It started two years ago, when Quinn asked that I put down her formal name, Quinlan, on her preschool information. We call her Quinn around the house–the Mighty, as you know–and, frankly, David and I had named her Quinlan Grace just so that she’d have something more, I don’t know, grown-up sounding on her birth certificate. I’d really wanted to name her Quinn Elizabeth, but when that didn’t fly (“God Save the Quinn!!”), our Quinlan/Quinn Grace was born.
Lately, here and there she’d start correcting us when we referred to her by her nickname. “Call me Quinlan,” she’d say. Or she’d introduce herself to a new person as Quinlan, or give me a weird look in her music class when the whole group sang the little welcome ditty and, as they’ve been doing for years, said hello to her as Quinn.
Welp. The era of just “Quinn” has officially passed, my friends. Quinn–sorry, Quinlan–walked up to me the other week, in all her four-year-old power, and announced, “Mommy, I don’t want to be Quinn anymore. I want you to call me QUINLAN.” And then she gave me a look–the look, if you knew my Grandmom Peggy, because Quinn is her mini and that look is the same–and walked away. I have feelings about this.
Quinlan. We chose it, we really like it, but Quinn is a Quinn, if you now her. Quinlan is going to take some getting used to. We’re trying, though. You gotta respect the preschooler who knows what she wants. It’s her name, after all. If she came up to us and demanded to be called Sassafras I might have bigger issues, but at least she stuck with what’s on her health insurance card, you know?
The other day I was getting ready in our bathroom when Quinn walked in, as she does. She was playing outside the open door while I spackled concealer over the scary half-moons other people call “under eye circles.” I forget where we were going that morning, but I’d mentioned something to her about getting dressed or brushing her teeth, or trying to drag a comb through the Merida-like nest that surrounds her head and calls itself hair.
And I called her Quinn. I didn’t mean to. But I’ve been calling her Quinn for four years. What’s a mom to do?
“Mom,” she said. I swear, she used my grandmother’s tone, too. “Mom, I’ve told you a thousand times. It’s Quinlan.”
And Quinlan it is.