Angry Baby’s given name is Valor.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in this almost TWO YEARS(!) being her parent it’s that:
1. A metric ton of people don’t know how to pronounce or spell Valor.
2. It’s a hard name for a toddler to just sputter out.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working on teaching her how to say her name, with some marginal success. She’ll say “Vvvvvvvvvvvvvvv” and chase it with a “lala,” and I count it.
About a month ago, Angry Baby was having a particularly “grimy” evening. She was running around the house in only a diaper. Her hair, face, and hands sticky with banana residue, desperately trying to escape the bath that awaited her.
She bolted to L4L the moment he walked through the backdoor, “DADA!!!!”
“Well hey there baby! Dang baby, you are filthy!” L4L exclaimed. She quickly burrowed into his lap, and in a moment of brilliance, he made an observation.
“You know, right now she looks like a”Jessie.”
I knew exactly what he was talking about.
Perhaps it’s the famous outlaw Jesse James, or the douchebag of today by the same name, but when I think of the name Jessie, it conjures up images of dirt clouds and truck stops.
Now before all the Jessies of the world start sending in hate mail, know this: I’m not talking about YOU. Jessie is a fine name.
Not all people named Jessie are rollerskating down to the quickie mart for a pack of Lucky Strikes. From Bayside High’s Jessie Spano to Jesse Jackson, there are plenty examples of the moniker doing right by its owners.
Which brings me back to Lover Fo’ Life and his keen observation.
At that moment, Angry Baby looked like she’d steal your beers and give you head lice in return. She literally looked just like the shirtless Tweaker in cutoffs who runs the local fireworks stand.
Jessie was born that day.
Over the next coupla weeks, anytime Angry Baby was dirty or running around in nothing but a diaper, we’d call her “Jessie.”
Just to set the new name off, I’d also make sure to use an outrageous southern accent whilst talking to “Jessie.” It usually went something like this:
“Geton ovuh heeah nah lil’ Jessie!” (get on over here now, little Jessie)
Did L4L and I laugh at our little Valor’s dirtbag alter-ego? Absolutely. Did we worry when she started answering to Jessie? Nope.
And then…in a twist everyone but us saw coming, Valor decided her preferred name was Jessie.
The first sign of trouble, happened while Angry Baby was visiting her granny.
“I Jessie!” she exclaimed.
The next morning, I was working on Valor pronunciation with her and asked, “What’s your name?”
“Jessie! Hahahahaha! Jessie!”
No, that’s not your name.
I’d like to take this portion of the post to explain that Angry Baby has roughly 502 nicknames. From “the Bean,” to “Butty Le Cheeks,” the list of absurd nicknames grows each week. So why did “Jessie,” her black-footed, trashy alter-ego stick? No clue.
Homegirl thinks it’s hilarious to go by Jessie. And now? anytime we call her name, her real name, She’s taken to correcting us.
“No, your name is Valor.”
“Jessie! Jessie! Jessie!”
As a supportive parent, all that’s left to do is embrace the lifestyle that Jessie has chosen.
If you need me, I’ll be at the go-kart track, barefoot and huffing easy cheese while my kid runs around naked with a switchblade. Don’t let your children come too close, Jessie’s likely to give ‘em ringworm.
Aaaand just because …YES I know the lyrics have nothing to do with an unwashed toddler who insists on calling herself Jessie. But I’ll use any excuse to embed a Rick Springfield video!