piece of paper to take to his teacher. Alas, the teacher told him that they can't call him Rey Mysterio in school, as he explained to me with a crestfallen face.

I don't relish calling him Rey Mysterio but I know the fad will last a few days only and he will be onto another name that he fancies more. I remember trying out names as a young girl, planning out what I would change it to when I went out on the stage. I think we all go through these phases, but in the end, most of us end up feeling most comfortable as ourselves.

Thank goodness. And no, I have no intention of telling him that Rey means "king" in Spanish. I want this to be a short phase.


easywriter said...

What a wonderful child. He must have your creativity and what a wonderful Mom to guide that creativity without squashing it. :o)

Andrea Paulsen said...

He surprises me a lot. He's all boy and nothing but bustle and monkey business, a whirling streak of noise and activity. But every once in a while he will come out and say something that lets you know that underneath it all, he's thinking some pretty deep thoughts. I don't know if it's possible to know anyone, even our children, so thoroughly that they don't occasionally surprise you.