As you may have guessed, “Boogie” is not my son’s real name. It’s a nickname that I gave him when he was just a few weeks old.
“E-Baby Boogie Boy” randomly came to me as I was changing his diaper one day. As the years went by, it got shortened to just Boogie. And it fits. I figured if he ever wanted to be a rapper, he was good to go. I’m not raising a “'lil” anything.
Boogie’s real name is Elaiwe and it is awesome. It came to me in a dream and I found out what it meant later. I was extra careful with the spelling so that it wouldn’t be butchered at roll call. No wayward apostrophes or dashes leaping out of nowhere. E-L-A-I-W-E. That’s it.
I was pleased with myself until Boogie's very first doctor’s visit. We were sitting in the waiting room when the nurse opened the door and called out, “Elaine.” Crap.
A few months ago, Boogie came to me with a serious request.
“Mom,” he said, “I want to change my name.”
I was completely thrown off. “I thought you loved your name!”
“I do.” He nodded emphatically.
“So... why do you want to change it?”
“Because I came up with a better name!” He was so excited that I was at least willing to hear him out.
“OK. What do you want to change it to?”
My son paused for dramatic effect and then yelled, “Justin Bieber!” in his ta da voice.
“What? You want to change your name to Justin Bieber?”
“No. I want to change my middle name to Justin Bieber.”
“I want my name to be Elaiwe JustinBieber Ikpi.”
Boogie LOVES Justin Bieber. LOVES HIM. I mean, loves him like when he’s saying his alphabet, he says, “H is for House. I is for igloo. J is for Justin Bieber...”
He told my mother that his three favorite humans (he calls celebrities "humans." I have no idea why) are, “Michael Jackson, Jesus and Justin Bieber.” Yes, you read that right.
This afternoon, I sat on my bed doing serious work on my iPad or playing Angry Birds. Let’s not get distracted by details. Boogie sat at my desk watching JB videos on Youtube. He was quietly transfixed for half an hour as The Beebs stood on various cliffs and walked on various beaches singing about various loves that he’s lost or whatever.
Once I’d had enough of Justin, I looked up prepared to tell Boogie it was time to go do something else. That's when I saw that my child has tears running down his face. I leapt into action.
"E! What’s wrong?" I hugged him and he started sobbing hysterically.
“I miss Kanke so much!”
Kanke is my little sister and E’s best friend in the world. She is not dead. She's not away at war. She lives in New Jersey.
“OK. But what does that have to do with Justin Bieber?” I was confused at the connection.
Boogie buried his face in my neck and said, “It reminds me of her. We used to watch Justin Bieber videos.” Somehow the Bieber videos are a sort of emotional trigger when it comes to the special relationship my son and sister share.
Basically, Justin Bieber is Boogie’s Adele.
I get it. I’ve been listening to Adele for the last few days myself. I’m not going through any particular heartbreak right now but Adele is a trigger. Next thing you know, I’m downing a bottle of wine lamenting how Jeff Haliburton in the sixth grade never loved me. So I get it.
I just don’t get why BOOGIE likes him so much. I understand the screaming fan-girling Beliebers but what in Justin’s name is my five-year-old so attached to?
One day, Boogie didn’t know who Bieber was and then the next day, Boogs is walking around the house belting, “Baby” at the top of his lungs. Whether or not I joined him is immaterial but from then on, he was on a bullet train to obsessed fan.
Boogie doesn't understand why I’m not friends with Justin Bieber and was more than a little disgusted with me when I told him I'd never met him. Boogie wants to go to his house. He wants to play xBox Kinnect with him. He hates Jaden Smith because he was in both the Karate Kid AND in a video with Justin. He loves Selena Gomez because she gets to hang out with Justin. I’m not sure how that works in his head but this is serious business.
I’m sure he’ll get over it eventually and be understandably embarrassed someday. I, on the other hand, will never forget. I have a recording of him singing “Somebody to Love” into my phone which I plan on using very strategically in his teenage years.
I don’t have anything against The Biebs. I think he’s a nice, safe, harmless pop star for the kids to like. I mean, I had Tevin Campbell. But the commitment my son has! It's something special. So, I'm not worried or anything, just curious. Did anyone else have a platonic "human" crush in Kindergarten?