So, a random memory popped into my head today and I thought I’d share. It happened shortly after we chose a name for our foster daughter whom we were getting ready to adopt. Up to that point, she had been affectionately called “Baby Girl” by everyone.
So, Baby and I are shopping at the grocery store in the freezer section and we run into a lady we know from church. She asks, “What middle name did you give her?” And I reply, “Fleurette.” The lady wrinkles her forehead. “Did you say ‘floret’?” And that’s when it hits me- we were naming our daughter after a vegetable! After a small panic attack and a bout of doubt, we decided to press on with the name we had selected for Baby because, honestly, Fleurette has a lot of significance for us.
Baby came to live with us at 5-½ months old as a foster child. You never realize how much a small thing like moving into a new house with total strangers can affect a person so young. This sweet 11 pound girl who supposedly slept all night would suddenly sleep no longer than an hour at a time. The nights were long and challenging, but that wasn’t the worst part. That came when I realized a few days into caring for Baby that she would not look at me, her new mother, who loved her and hoped to God to be able keep her for the rest of her life. She would not look at me for a month and a half. I could put my face right in front of hers and make all kinds of sounds to get her attention and, instead, she’d roll her eyes around looking every which other way and crane her head back so she didn’t have to see me. I think that was her way of denying the fact that the only mother she’d ever known (an amazing foster mother who loved her deeply) was gone from her life forever. It was her tiny way of not accepting her circumstances.
It was hard to accept that I was not a source of comfort for my Baby. I could not calm her crying, nor could I make her giggle.
But, there were a few comforts that my baby girl sought out. One was her big brothers. Since birth, she’d known these two big goofballs who jumped around heron the floor beside her, waved their hands in her face, talked loudly, and laughed every time she did something funny. Anytime she sensed their presence, she turned her head, looking for them and smiling.
There was another comfort that was as, or more, important than her bros. Her former foster mom told me emphatically that I needed to keep a certain pink blankie within arms reach of my sweet girl at all times. She was right. My baby needed her blankie when she was 5-½ months old- and she still needs it today.
There was also the paci, which this baby had to have in her mouth at all times. I never realized the strange connection between breast feeding a baby and the ability to comfort a baby, but I realized it at that point and, truth be told, I was a little jealous of that paci and the fact that my lady lumps were all for show but good for nothing else.
But, even these 4 comforts could not trump the one, ultimate baby comfort. Actually, I’m not sure how much of a comfort this thing was for her, but this distraction never failed to turn her cries into laughter, so I rate it at the top of her list of comfort items. It was a Vtech flower toy that played songs and lit up. It’s number one hit single with the lyrics, “I’m a happy little flower. I like to smile. I like to giggle,” topped the musical charts in our household. Everyone was singing it. Even if you hated the tune, you couldn’t help but run in search of this toy’s magical powers anytime Baby became the slightest bit fussy.
So, why did we eventually name her Fleurette? Because it means “little flower” in French and, no, we’re not French-speaking people, but it was the language in which a single word meaning “little flower” sounded the most beautiful. It was such a fitting name for our little girl, who blossomed with her new family- and new mother- and who became the epitome of “happy little flower” that we nearly made it her first name. Instead, we chose a variant of Emily that few people pronounce or spell correctly. Sorry, Baby Girl! You’re just destined for unusual names!