Monday, August 10, 2009

I love her, Mommy! I love her!

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

When faced with the daunting task of naming Evangeline, Dutch and I found ourselves at odds.

It was the ‘eleventh hour’ of my pregnancy – the back ache-ridden, heart burn heavy, swollen feet phase. Months – years even – before I had sold my heart to the name Isabel.

It was top on the list when we named Audrey but somehow, after we clamped eyes on her face, something about it didn’t quite suit…

When I became pregnant again, and we discovered we were having another girl, I was thrilled. Audrey could have a sister! And I could fulfill my dream of having an Isabel… After we moved into the "Hill House" in January, and several coats of robin’s egg blue had been thrown up on the wall, I wasted no time in stringing up a line of letters: I-S-A-B-E-L, they proclaimed. Every time I walked by her room I felt a sharp thrill; equally after Dutch began to use the name when talking into my tummy.

But then (good old) Dutch got cold feet. I saw the moment it happened. We were sitting beside the kiddie pool at our local racquet club watching Audrey sputter and splash when one very brash, very buxom mother with frizzy brown hair yelled in an acid voice: “Is-aa-beeeel!”

She repeated the name several times before a pale, round-faced child of eight or nine popped up from the shallow end of the adult pool wearing green goggles and a rather scathing two-piece bathing suit – a sight worsened by the spectacle of her bulging belly.

When her mother loudly scolded her for not having emerged from the pool more quickly, Isabel responded in caustic tones: “But you never said come right away!” recalling to mind a vague image of Cinderella’s Antastasia and Drisella.

When I mentioned the name ‘Evangeline’ as a possible alternative to Isabel, Dutch became as ‘elated’ as he is capable of being… He never pushed me to let go of my favorite; but he clearly had no intention of letting go of his.

In the week before Evangeline was born we often asked Audrey what she thought her baby sister’s name should be. "Isabel?" Or "Evangeline?” She responded, more or less in turns – sometimes saying Isabel, others times, Evie.

It wasn’t until after she was born and we had officially given her the name Evangeline Grace that Audrey began to exercise her own opinion. “What is your baby sister’s name?” someone – a relative or friend - would ask.

Audrey would toss her head back proudly and say, “Um-uh…Bella!”

We laughed, of course, and kindly corrected her. But she is almost as stubborn as her Daddy, and would not relent.

It wasn’t until about three weeks ago when we girls were riding in the car that Audrey finally deigned to call her sister by her name. Like many a newborn, Evie was unhappy about being strapped in a car seat and crying loudly.

Audrey arched forward, her mouth wrinkled into an earnest frown. “Oooooh,” she moaned, “baby sister’s crying, Mommy! She’s crying!

After I assured her it was going to be alright, that we were almost home, Audrey looked back at her sister and said, “It’s okay, E-BAN-JO-LYN,” in a perfect Mommy-mimic, “It’s okay.


This morning marked another set of milestones. It was 6:30 a.m. when Audrey tumbled into my room and proudly exclaimed, “I get out my bed, Mommy. I get out my bed, myself!” I congratulated her warmly, in my sleepiest voice, my blue satin eye mask still propped coolly over one eye.

She wriggled her nose at me. “What you doing, Mommy? What you doing?” she chirped, then leveled her eyes at me. “You doing your exercises?” (What can I say? The child has an unrelenting sense of humor.)

It was then that she noticed Evangeline lying in the center of the bed on her boppy pillow, the slits of her eyes just opening. “Oooooh,” she cooed and reached both hands out to stroke her belly. “Baby sister she’s so cute.”

Looking back at me she added, “I love her, Mommy. I love her!


Lindsay said...

Aren't those just the best moments? Brody spends most of the day repeating, "stay awake, Taryn!" because it's his job to keep her awake in the car so she'll stay on her nap schedule. I've had to remind him that this phrase is really only necessary in the car. :)

HM Baker said...

Ha! He and Audrey would get along well... There is something about being the oldest - dictating just comes naturally (as you and I can attest). :)