A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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A Boy Named Chewbacca
February 10, 2015
Enough people have said to me me "oh, Chewie is such a cute nickname", that I feel I should clarify something. Chewbacca is not just a nickname. Chewbacca was at one point in time my son's legal name. I know that sounds crazy, because it is. But it's the truth. The full story goes like this:
About five years ago, before little Chewie was even a glimmer in our eyes, my husband lost a bet to his friend Andrew (or "Uncle Andrew" as we now call him), for naming rights to our unborn child. A couple of things that are important to know about my husband and Uncle Andrew. First, Andrew is a huge Star Wars fan and my husband is not. When Andrew found out that Chewie's dad reached the age of 25 without seeing Star Wars, (I know, it's like he was raised Amish), Andrew gave us copies of all three movies and we watched them immediately. It was actually pretty fun to watch my husband's mind get blown with so much awesomeness at once.
Second fact about my husband and Uncle Andrew: When Andrew lost a bet to my husband, Uncle Andrew honored the bet by running the Boston Marathon. So to say that these guys take their bets seriously is an understatement.
Although the bet for naming rights to our unborn child was lost 5 years ago, the minute I announced that I was pregnant, Andrew's first words were "well, I can't wait to meet Chewbacca Pearlson". I thought it was a cute joke and everyone would forget about it, so I laughed it off and didn't think anything else about it. But it turns out that if you don't know whether you're having a girl or a boy, everyone will call your unborn child something, and it turns out that it was really fun to call our little sea monkey Chewie. So, for the next 6 months, everything was about "I can't wait until Chewie shows up", "do you think Chewie will do X", "I bet Chewie would love Y", "no, Chewie is not going to have teeth immediately when he is born, what kind of question is that?"
Chewie did not stay a sea monkey forever, and ultimately was born at the end of December when there was nobody in labor and delivery. All inducements and elective C-sections were pushed back, and I think people just subconsciously tried to wait until after the holidays. My uterus was not so compliant. So when the woman who dealt with birth certificates showed up, she basically had no one else to deal with. She walked into our room, small-talked for a bit, and then asked us if we had a name picked out. My husband I both said yes. She then asked what it was, and the exact same time, I said one thing, and my husband said Chewbacca, and she said "should I come back?"
We then explained the story a bit to this poor woman who must've thought we were insane, and asked whether we were allowed to change the name before we left the hospital. Hot tip: turns out, if they're not busy, Massachusetts General Hospital will totally change your birth certificate. So, for about 6 glorious hours, Chewbacca Pearlson was legally named Chewbacca Pearlson.
See, you thought I was kidding. I was not kidding. This is his real birth certificate. As for what the middle name stands for? I will take that to the grave.
I told Chewbacca's dad that as long as we were leaving the hospital with the "real" birth certificate, I was fine with naming him Chewbacca. But of course, as I probably should have seen coming, over a year later, our family and friends still call him Chewie. This is of course, perpetuated by the fact that I still call him Chewie too, particularly here on the blog. I'm constantly asked by friends, day care staff, babysitters, and nannies whether we call our son by his full name or the shortened version of his name. And every time I reply "well, actually, we call him Chewie." Because, as much as I don't want to admit it, I think Chewbacca really is his real name. I mean, look at this kid. If he's not part wookie, I don't know who is.