Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The name quandary

I love having my sons' friends over - we are lucky, and yes I had a hand in this - if I don't now I know I won't later, that they have chosen some kids whose parents share our parenting style (indulgent to the child to let them grow but with limits as to shape that growth) and overall are just good kids.

I recently had 2 boys, brothers also in similar ages to mine, over for a play date.  There was a lot of ribbing between their Dad during drop off (really you want all 4 of them? - him I figured if it gets bad I could always sell them on ebay - Me) but I had no worries.  I know these kids, all of their friends have been in our lives (with great friendships of our own formed via library reading days at infancy to geez how much homework do I have to do 3rd grade meetings) since many of them were toddlers.  I know what to expect - they are going to play some sort of save-the-world-planet from insert monster - recent movie villain, some slight squabbling over the set up (which often takes significantly longer than actual play - there are so many details in these set ups, I am pretty sure I and my friends were not this complex - or maybe with so much time on our hands the time spent doing this appeared shorter) and who is which character and what saves who.  There will be some little brother vs big brother showdown - little ones are tougher and yes at least once I will have to ask them to "stop yelling!!!".  

I could handle all of this- and overall they really are incredibly self-contained and with a quick "rule set-up" at the beginning all goes about 90% well.  I am thinking they do better than some adult meetings I attend and a whole lot better than governments seem to do to play nicely with one another in the negotiation sector.  

As I was doling out pizza slices I heard one of the boys call me by mrs and my husband's last name.  I also, like many of friends and women in the world have not changed my name to match that of my husband's.  I hyphenated, which you can do without changing any legal documents, but only so I do not confuse the schools/pediatrician's offices when I call for my children with a different last name.  I am not a fan of the changing of the name practice - my inner feminist rebels at being transferred from name of father to name of husband - but I also believe this like all other things this is a personal choice and respect the choice made by others.  So needless to say when he called out my husband's last name with Mrs in front of it I 1) did not respond 2) was pretty sure my mother in law had not snuck into the house.

We also struggle with how to teach our kids to politely address the adults they encounter.  This is harder than it sounds - many do not want to be called Mr or Mrs Last Name but prefer their first names being used  - we usually settle on Mr/Mrs First Name but then the boys are told just call me "first name".  When my son's friend called me by my husband's last name I did not respond at first, mostly because it is not something I use.  As with all else in parenting you try to make children behave in ways that will lead them to be respectful of others. 

A rose by any other name is still a rose...Shakespear

2 comments:

  1. I with you on the names (though I'm not as generous a play-date host!) Names are a funny thing in our culture. I took my husband's last name upon marriage. And I'm not at all of fan of "Mrs" anything. It wasn't until after marriage that I learned "Mrs" literally means "wife of". Ugh.

    For the record, please always have your kids call me "Victoria." While I ask my children to respect the norms of other families—for our family, first names are the norm. In fact, as Quakers there are no titles. Everyone uses first names, sometimes first-last names, never Mr/Mrs. There are many ways to show respect.

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