Sunday, July 16, 2006

Roll/Role Call

Blogroll Me!

I'm very sorry. I know chaos is reigning over in the Middle East, wildfires are burning in California, and the world is full of daily ugliness, but I have to write lighter posts at a time like this. I read all these "heavy" posts elsewhere -- they both inform me and leave me heavy-hearted. I can't write like that right now. I'll leave it for others...

Growing up as the youngest child and the only daughter, I figured it was clear that I was a girl, especially since I had a girl's name to prove it. So why then did my mother often call me by my brothers' names or my father's name? I couldn't understand when she stumbled on her words in trying to get out the right name. Wasn't it plain to see? Pearl was standing beside her. Pearl and ONLY Pearl. So why was I suddenly being referred to as Jacob (my father's name)?

Well, Mom, I apologize for all those times that I personally wondered, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU, MOM? CAN"T YOU TELL WHO I AM BY NOW?"

Why do I apologize? Because I've noticed that I do the same damn thing!

I want to talk to my daughter who is beside me. I know it's my daughter. I know she's the only one in the room with me. I know she was given a beautiful feminine Hebrew name at birth. So what on earth possesses me to call her by one of her brothers' names? Better yet, why do I often do a roll call when I'm calling for her, and only her. I will somehow yell out all three kids names, one after the other, stumbling over each as I realize my mistake and try to get the RIGHT name for the right kid.

Why is it that when my oldest brother is in town, or if I talk to him on the phone, I will call him by my husband's name and I'll call my husband by my brother's name? This only happens with this particular brother.

But the best/worst scenario of all: since we became dog owners some 3 1/2 years ago, why is it that I would mix up the dogs' names with my youngest son's? Why did I call both Tyson, and now Max, by child #3's name? Worse, why do I call my child by the dog's name?

Why does this phenomenon only happen with my youngest child's name? Something to make you get in Rodin's "The Thinker" pose and say "Hmmm...."

I thought it bizarre, and I truly feel guilty each time it has happened to me over the years. This past Friday night after dinner and when everyone had gone to sleep, I walked Max, and saw a friend, a fellow dog owner. I asked her very cautiously, "Do you ever make the mistake of calling Jasper (a white Westie) by one of your kids' names, or call one of your kids by the dog's name?"

When I heard "I do it all the time -- and only with my youngest child," I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Guess I'm not the only freak out there!

Any dog owners out there willing to admit they've done, or do, the same?

7 comments:

cruisin-mom said...

Including my dog and bird, 6 of us live in this house...I often go through four other names before I get to the Right one. My mother has often called me by my older brother's name. Funny post Pearl...you are not alone is this one!
By the way, don't feel badly for writing a non-political post...we need a breather amidst the heaviness that lays upon the world right now.

kasamba said...

Soemtimes, I forget my kids names entirely and I'm standing and snapping my fingers over and over agin....

Elie said...

I do it all the time - call the kids one another's names, call the dog a kid's name or vice versa. It's very normal for hassled and harried parents!

I can't bring myself to write directly about the current war either. It feels like anything I could say would pale against the reality, and would sound trivial or obvious or utterly repetitious of what others have said so much better.

torontopearl said...

Phew...glad to hear that I'm not alone.

We have three children; I can only imagine what kind of roll call parents with 5, 6 or more children go through!

Thanks for your comments.

Sweettooth120 said...

i totally understand. My father would sometimes, but my brother all the time would call me his wife's name, my sister's name, his daughter's...ugh! I would get so frustrated with it...but lo and behold, damn if I am not doing the same thing.

It's just one those cosmic mysteries.

Sweettooth120 said...

btw, these lighter posts are exactly what all of us needs. Heck, I just wrote about parts of a woman's body. How much lighter can you get than that!

torontopearl said...

Sweettooth: "Cosmic mystery" just about sums it up. It's horrible when we see others do it, we silently condemn them and we end up doing the same!