I'm beginning to wonder.
So today Alex and Lucas and I went to the playground. It was a perfect day for it. The weather was mild and sunny.
Obviously we weren't the only ones with the idea because within an hour, two groups of kids showed up. The first was a group of little rich kids. I could tell were rich because they were all dressed to the nines. They were so well-dressed, that I felt underdressed. The girls looked like china dolls; the boys looked like Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Another way I could tell they were rich was because while the parents were there (it was for a birthday party) so were The Nannies. Ocassionally the parents, who mostly stood around talking while the nannies chased the kids, would yell to the children to be careful, which made sense. Everyone should know it's dangerous to run with a silver spoon in your mouth.
But what amused me were the names of the kids. There was a Baxter, a Browning, a Madison, a Farrington, a Dexter, a Langley and a Sims among others.
I was curious and struck up a couple of conversations with the parents. "What an interesting name, Langley," I complimented one mother. "Is it a family name?"
No, she said. The same was true of several other upwardly mobile parents.
Then a preschool class showed up. These kids were clearly from the wrong side of the tracks. They were slack-eyed and snot-nosed as they wandered away from their disinterested teachers. I rescued two grubby waifs from the plastic climbing rock, fearing if I didn't they'd fall and crack their little skulls. In the thick of it I began hearing names like Shaniqua, Destiny, Tyree, Donque and something that sounded a lot like the word "Vagina." Upon some checking, I learned that the littel girl's name was Vijiya, a made-up word that sounds enough like "vagina" to ensure her a tortured adolescence.
It wasn't the first time I'd heard such an odd name. At Chuckee Cheese years ago, I heard a woman call her daughter "Crustacea. "
"No," I thought. "That can't be." But it was. The woman said she got the name out of a science book. I can only imagine all the teasing that kid got about crabs once she reached her teens.
So there my kids and I were, on a playground surrounded by little rich kids with pretentious names and little poor ones with weird, made-up ones. The nannies chased the rich kids while their parents cast irritated glances whenever a child interupted their conversation. The daycare workers hauled the poor ones around by the arms of their oversized, hand-me-down jackets, plopped them into the swings and left the others to be chased about by a total stranger.
Eventually, the daycare kids left, which was good because I was exhausted from looking after them. Then the rich kids' nannies herded them to a shelter for the party as the parents walked casually in their direction.
I was left there, at 11:30 a.m., the only fulltime mother on the playground. I felt like a relic. And while I tried not to judge, I couldn't help but wonder about the hearts of people who put more pride in naming their kids than they do in raising them.
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