Yesterday, my five-year old spent part of the afternoon in Clock Town, a fictional village in Nintendo's classic game Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. She mostly just ran around and hit stuff with her sword: doors, trees, villagers. It made me realize two things. One, I should have taken her to the playground. Two, I made the right decision in naming her Zelda. We had been nervous about the name, as it outed us as the giant video-game dorks that we really are (and is there really anything wrong with being outed as who you are?), but it soon proved to be a crowd pleaser. Immediately, really. When we first took her to the NICU, her nurse was waiting for us, excited to meet her first Zelda.
We had told the nurse, as we tell everyone, that when we saw her tiny Betty-Boop chin, we just had to give her a 20s-style name. And for 20s-style names, we could only think of Daisy and Zelda. Being gamers we, of course, could never give our beautiful daughter the name Daisy. (It's hard to explain.) So we owned our dorkitude and gave her the name that connotes at once a beloved video game franchise and a flapper who died in the crazy house. With no regrets.
However, after learning that her cleft-palate and small chin and short tongue were all part of a birth *blergh* defect called Pierre Robin Sequence (pronounced Pee-air Roh-ban. It's French, bitches.), I was slightly bummed to know that her vintage look was not handed down from me, or even my husband, but was due to the fact that her embryonic self had gotten all comfy in the womb, with her chin tucked onto her chest and her tongue on the roof of her mouth. But only slightly. I had enough to worry about what with finding a cleft-palate bottle that would keep the baby fed and happy, not cause gas and could not be used as a formula squirt gun by said baby (as Meatloaf once eloquently, and possibly drunkenly, said, two out of three ain't bad).
And it seemed like as soon as she had graduated from formula to pizza, we had a whole other problem to worry about: speech. Since before she began to speak, she's had speech therapists. (She had more speech therapists than she had bottles, and she had a lot of bottles.) None of them, not even the cranio-facial team that managed to keep her fed and breathing (with the help of an oxygen tank that looked more like it belonged between Slim Picken's legs than next to the crib), had any idea why her speech was so *blergh* BAD. And now we need to worry about how long into the grammar school experience kids will be pointing at her and saying, "She sounds like she speaks Japanese."
We're hoping before second grade (or the age when all our adorable little sweeties turn into tortuous little monsters), but at our last visit to the Cranio-Facial clinic (after yet another head X-Ray, that Zelda decided to color pink because she must have pink bones) our hopes were tempered when they told us that the problem would either be solved with therapy or surgery, but they didn't know which and we should "hang in there". And like the proverbial kitten in the tree, that's what we've been doing.
The next day I came home from pre-k drop off to find my husband weepy and emotional. Big, manly tears of masculinity, I'm sure. I immediately blamed Facebook. Rightly so. He informed me that he had been crying for ten minutes straight about this video:
Yep. Big manly tears. I even shed a couple myself. A stupid video game commercial, yes but one that shows that Robin's (pronounced Raw-bin, it's American byatches) little baby Zelda (and proof of his own dorkitude) has grown into a beautiful young woman and even more beautifully into her name.
"Well this will cheer you up," I said. "Zelda took the pictures of her cleft and her head X-Ray to pre-school today. She asked her new speech therapist to help her tell everyone about how she was born with a cleft palate and how she couldn't suck when she was a baby and how her tongue was on the roof of her mouth when she was in my tummy."
"She's owning it," He gasped. More manly tears.
This morning, for Father's Day, even though she can't really pronounce "daddy", Zelda will be making her daddy pancakes and showing him how to play her new game: Link to the Past. There might be more manly tears.