Saturday, November 15, 2014
I can’t say that she didn’t warn me. Her words were something to the effect of, “Don’t give them a name that can be shortened. Oh… and don’t give them a nickname unless you want them to be stuck with it forever.” My mom was speaking from experience, of course. Her given name was Gloria Jean Walker. But thanks partly to a song that her dad used to sing to her, (Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair) she is still known as Jeanie to this day.
So, in 2003 when we adopted our daughter, I thought we had done pretty well with the name Abby. I mean you can’t shorten Abby too easily (although once in awhile she gets called Abs or Abster- which isn’t really shorter…) Abby’s Chinese name is Chang Ming Qing. When we were in China they doubled the Qing part – Qing Qing, which we thought was pretty cute and used when she was really little, but I doubt at her current age of 12 she would let us call her QingQing!
Abby was born in the province of Hunan, which is known for many things, but especially it’s spicy Hunan food. Before you knew it we had a “Spicy Hunan Girl”. We liked how this nickname incorporated a little bit of her culture, but neither of us had any idea just how much the name would capture her personality!
Here’s a little glimpse into life with our “Spicy Hunan Girl”…
At age 2 ½ she was having quite the meltdown and Rob finally said to her, “That’s enough! You have two choices. You can walk or I can carry you to the car.” The whole time he carried her to the car (Did you really think she was going to choose walking?) she was yelling at the top of her lungs, “That is NOT enough! There are NOT two choices!”
Now spicy doesn’t just mean she has a hot temper (although there’s plenty of that to go around), but rather it refers to the funny things that she says and does that keep us on our toes.
Our Spicy Hunan Girl finds creative ways to use things around the house, such as shaving cream to feed marshmallow treats to her bath animals, Kleenex for clothes for her Barbies, and napkins to create “napkin art”.
She is also full of parenting advice for how to parent Matthew. “Now, mom…if you tickle Matthew’s feet when he takes his shoes off, he will never learn not to take his shoes off!” She can get after him for being in her room, but she can be so sweet and caring too. We just celebrated her birthday and she didn’t yell at him when he blew out half her candles. She knew he had been looking forward to the birthday candle part all day. She also let him open some of her presents.
She even gave me advice for a writing class I was taking. When I told her what I was going to write about for the topic of “a scar” she said to me, “Oh… I would have written about something more poetic…like something that had scarred me for life."
Our Spicy Hunan Girl asks interesting questions and says funny things. “I wonder if Uncle Ben is married to Aunt Jemima?” While watching a Christmas movie, she leaned over and said, “I still believe in Santa, even if she has curly hair, a pointy nose, and glasses."
And it’s probably best not to try and reason with her because you might end up with a conversation like this: “Mom, I’m hungry.” “Okay, grab a handful of something.” After hearing noises coming from the kitchen, I said, “Abby, what are you doing?” “Making a shake.” “Abby!” “You said to grab a handful of something.”
But the best thing about our Spicy Hunan Girl is that she is spicy with her showing of affection! One time we were playing Tic Tac Toe and she gave me a kiss on the cheek after every turn. Her explanation…”I’m X’s!”
So, as my mom warned us, Abby might be stuck with the nickname Spicy Hunan Girl forever, but if it means she still has her spicy personality, then I wouldn’t have it any other way!