Brynna: I don't want to wear the monkey shirt because of the light parts on the ears.
Me: Oh, but she needs the light parts on her ears to hear with.
Brynna: Well, I don't like the tail. It looks like a stick.
Me: You love this shirt, though. I bought this shirt even without complaining because you loved it so much even though I could have purchased two nearly identical shirts for the same price. Because you loved THIS SHIRT.
Brynna: I've decided to give it to Maren.
Me: Well, you're never picking out your own clothes again.
Brynna: I'll wear the monkey shirt, but I'm not taking off my coat all day.
Me: Fine, but if I get a call to come pick you up because you've passed out from heat exhaustion, you are in BIG TROUBLE.
(This is actually a synopsis of a much longer argument that may or may not have involved me taking Brynna almost all the way to school in one of her uncle's t-shirts and then dressing her in the parking lot of the county park. It may or may not have also resulted in her losing her privileges to a child lock free door when she opened her door while we were going down the driveway. It also may or may not have involved a lot more ranting by me about her not liking things that she loved in the store once she gets home. Like tennis shoes. That she now refuses to wear, but cost $40, so she's not getting anymore. She can just wear what she's got or nothing at all. Also, stupid monkey shirt!)
So, Jenn asked about calling Maren Penguin and it seemed worth noting here that my kids are my Pigeon and my Penguin. They also go by Flopsy and Mopsy (Maren being Mopsy for her M and Brynna being Flopsy for her ability to loosen all her joints and flop around in your arms like a large, unwieldy jellyfish). Brynna is sometimes Princess P or Princess Peach. Sometimes I call Maren Little Bit like in Little House on the Prairie. And sometimes I call her Smidgen. Mom and The Husband call her Squiggles.
But, from birth almost, Brynna has been Pigeon. I'm not sure how it happened, but I just started calling her that one day. And it kinda stuck. Everyone started calling her Pigeon. Not in that annoying way that people take up Sissy or Bubby, but in a cute, she's everyone's Pigeon kind of way. (I should note that the other nickname that stuck for her was Beeba.) Which was derived from Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood when the sisterhood called all their grandkids the Petite Bebes. (Sorry for the lack of accent mark, but you know. Blogger. Time taken to figure out.) I started out calling her Bebe and it kinda Southernized itself over time into Beeba.
But back to Pigeon. We called her that for years and finally, when she was three, we bought Lady and the Tramp. Pigeon is what Tramp calls Lady. Now, I don't know if this was a popular term of endearment in the 50's when the movie was made, or if I remember it from watching Lady as a kid, but it was the first I remember hearing Pigeon as a term of endearment. (I mean, they're kinda awful birds.)
So, when the time came for Maren to arrive in this world, we started the search in advance for a nickname. I hadn't done that for Brynna, they were sort of organic, but I didn't want to reuse Brynna's on Maren. Brynna's nicknames are special to her. Sure, I'll call both of them baby and sweetie and darling, because, I'm a Kentucky girl and I call everyone that. But I wanted there to be no other Pigeons. No other Princess Peach's. No other human should share your mother's words of affection for you. I knew then and know now that I will occasionally screw up. In the heat of the moment, the rush to sooth an injury, but for the most part, those names belong to them and only them.
I began the search intent on finding another small animal living wild in cities. Squirell, Chipmunk, etc. But then I realized that another family at my church had this department wrapped up. So, I went with birds. We thought long and hard and asked for Brynna's input (Duck. Ostrich. Bird.) and settled on Penguin. I never knew how well it would fit her though. It just seemed to click into place with her. She just is my penguin.
But, alas. The problem is that four and five year olds have an awful need to know your favorites. What's your favorite color? Purple. What's your favorite season? Fall. What's your favorite thing to wear? Jeans. What's your favorite food? Cheesecake. What's your favorite animal? Penguin. Oh crap, danger Will Robinson, DANGER!!!
I tried to take Penguin away from her because I didn't want my favorite to be one of my kids and not the other. And while I don't harbor the hatred for pigeons that most city-dwellers do, I'd never call them a favorite of mine. I just couldn't get that name away from her, though. It was like taking a piece of her away. I couldn't stand it.
Finally, I decided to change my favorite animal. Radical, I know. (Only kids care about favorite animals anyway. I mean, now I kinda need more specifics: favorite zoo animal (polar bears), favorite farm animal (ducks), favorite semi-aquatic mammal (Perry the Platypus).) So, I made my new favorite animal an owl. Which is nice because you know, I love Hedwig. And the Tootsie Roll Pop commercials. And there's cute stuff with big-eyed owls. And also, it seems sort of hippie, but without the overt drug referencyness of mushrooms.
So, now I'm the owl in our bird family. When I started telling Brynna that my new favorite animal was an owl, she got excited and proclaimed that since she is a pigeon and Maren is a penguin, then I am an owl and we are a happy bird family. A la Stellaluna, I suppose.
I asked The Husband the other day what bird he would like to be and he wouldn't even dignify the question with a response. So, I hereby proclaim him a buzzard.