Category: Grandma’s name opinions
The question of the week: how honest are you about names?
In all of our books and here on nameberry, Linda and I are dedicated to telling parents that their baby’s name is their choice and theirs alone, that they should tune out well-meaning relatives and friends and, yes, even strangers who criticize a name they love.
But what about when expectant parents ask for advice about names? What about when they ask you? Do you tell them what you really think, or do you keep your harsher opinions to yourself?
Denizens of the nameberry forums are often experts at the diplomatic response to names they’re not crazy about. “Not my style,” is one very nice way of signaling thumbs down about a name.
Some people say that, when asked, you should give your honest opinion on name possibilities before the baby is born, but stifle yourself once the name has already been chosen.
Others say that negative opinions on names, no matter when or by whom or in what tone they’re offered, are always offensive.
What do YOU think? C’mon, now, tell us the truth…be honest.
Journalist Laura Dunphy, today’s guest blogger, enlightens us on what might not be so bad about your Mom hating your baby’s name.
My mother hates my daughter’s name.
And – don’t tell her this, please – I think it’s made me a better person.
My husband and I always thought that if we had a girl we’d call her Sophie Madeline. But when I was expecting our daughter, we decided we’d rather balance the growing popularity of Sophie with a more distinctive French name in the middle: Mireille.
When we officially announced the arrival of Sophie Mireille, my poshest friends raved. “What a lovely, very French-sounding name!” my globetrotting European pal Beatriz enthused. “Mireille is a fantastic, seriously underused name,” said Ann, an editor at a major entertainment magazine. My former boss Michelle, a retail executive who is always fabulously attired and never hands out an insincere compliment, gushed endlessly about how much she loved it. Oh, the delight!
Leave it to my mother to put an end to my glee. As we sat chatting around the dinner table one night, she mentioned that a family friend’s daughter, Zoe, was being called Zozo. I scrunched my face and asked, “Zozo? What kind of a nickname is that? It’s not even shorter than the original name.” To which my mother replied, “I don’t think you should be saying anything about anyone’s name.”
Stunned, I asked for an explanation, only to be informed that Mireille was not a real name. I believe my mother’s exact words were, “It’s horrible. We hate it.” My father nodded in solemn agreement. Apparently at some point over the course of the previous decade, I’d mentioned the name Sophie Madeline, and my parents had gotten attached to their vision of a fantasy granddaughter. As in, one with a name they had heard of before.