That Sarah Palin –the running mate John McCain has chosen in the US presidential race in case you’ve been living in a cave over the past few days – sure is a busy woman. She has five children whilst also working as the governor of Alaska. Only a mere four months after the birth of her fifth child, who has Down’s Syndrome, she has undertaken to travel all over the US seeking people’s vote at the ballot box. Should McCain get elected, she’ll have to move her family to the other side of the country, presumably finding new schools for some of her kids half way through the school year. And now, it has been revealed, she’s about to become a grandmother, so she’ll have tonnes of bootees and cardigans to be knitting, whilst on the campaign trail. Phew! All that multi-tasking and she still looks pretty. When does the woman sleep?!
Clearly though, women can’t have it all. WE all know that. Something must fall through the cracks, and in Sarah Palin’s case she seems to have been guilty of gross neglect in contemplating what to call her children.
I imagine it went something like this. In labour with her first child, eight months after eloping with her childhood sweetheart, Sarah unloaded the dishwasher, while chatting to one of her ‘Feminists for Life’ friends on the phone, then looked out the window and said, ‘I’d better go Betty. The ambulance is coming up the track’. She hangs up and says to her husband Todd, ‘I know, if it’s a boy, I’ll call him Track.’ It could have been worse: her son now enlisted in the US Army could have been a girl called Ambulance.
On the birth of her second child, her husband gazed at his first daughter, and said, ’Darlin', she’s as tall as my pistol.’ In a post-partum haze, Sarah thought he said, ‘let’s call her Bristol’. Having had little time in her schedule to think about a names, she was frankly relieved that Todd had taken the initiative.
On the very day the Palins planted a willow tree in their front garden, they discovered that Sarah was with child once more. No faffing about once again, worrying about what to call the child; it was decided there and then to call the baby Willow. Thankfully, it was a girl.
During her fourth pregnancy, Sarah used to recite the tongue twister Peter Piper to her brood of three. As always, multitasking, she combined baby naming with child’s play by asking the children what they wanted to name the baby. ‘I think it should be Peter Piper,’ replied Willow. ‘Why yes,’ exclaimed Sarah, ‘if it’s a boy we’ll call him Peter.’ Instead she was blessed, with a baby girl called Piper.
The final child in the Palin family kicked Sarah good and hard in the stomach, as babies in utero tend to do, as she placed her finger on the trigger of her favourite rifle (she’s a life-long member of the National Rifle Association). She took this as a sign from God to name her second son Trigger. Trig for short.
Some say working mothers can have it all. They can even vie to become vice-president of the USA, and grandmothers too, before they hit their 45th birthday. But those of us who have tried to juggle work and childcare know that, in truth, something has to give. If only poor Sarah, had had the time to read the ‘Baby Names Book’ while in labour, instead of flying all over the place giving speeches while leaking amniotic fluid. Still it could have been worse. There could have been an Ambulance, Pistol, Peter, Tree, and Rifle Palin thinking about relocating to Washington. Or not.