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Of Beanstalks and Boys

I had planned on re-dubbing Thing1, my twelve-going-on-twenty-year-old 'Goliath'. At the time, I was just getting used to reprimanding and rewarding my first born while looking up at him, and the name seemed to fit him. But despite his occasional flashes of teenaged angst and backtalk, my giant is a gentle one.


I've used pseudonyms for my boys, not so much out of fear of stalkers, but because I want them to have as much control over their identities online as I would want over mine. The stories I tell about them and the Big Guy are my vision of them, and someday they will want the chance to define themselves. But now, as Thing1 is evolving and daily declaring his independence, the nickname that fit him just a year ago, doesn't seem to do him justice.


I love the name we gave him. It's different. I wanted the nickname I gave him online to evoke the same feeling I have when I hear his given name. So I began running through a list of names, finding things that rhymed until I hit 'Jack'. Initially, I discarded it, continuously rattling off names as I shut the door to my office to let him Skype with his friends. I went across the hall to throw another load in the machine and while I continued the end-of-school project of sorting through hand-me-downs. As I was grumbling to myself about how much more expensive it was about to be to buy men's pants for my firstborn, I came back to the name Jack.


It's not particularly different, but suddenly it fit him. He has been growing like a proverbial string bean, but lately he's a bit more like Jack than the beanstalk. He's headed to overnight computer camp this summer. It's his first time away from family, but it's also the first time he's made his own choices about his education. He wanted to go to learn. He chose which course seemed most interesting. He's the one making decisions about how he'll finance and build a new computer.


This boy who has begun to thrive on challenge is so much more than a mischievous imp (although he's still that quite often). He's ready to make his own adventures. He's Jack.