Friday, May 13, 2011

Our Boy's Name

The most commonly asked question that I get after, "How's he doing?" is "How do you pronounce that name that starts with the X?"

XiXi is pronounced "She-She",  just like the female pronoun.   Well, technically it's "She-She"with a subtle hint of "See-See" thrown into the mix.  (And if you can easily accomplish that bit of verbal gymnastics, you should sign up for Mandarin classes right now because you'd be awesome.)  "She-She" doesn't sound terribly masculine and even in Kunming, our guide said that XiXi is usually a girl's name in China as well.  So no matter which country he's in, the poor kid's a boy named Sue.

Naming is hard for me.  Re-naming is especially hard for me.  With Cholita, we had to make a conscious effort to call her by her American name.  She just didn't seem like anything but QiuJu.  However, I knew that Americans would never pronounce her name correctly and frankly, a Mandarin speaker would tell you that I don't even pronounce her name correctly, and I'm her mother.   So, we slowly made the switch to her American name, but still frequently call her QiuJu and horrible derivations of Qiu (pronounced Cho)--such as Cholita.

With XiXi, it's a more difficult situation.  Cholita was only 11 months old and didn't seem terribly attached to her name anyway.  XiXi is almost four years old and he absolutely knows his name.  In China, I tried adding his American name to his Chinese name and almost instantly, he added that name to all of our names--Simon Mama, Simon Baba, etc.  It was like he figured it was a precursor to a name and wasn't necessarily referring to him.  For the rest of our time in China, we only called him XiXi.  He was dealing with so many new things, I didn't want to add one more.

On the blog, his name will remain XiXi.  At home, he's still XiXi (She-She).  That's all we call him right now, with some horrid derivations creeping in.  I think my favorite is Lyle's nickname for him-- Sheesh.  Or Sheesherton or Sheeshinator.  All pretty awful.   I'd originally thought that we'd ask his opinion on naming, but I've changed my mind.  I feel quite confident that he'd only want to go by his Chinese name, which is fine, but I think he needs to understand the English language a little bit more before he can make that decision.  A couple of years from now, when he fully realizes that a "She" is a girl, and has answered the "How do you pronounce your name?" question about 100 times, if he still wants to be called XiXi, I completely support it.   He does know now that both names refer to him and he answers to both.  I think when he starts school in the Fall,  the tide will turn in favor of his American name.  Either way, we sure love our disco-dancing, ukulele-playing, purple heel-wearing What's-His-Name.

Adore him, actually.

Next Post:
Calling all hairdressers!
What to do with hair that puts one in the mind of....
to be honest.....
a hedgehog?


Amy said...

Oh Eileen, by any name your boy sure is sweet! How I love your little Yi Man and reading these details of his adjustment. Such monumental change in his young life. Yeah, I'd say he is a super hero with a super family!

Love and Prayers from TX,

Mom2Four said...

I LOVE your posts - they always leave me in stitches!!!

As far as the "hedgehog", I certainly know where you are coming from. I had to tackle that one head on about 4 wks home because TJ insisted on getting his hair cut. Fortunately, he wanted it short (shorter than I did actually!) so the Wahl clippers and a 3/8" guard did the trick. I posted about it on my blog!

val said...

No matter what name he goes by I think he so darn cute!! Purple shoes & all!

Kathy said...

Hello! I enjoyed following your family's journey to China to adopt your adorable son. I adopted my son from China nearly two years ago when he was 24 months old. He also knew his name and only wanted to be called by his Chinese name. Our friends and family called him by his Chinese name for nearly a year before we gradually transitioned to calling him by his American name. I told his childcare provider to call him by his American name, so he got used to it at daycare. The letters of his American name are hanging above his bed. Soon after we got home from China, I would spell out the letters, and then say the name while pointing to him. We still sometimes call him by his Chinese name (which is his legal middle name). He associates with both, but always introduces himself now by his American name.

Joy said...

He's so cute! He reminds of me a little bit of our older new son, age 3.5.

We have the same issue with his name, as he is FeiFei. (Fay -- girl's name in English...) We put his English name in front too from time to time. He answers to both.

As with all of our kids, it is totally up to him what he goes by. So far, we have two children going by English names, two going by Chinese names and one too young to choose just yet. :-)

Kim said...

I love this boy, and I love his hair!!! Thanks for sharing your blessings with us!