Early this summer, I signed OmegaDotter up for Chinese Camp in Big City. When she heard, she pouted—seriously. She did not want to go, no, no, no! This came with associated stomping of feet and whining. This Monday, as we were driving in to Big City early in the morning on the way to her week’s worth of Chinese Camp, she whimpered some more, and I laid down the law: She was going to Chinese Camp, she was going every year we could do it, and we’d make her do it when she was a teenager, too.
Why? She whined.
Well, because we want you to get at least a smidgen (I gestured with my fingers less than an inch apart) of an idea of Chinese culture and her heritage. Oh, and, by the way, adults who were adopted from other Asian countries who didn’t get to go to culture camps as youngsters felt more deprived than those who did. (Not to say those who did go felt “not deprived”, just a little “less deprived”.)
She flounced in the front seat of the car and “hmphed” and made various unhappy sounds as we pulled into the parking lot.
When I picked her up that afternoon, she was much happier about the whole thing.
Tuesday, she did a performance of the dance she was learning for OmegaDad and me after dinner.
Today, she showed us a (really cool!) “magic” trick with Chinese yo-yos that she has practiced.
And tonight, at dinner, she asked us if she could use her “real name” rather than the name we gave her when we adopted her.
Well. What a difference a few days makes!
Now, first off, I remember very distinctly being about nine years old and telling my parents—also at dinner time—that I wanted to be called “Elizabeth”. No real reason—I just liked the name much better than my given name, Katharine. I also remember my mom and dad acquiescing, and calling me Elizabeth for a week, at which point I begged them to puh-leeze call me Kate again.
However, OmegaDotter has a reason: SiSi is the name she had before we adopted her. It’s a connection to China and her past and her heritage. So we’re going to do our best to remember to call her that all the time, rather than OmegaDotter. She’s asked to do it for a week to see if she can get used to it. She wants to be registered at school using that name—I’m not sure we’ll be able to do that, alas, but maybe we can ask her teacher to call her SiSi instead of OmegaDotter. We did tell her that she would have to get used to telling people how to pronounce it, since any American seeing it will call her “Sissy” instead of “Siih-Siih”. In fact, OmegaDad and I, who have used her Chinese Name on a semi-regular basis anyway, pronounce it incorrectly, calling her “Ss-Suh”. (There’s a very small schwa in there after the first S, but I don’t know how to put in a schwa, so just imagine it, please.)
We did, however, tell her that we wouldn’t change it legally for a while, because that requires going before a judge, and we wanted her to be sure.
We’ll see how this goes.
(For those wondering: I am using her Chinese name in this one post, but will continue to refer to her as OmegaDotter. Since her legal name is not SiSi, and none of her friends know her as that—so far—I figure one post with her Chinese name is okay.)