Naming Rights

Sophiewrong“Your daughter thinks you’re an idiot,” Tracey wandered into our bedroom to tell me this morning.

She delivered this in a matter of fact sort of tone I couldn’t have pulled off had the tables been turned. I find it’s hard to sound uninterested when you’re grinning like an idiot.

“Which one?” I asked her.

You’ll notice I wasn’t especially upset by their observation. In the twenty years we’ve been together Tracey has well and truly prepared me for this sort of thing.

“Sophie,” said Tracey. So Miss4. “You didn’t spell her name right on her lunchbox.”

Now I was upset.

“I did too!” I spluttered like an indignant teen, backed by an inner confidence I’m fairly certain I know how to spell my own daughter’s name.

But then I remembered I wrote our surname as well. Don’t tell me I left out an E, I thought. Or worse, wrote the wrong kid’s name on the lid.

“All I know is she’s in the lounge room pointing at her lunchbox saying, ‘he’s done this letter wrong and this letter wrong’.”

I marched in to where Miss4 was still complaining about my lack of smarts, to try and sort things out.

“What’s up?” I asked her.

“You spelled my name wrong,” she told me.

I looked at the lunchbox. Granted, the lid was a mess of her own and siblings’ names long since rubbed off, but her name was clearly printed across the top, and given my poor writing, that’s no small feat. Even more pleasing, all the vowels were where they should be.

“There’s nothing wrong with it,” I told her. “That’s how you spell your name.”

She shook her head and rolled her eyes. It would have been cute if it wasn’t directly mocking my intelligence.

“No, Daddy. It’s all wrong,” she said. Then she started to point out the error of my ways. “The p is wrong and the h is wrong. There’s no dot for the i. All your e’s are wrong too.”

It seems my printing her name in capitals was a no-no. Twenty minutes later and I still hadn’t convinced her I’d spelled her name right. It was looking like Miss4 would be taking her lunch to prep in a paper bag because I just couldn’t foresee a way to get her to accept that lunchbox as hers.

“Maybe you shouldn’t have written her name like you were shouting it,” Tracey called from the kitchen. Adding, because we were due to march out of the house in ten minutes and I hadn’t even showered yet, “Just write the damn thing again.”

This was definitely one of those ‘oh,yeah’ moments.

“Oh, yeah,” I said meekly, and went hunting for the marker.

And although she didn’t say it so much in words, from her tone I suspect my wife’s views on my mental capacity perfectly matched my daughters this morning.


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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”


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