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The Most Famous Little Girl in the World

The first time Cali met the ChickieNob, she jokingly told her that she was staring because it was like seeing a unicorn.  When we got home, the ChickieNob asked me if there were people out there who knew her even though she didn’t know them.

And we had a little talk about how I sometimes tell small stories about her, though never embarrassing ones, and I limit how much information I give about her because she is entitled to a boatload of privacy if she wants it.  I explained that this was how sometimes people knew her when it was the first time meeting them, and how they didn’t really know her, per se, they knew a story about her.  I asked her if it bothered her that her parents write about her from time to time and she shook her head.  The topic was sort of dropped.

This week, I heard her telling other kids that she’s famous.  That she’s a star; that thousands of people read about her every day and they get excited to meet her.  I pulled her aside and asked her what being famous meant to her.  Why she was even excited to believe that she’s famous.

And with eyes shining brightly, and the largest, most hopeful smile plastered across her face, she cried, “it means that I get to be the guest host on the Muppet Show!  Because they always have a famous guest!”

There was a gentle discussion about how the Muppet Show went off the air in 1981, and how they don’t really count the offspring of bloggers as “famous,” and how she might never get to hear Kermit announce, “and our very special guest…CHICKIENOB!”

This was a massively disappointing discovery for someone who thought she just might be the most famous little girl in the world.

But it did raise the question amongst friends this weekend about how much we write about our kids, how much we write about our spouses, or other family members.

How do we determine where our story ends and their story begins?  And at what age would you change the way you write about a person–are you as circumspect in writing about a three month old as you are about a three year old as you are about a thirteen year old?  Do you ask people before you write about them?


1 Orodemniades { 04.12.10 at 1:54 pm }

Hmm, that’s a tough call. Questions to which i have no answers, save to say that though I guess I’ll know where that line is when I come to it? I have put a couple of pics of the Chieftain on TLU, but only from behind as I won’t show his face for his privacy. Also, I’m paranoid. Our real names are (mostly) not on the Internet (not even on the Facebook).

Have you ever seen that ad, the one where the couple just can’t seem to get away from it all no matter where they go in the world, and finally we the viewer see them sunning on a tropical beach, looking at their phones before putting them down again, and then the VO comes in with this ridiculous statement about either some holiday company or some stupid phone answering service or for some island country? When all they need to do to ‘get away from it all’ is turn off their phone? No? Well, that whole ad is the reason why I don’t want our names on the net…I want us to be able to turn off and tune out, I want us to feel safe from the world looking over our shoulders, to be secure knowing that only a few people online actually know where we live and what we look like.

Then again, I am also paranoid.

2 Mrs. Gamgee { 04.12.10 at 2:14 pm }

My Beloved knows that I write about him, and when I write about friends and other family members I try to keep it as non-identifiying as possible. As for our future child(ren), I don’t know yet. Like me and my Beloved, I won’t use their real names, but pictures? I’m not sure yet.

3 a { 04.12.10 at 2:17 pm }

I don’t really write about people much. I live with someone who does not like to share his personal information, and so that has limited what I can say about him and anyone related to him. Therefore, this doesn’t come up too much.

4 Miriam { 04.12.10 at 2:43 pm }

Very thoughtful question and a really touching story. I walk a weird line: my friends and family know I blog, sometimes about them, but I keep my blog anonymous. So far, I’ve never encountered any criticism for mentioning family or friends, but I also choose my words carefully about what exactly I do share on the internet. I’ve also always wrestled with the idea of sharing our IF story with our future child. Honestly, the idea of asking them never occurred to me… it certainly has me thinking now!

5 Calliope { 04.12.10 at 2:50 pm }

I know it is wrong, but I Looooooooooove that her measure for famous-ocity involves the Muppets.

I think I will probably always share stories and photos of W because right now his story and my story are totally wrapped around each other. He is pretty much my whole world. I imagine once he gets older and starts to have his own story that I will dial down the sharing.

