Have I ever told the story of Iris' name?
I liked it because it met my three criteria. Our child's name had to be:
1. Easy to spell;
2. Easy to pronounce (my own name being neither of the above); and
2. Unusual but not bizarre or un-heard-of. Bonus points for not having been in the top 100 names for at least 100 years... although I drew the line at naming her after my grandmother, Irma
. Somehow it was not too difficult to seperate my feelings for my grandmother from my feelings about her name.
For J, the name Iris met his sole criterion: derived from Greek literature. If we’d had a boy, my husband insists he'd have wanted to name him Telemachus (after Ulysses’ son in The Odyssey
). Fortunately I didn’t have to call his bluff, if it was a bluff (!!), on that one.
The reason I mention this at this particular moment is that Iris' third birthday is coming up and we have just done a 180 degree turn in planning her party theme. Totoro, the original plan, has been shelved in favor of her current passion, Greek goddesses.
That's right, Greek goddesses. Kind of a weird preoccupation for a preschooler, you might be thinking, but you wouldn't think that if you knew my husband.
J has loved Greek literature all his life – he dressed as Odysseus for Halloween when he was in the fourth grade
, people – and he is doing his best to pass on that love to his daughter. He is succeeding. So far he has been unable to find a children's book of Greek stories that is up to his exacting standards, so he tells Iris his own versions, glossing over the age-inappropriate parts with phrases such as "Medusa and Poseidon disrespected Athena in her own temple." (How long, though, before she starts demanding details about that, and how Clintonesque can J remain? I wonder.)
These stories have completely captured her imagination. She recasts them with her dolls and stuffed animals ("Mama, Daddy! Kiki fell from Mount O-woopus [Olympus]!"). Requests them night and day. And retells them in her own inimitable way at school, which I'm sure is a treat for her teachers. "Iris told an interesting story about Medusa," read her weekly report recently. Yes, I'll bet she did!
So, there's really no question as to what will make Iris happiest this birthday (not to mention her father). We'll be having a Greek goddess party for her in a little over a month. Time to get planning! But... what exactly does a Greek goddess party for preschoolers consist of? I must have missed that issue of Martha Stewart Kids. So far, here's what we've got:
Toga (though J disdains the word, preferring peplos
costumes for child guests to don over their clothes
Plaster of Paris model of Mount Olympus
Cake shaped and decorated like a Greek temple (some
trepidation on my part here)
Somehow outfitting her rocking horse with wings and
offering Pegasus rides
Greek food for grown-ups; capitulate on serving pizza for
And, well, here's where I could use your help. Greek goddess theme party ideas, anyone?
And even if you don't have any of those, how did you name your kid(s)?