“I get tired writing my name. So I stop at A,” Natalie explained matter-of-factly.
It wouldn’t be so bad if she weren’t referring to the SECOND letter of her name.
“I named you Natalie,” I said. “Not Na.”
She brings home PreK work with her named signed like this:
“I like Na better,” Natalie replied, flipping her hair over her shoulder. She’s four but she likes to act like she’s fourteen. I was always worried that people would try to shorten Natalie as she grew. My biggest fear was Natty. Or Nat. If anyone ever asked for Nat I’d have been like, “I’m sorry, a gnat is an annoying bug. I named my daughter Natalie.”
I never thought I’d have to worry about NA.
“I didn’t name you Na,” I repeated through clenched teeth. “I will not call you Na. We are not in Hollywood. We don’t have to go by ridiculous names. I mean, what was Jason Lee thinking naming his son Pilot Inspektor? And I love Neil Patrick Harris but Gideon? No.” I looked Natalie in the eyes. “You are Natalie. You know how to spell it, I’ve seen you. Don’t grow up to be lazy. Don’t be one of those people that circle the parking lots again and again until they find a spot up front.”
Natalie blinked at me.
“How do you spell your name?” I pressed.
Natalie sighed. “N-A-T-A-L-I-E,” she grumbled.
“Great. Then spell that on your papers.”
“But it’s too long. I’m Na.”
I rubbed my temples. It was clear it was going to be a double chocolate kind of night.
So hi. I’m Amber and apparently I have a daughter named Na.