When it comes to writing about other people I try to ask/ let them know ahead of time. Or in the case of my Mother (I write about her weekly, at least) I actually let her read the post before I publish it.

When I wrote about my Grandmother I let her know in whatever way I felt she would understand. She actually told me one day that she hoped that my writing would help other people understand Alzheimer’s. And I honestly hope it did.

(oh- and I am actually really glad that I chronicled so much of W’s first year because soooooo much of it was a bit of a blur.)

6 Kir { 04.12.10 at 2:58 pm }

well anyone who’s been to my blog, knows me, has seen pics of me, my husband and the boys. But there are not THOUSANDS (LOL) so um, I guess I will start asking if I can tell stories, once I think they can understand privacy. I always ask John about what I can and cannot post…and there are some things that are very personal, that I really want to write about but because of his feelings and mine I don’t because there have to be some things that are just “ours” …while it would make me feel better to share them and ask for advice and know that I would not get any judgement from all my wonderful blogger friends, it’s things that really should just be between us and that is where I draw the line.

this will give me lots to think about…Chickienob will always be FAMOUS to me, even meeting YOU would be akin to meeting someone famous for me. Her day in the sun is not over yet. 🙂

7 Heather { 04.12.10 at 3:24 pm }

My daughter found out there was no Santa Claus because of me. Because her little smart self googled my blog and she read the entry where I told the world how I bought the Santa Evidence Kit and blah blah blah….

Also, I quit putting pictures of the kids up when my mother in law started stealing the pictures and putting them on her facebook page.

Also, the people I write about usually have fictitious names unless:
A) they know I am writing about them,
B) I dislike them so bad, I will throw them under the bus.

I’m kind hearted like that.

And, for the record, I want ChickieNob to host the muppet show. Take her to Disney so she can meet Kermit.

8 Kymberli { 04.12.10 at 3:26 pm }

I wrote openly about my kids – no psudonymns – from the time that I started my blog. I limit myself to only the things I know they’ll look back on and find humorous. I write the things I want them to remember fondly. I always ask if it’s okay if I write a story about them and what it will say *before* I write it, and they look forward to seeing what people have to say about their antics.

9 Wishing4One { 04.12.10 at 3:42 pm }

I mention people on my blog, not many really, but they have no clue. Well Super S knows that I write about him, but he does not even know my blog url, LOL. I show him certain posts sometimes but I think he feels and has allowed me my blog as an outlet a personal space and is cool with that. Oh my cats know I write about them and they love it. Your daughters comment is priceless, waay too cute!!!

10 jodifur { 04.12.10 at 9:08 pm }

someone recently told me 5 is the limit. I’m not sure how they came up with that answer. Michael just turned 5. I guess only you can decide.

11 Jen { 04.12.10 at 9:51 pm }

I think I’ll know that line when we get there. I’ve always written about our son with his real name, same as my husband and myself. I have a little graphic at the bottom of my blog, and just have us labeled, the “M” Family. It started off as a blog that friends and family read, now we’ve done IComLeavWe, and had flyers up for fundraisers that had the site on it. I do include pictures but not of anyone other than family or friends who have given me permission. I write about funny things with our son, or touching things. I write about discussions I have with people but tend to leave their name out most of the time, and if I know that they know my blog address and check it, I will try to tone down what I have to say and not be outright about how I feel. I am extremely outspoken when I’m upset, so I really have to control what I write at times. I wrote once about my grandmother who has dementia, but nothing bad.

I’ll know the line when I get there.

12 Lavender Luz { 04.12.10 at 11:11 pm }

I’ve always been circumspect about it, but even more so as my children grow.

I would love to see ChickieNob hosting the 2015 version of The Muppets or doing ballet on stage between Jonas Brothers songs.

13 Kristin { 04.13.10 at 1:20 am }

Hmmm, it all varies as to who I am talking about and their level of tolerance. For example, I’ll take a story about my 13 yr old being a royal pain in the ass and make it a bit funny but I will never tell a story that will just embarrass him even if it’s funny as hell. One of my sisters wouldn’t care if I posted the goofiest video in the world of her but the other would. I don’t have a hard fast rule but I try to be thoughtful and consider the individual before I post something.

