The music teacher, Ms. Margaret, had already started her lesson when Ting Ting and I arrived the other day.
"Good morning, Ting Ting!" said Ms. Margaret.
Ting Ting stared at her.
"My name is Rachel," she said.
"Oh," said Ms. Margaret. "I know your name is Rachel, but I thought we called you Ting Ting."
"My name is Rachel," repeated my daughter.
Ms. Margaret and Ms. Kathryn looked at . . . Rachel . . .and looked at me. I shrugged.
"News to me," I said.
That night at dinner I asked her about it.
"Do you want us to call you Rachel?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"Can we call you Ting Ting sometimes?"
"No. I don't like Ting Ting," she said.
So I said, "well, Mama and Daddy picked the name Rachel for you because we think it's a beautiful name. I'm happy you want us to call you that. But I might forget sometimes and call you Ting Ting, so please give me time to get used to it, OK?"
Lance negotiated his own deal.
"Can I still call you Tingsters?" he asked.
She thought it over then gave him a thumbs up. He gave her a thumbs up. They both laughed.
The next morning when I took her to her classroom, I said, "Goodbye, Ting Ting."
The little boy sitting next to her looked up at me and said, sweetly, "Her name Rachel."
We called our daughter Ting Ting at first because it's the nickname for her original name (now her middle name), and we wanted to be consistent at a time when her whole world was being turned upside down. We have kept calling her that because it's unique, true to her history, and, well, it just seems to fit.
And, after all, it's her name.
I always figured that we'd switch her to Rachel eventually, although leaving Shu-Ting as her middle name gives her the option to use it if she prefers.
When I think about it logically, those are the things I think about. But when she told me the other day that she wants to be called Rachel instead of Ting Ting, I just wanted to cry, "don't grow up so fast!"
I mean, I figured we could call her Ting Ting at least until she started medical school.
For the record, she has never once corrected me when I called her Ting Ting, and she still refers to herself that way most of the time. It's hard to know whether she's serious about being called Rachel or if was just a whim.
But she's the boss. We'll follow her lead.