Robin’s hair color is changing. When she was born, she had a crown of reddish brown hair, just like her Dad.
That all fell out pretty fast, and in grew white blond hair as fine as dandelion fluff.
One of the first questions people ask me when they see me with the girls (other than “twins??”) is “Where’d the blonde come from?”
But this summer I’ve noticed a dark underlayer coming in beneath her platinum, shoulder length hair. In fact, lately, when I wash it, her hair looks positively like zebra stripes. I’ve found patches of hair that are blond at the tip and honey brown or dark brown halfway to the root.
I find this fascinating. Who’d have thought? By her fifth birthday, she could have brown hair. Maybe dark brown, like my Mom, who she strongly resembles. Maybe she’ll spend her whole life a brunette, and this early blonde period will be an anomaly, something to ooh and ahh over in photo albums (or photo… pods. Whatever we use in the future.).
But I’ve only ever known a blonde Robin.
This has reminded me of a different, but related topic: using my kids’ real names in this blog. A few bloggers I admire (Mama Pundit; Small Things Grow) recently announced that they were going to discuss their kids in less detail, and use pseudonyms. Welcome to the Motherhood uses pseudonyms, too.
I used to find pseudonyms a bit asinine. What’s the point? I thought. How long can you refer to your child as Baby Beanie or Mister T or whatever goofy nickname you picked? Are you really protecting your child’s privacy by using a fake name for them when your real name is pretty obvious? Look at Dooce: she even tells you her kids’ middle names.
But I’m feeling more and more weird about just straight up writing about my kids, using their real names, and acting like I have that right. I know my kids are super young, so they really have no way of understanding this or participating in some kind of consent. I know a lot of bloggers with bigger kids go through a stage where it’s unclear if the kid is ok with it, the parents asks, bla bla bla. But I feel like I need to make it clear to my readers — to myself — to Robin, someday down the line, that I have never felt like her story was mine to tell. (Holly, too. Hi, Holly!) That I don’t feel like I own her story.
A lot of people will say that I’m the Mom and I know her best, but really I know her second best. She knows herself and her life best. Hell, I might even be running a distant third, because Holly and Robin spend all day, every day together right now, and I only get a few slim hours in the evening or at breakfast. Robin’s brown hair reminded me that I really have no idea what’s going to come for her, that she has a whole inner life that I’m not privy to, that the older she gets, the less completely I’ll be a part of her world. That’s a little sad, but it’s also appropriate. I mean, my Mom knows me, but she doesn’t know me. She knows a special, Mom version of me. The me I am for her. And that’s kind of what’s happening with my kids.
So I’m thinking of using pseudonyms for my kids. Other than the possibility that it might afford them a little more privacy, I like the idea that it would symbolize that I’m writing about a me version of my children: that the 4 year old who draws Rapunzel obsessively and sings “867-BUTT-309!!” in the bathtub is the kid I know and love, but that her representation here is not the whole story to her, or of her, and it never will be.
What do you think? Is there a point to kid pseudonyms? WWYD?