14 luna { 04.13.10 at 2:02 am }

I’m pretty leery about saying too much about our daughter, and her story involves others who deserve their privacy too. I do share some photos, on occasion, but not her name or detailed stories.

sometimes I wish I could share more about my hub and issues arising in our life, but I usually ask first and there are just too many topics that would be over-sharing or inappropriate under the circumstances. plus he reads along.

15 Terry Elisabeth { 04.13.10 at 5:56 am }

I write a blog about myself in my world…not about the people in my world so I don’t ask people before I write about them and I don’t write their full name either. Sometimes I write an initial, sometimes it’s a nickname. And sometimes when I reread my stories…I don’t know who I’m talking about.
I don’t have kids but I would still write them in my stories, the same way I write my boyfriend and friends in there, and my family. I would make sure my teens don’t discover my blog though.

16 queenie { 04.13.10 at 6:00 am }

I am very careful about posting identifying information, and never post photographs. For me, it has to do with internet safety. I think setting privacy concerns aside, most people are not careful enough from a safety perspective. On the privacy front, as long as there isn’t identifying information, I tend to vent about whatever is on my mind. That’s why I blog. Sure, there is some stuff I won’t blog about, but if my MIL is driving me crazy, I’ll blog about it. It would defeat the purpose otherwise, because I blog to work thrpough things. But, the anonymity gives me the comfort that MIL will likely never find my blog, let alone read it. People IRL don’t lnow I blog, so it’s not like they’re following along.

So, that’s how I deal with the issue.

17 Hope in Briarrose { 04.13.10 at 8:52 am }

LOL. The guest star on the muppet show! how cute is that?

I write about my whole family. That is why I like being anonymous. Nobody that I know IRL knows the things I say about them good or bad except for my bloggie friends. I kind of like it that way because I am more honest in my writing.

18 Allison { 04.13.10 at 3:20 pm }

Hmm… interesting question. Hubby doesn’t know I blog. He’d probably shrug and say “whatever, weirdo” if I tried to explain the blogging community. And mostly my blog is a bunch of drivel. The stories I tell about Hubby are of the “sigh, men” variety – nothing identifying or overly personal.

I use my real first name because until I was 8, I thought I was the only Allison in the whole world. Yes, really. All of it. I’ve always been at least a little narcissistic, and what’s a blog if not an exercise in having a healthy dose of narcissism?

19 loribeth { 04.13.10 at 7:25 pm }

I would love to see The Muppet Show make a comeback. Having ChickieNob join the cast would be icing on the cake. ; )

20 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 04.13.10 at 10:21 pm }

On BabySmiling, I don’t ask permission but also don’t use identifying info. Because of that, it’s no holds barred.

On my non-IF blogs that use my real name, everyone knows that everything is fair game. I do ask before posting a picture of someone, esp. of someone’s kids, the first time around. My depiction of people on those blogs, including ourselves, is honest but it’s also not the full truth.

I’ve had at least one Thoughtful Thursday about the other questions you asked, when I was pregnant and had no idea how I should/shouldn’t depict my future children online.

21 Briar { 04.15.10 at 12:52 pm }

I’ll make an effort to think twice before sharing when he hits maybe 4 or 5. But even after that, to some extent, this was the hand he was dealt. He was unlucky enough to be born the child of a blogger/writer. We all have things to unpack in therapy and perhaps that will be one of his.

GMB eventually made it clear that he knew about my blog and perhaps had read it, and at that point I almost totally stopped writing about him. But he was about 16.

Almost anything about Wes is up for grabs – there are a few limitations we have hashed out, but for the most part, we both agreed when we met that anything that happened was writing fodder for either one of us. So since we both went in with that understanding, there have been few problems.

22 Bea { 04.18.10 at 5:18 pm }

Using non-identifying information makes it easier. Being pwp makes it easier. I would be wary of writing about someone by their real, full name without permission. I don’t think you go overboard, though.


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