Baby Name Backlash: When your kid hates her name…
When my husband and I had our first child thirteen years ago, choosing her name was one of the easiest decisions we made. We struggled more with the paint color of her nursery and which diapers we’d go with than her name. I knew that I wanted to use Maura somewhere in there but I wasn’t adamant that it had to be in the first name slot. We casually tossed around a few names that we liked, a couple that we didn’t hate and several that were absolutely off the table.
One day, my husband mentioned Juliet which I knew instantly was going to be our sweet wee girl’s name. Only, I wanted to spell if Juliette as it seemed a bit more feminine and I liked that it was a tad longer next to our short, masculine last name Wood. So that was it. It was very casual and stress-free and done.
I did consider that she may be teased as she grew older about the Romeo and Juliet association, but, really, that seems like a pretty awesome thing to be teased about to me. I can think of about a thousand worse things to be made fun of for… like the guy I went to high school with named Richard Head. When several of the boys in our school realized that Dick is a nickname for Richard…sheesh. I felt awful for him. A name used in a Shakespeare play seemed pretty benign, if not totally cool, to me.
Fast forward to her fifth grade year and that’s when the first Romeo and Juliet reference was made. It didn’t seem to bother her until she started hearing it nearly daily. In the past year, she’s mentioned to me several times that she ‘hates’ her name. She’s asked the questions- how old does she have to be to legally change it and will we pay for it since we saddled her with this burden in the first place? I’ve asked her why, exactly she “hates” her name other than the Shakespeare thing.
She hates how long it is, she thinks it’s just an “ugly” name, people constantly think she’s saying Julie or Julia which she feels are both “old lady” names. Saying the name Juliette “feels weird in her mouth” and that it sounds like “Chewliette” like, she’s going to chew something and that the name, overall, makes her feel stabby.
It makes me sad, y’all. I love her and I love her name. Honestly, it’s still my favorite of all of our 6 kid’s names. I cannot imagine her name being anything else. With the names of some of our other kids, I have, at times, felt a bit name regret when their moniker when it became much more popular than I expected or their personality didn’t end up “matching” their names so much. I can imagine calling them by different names but they’re the ones who’ve never questioned their names and have never expressed any dislike.
Our Juliette likes the names Rose, Ruby, Wren, Naomi and Lucia. Happily, those are lovely names and they’ve all been on our list with every kid. I would not be heart broken if she chose any one of those.
I suppose if, when she’s 18, she still wants to pursue changing her name, we’ll support her. Maybe we’ll even pay half of the cost. Until then, I’m going to hold my breath and hope that this is just a phase she’s going through…just like her aversion to sunlight or eating anything that has any nutritional value whatsoever.