Monthly Archives: June 2012

Game Change Name Change Game

I am 38 years-old, I have only been married once (technically am married still), but I am on my third last name.

Like a lot of kids, I was given my father’s last name at birth. When I was 21 I gave it back and took my mother’s last name which she had chosen for herself 16 years earlier, after they divorced. When I got married, I took my husband’s last name in a bargain struck to ensure that any boy babies I gave birth to got to keep their foreskin.

Aside from the foreskin issue, I was very ambivalent about changing my last name. The idea of taking a man’s name didn’t thrill my feminist sensibilities, but I wanted to have the same last name as my children, a family name. That part was very important to me.  I liked (and still do) the idea of a couple creating their own new family name; but that idea was a little too west-coast-weirdo for the man I married. So we made a deal that worked for both of us (and for our two intact little boys, I might add).

Unfortunately, that deal was the only thing in our entire marriage that worked for both of us. We separated a year and a half ago and the divorce is pending, any day now… hopefully… soon… please soon. Which means, I need a new name. Yet another name. Much like the house I live in, I hope this name will be my last.

Why a new name, you ask? Well…
1. I really don’t want to have the same last name as my ex– too much bad water under that bridge. It is, however, also my son’s last name, so I plan to keep it as my middle.
2. I don’t want to go back to my maiden name (either one) because they simply do not fit, in the same old unusual ways.
So, I’m left to find something new, something that my boys can share if they choose to. (I don’t so much care about having lineage connected to a name, but I would like some living family connected to it and to me.) Turns out, finding a new name is kinda hard and I’m drawing a complete blank.

Except on facebook, of course. On facebook I am now, Jennifer Sparklebritches. The name has generated a great deal of enthusiasm among my “friends,” but I don’t think it’s a name my boys will want to have. Scratch that. I don’t think it’s a name my boys will want to have, past age 9.

I guess I should be thankful I don’t have any added complications with my situation.

As much as I love Sparklebritches (and truly, I do), I’d prefer to come up with something more meaningful and less silly. But, like I said, I got nothin’. Nada. Zilch. I tried mixing up the letters of my two son’s first names: way too many vowels. I took a vowel out of each name, tried again, and came up with Solate. Jennifer Solate. I admire the utilitarian aspect of it being both a name and a disclaimer (I’m almost never on time), but it doesn’t exactly call to my soul…

Thoughts? Ideas? How does one go about finding a name for herself? Are there rituals I should be doing? Is there a Cosmo-type quiz I can take? Is there an app for that? Give me your ideas in the comment section. Please?



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“Creativity” Runs in the Family…

Once a week, two smart and fun 12-year-old girls babysit my boys after school. These girls are babysitters-in-training and my house is boot camp. I usually leave a note with instructions such as, “Please make sure the boys do their chores, snacks are in the fridge, 1/2 hour of tv time is okay, I’ll be home by 6pm.”

A couple of weeks ago I forgot to leave a note so my 7-year-old, Eliot, took matters into his own hands:

My favorite part is “shooger” spelled like booger– that and the overall ingenuity.

I was a BIG liar as a kid. My first lie, at age 2, pinned responsibility for a poop I’d left on the back porch, on our chickens. Like most kids, I lied to get out of trouble. But as I got older my lies were less about escaping blame and more about experimenting with what made a lie more or less believable and what I could get people to believe.

In 7th grade I convinced my friend Breeze that our friend Angie went home everyday after school, sat in her front yard and ate bugs. Breeze didn’t believe me at first; Angie was not a girl you’d look at and think, I bet she eats bugs… or boogers… or paste. “I know,” I said, “I wouldn’t have believed it either if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes!” I went on to explain that an underground spring in Angie’s yard attracted an especially wide and, apparently, tasty variety of bugs. I kept going until I had Breeze… hook, line, and sinker. I left her there for a couple of hours and then came clean. It wasn’t about making Angie look like a bug-eating freak; it was about testing the limits of my bullshit artistry.

I’m still an amazing bullshit artist, but I only use my powers for good– never evil. I’m keeping an eye on Eliot to make sure he does the same.

P.S. 5-year-old Asa wanted to make his own contribution to this post. Here’s what he told me to write:
Foofoo feefee. Googoo googoo foofoo. Happy birthday! I’m turning 100 and I get 1000 gummy worms!


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