Monday, August 27, 2012

hey you... kid

As I mentioned in my last post -- a long time ago -- we are super happy with the daycare we chose for our kids. We still are. And I'd still recommend it to people. The last few times I've left her, Natalie has cried for me at the door. She hasn't done that since we left Old School, but I think it has something to do with neither of her regular teachers being in her room at drop off.

But that isn't the problem.

The problem is that one of Natalie's teachers cannot pronounce her name correctly only pronounces her name correctly about 25% of the time. Most of the time, Ms. M pronounces it "ne-la-dee" (rhymes with melody). Ms. M is a fantastic teacher and caregiver otherwise. She talks beautifully, but with a very obvious accent. I believe she's Jordanian. When she pronounces Natalie's name correctly, it sounds like Nedalie, which is fine. A name that is pronounced correctly with an accent is perfectly okay with me, and in fact I'd expect it.

I work pretty closely with a woman of Indian ethnicity. Natalie's Papa George is full-blooded Irish. And Matt and I have traveled enough separately and together that we consider ourselves to be pretty darn culturally-minded individuals. (That's not really a term. I just made it up. You know what I mean though, right? :) I mean, we're taking the kids to England and France in just two weeks (omigosh, two weeks already?! so much to do!!). We intend to expose them to as much culture as possible. It would be irresponsible of us to teach Natalie that everyone will talk, look, or believe the same way she does.

But recently, Natalie has mispronounced her own name. She started out joking that her name was Neladie. When I said lightly, "That's not your name silly goose. What's your name?" She tripped over it. She's known her name for a long time, but she tripped over it because she was calling herself Neladie. She's done that twice in the last month or so. Not a lot, I'll grant you.

Sometimes I lightly ask her, "That's not your name, who calls you that?"
To which she replies, "Ms. M calls me that."
"And what do you say when Ms. M calls you Neladie?"
"I say 'my name NAtalie'."
That's right you do.

I mentioned to the director of the daycare that Ms. M was mispronouncing Natalie's name, and she implied that I was judging Ms. M based on her ethnicity. She literally said to me, "Just because she talks a little bit differently, I want you to know that she's one of my very best teachers."

I'm getting hot-headed and I don't want to. I hate drama, and I don't want to get on the bad side of Natalie's teachers or the administration. I need help. Should I pursue this? Should Natalie -- at age 2 -- have to correct her own teacher? Should I let it go or make it a lesson about how we are all unique? I need help.