Category: choosing the right name
By Abby Sandel
When it comes to naming, plenty of new parents hesitate. “What if she hates her name?” they ask.
We name strangers. There is an excellent chance that your child will find his name too ordinary/too weird/too traditional/too crunchy/too hard to spell/too something at some point.
But I am here to tell you that even if this happens – if your child so thoroughly dislikes the name you choose that she pursues a legal name change – you have not failed.
I’m one of those kids, one who disliked her name at five and 15 and 25, until I legally changed it as an adult.
My mother’s name is long, lovely, unusual. A family name dictated by custom. My given name is a rebellion against all that. Short, simple, very common. Easy to say and spell.
It turns out that I was meant to have her name; and she, mine.
My daughter is 17. I think she’s great. It’s not mutual. She is, after all, a teenager and as such holds me accountable for all the crimes I’ve committed against her over the years. These include just about everything I’ve done, everything I should have done and the various ways I embarrass her in public. It’s all very age appropriate, or so I tell myself, but there’s one offense she cites that I can’t shrug off:
I named her badly.
Elizabeth Stern Shepherd–Barron. That’s what we (my husband was co-conspirator) called her. This was our logic: Elizabeth, because it’s a classic that pays homage to two notable queens as well as one of the greatest heroines in literature — clever, funny, beautiful Elizabeth Bennett. For a middle name, an exciting concept for me as I don’t have one, we chose my maiden name, Stern, to remind her of half her heritage and to serve as a strong contrast to her last name, my husband’s double-barrelled Shepherd–Barron.
Ohio mom of two Kristen Hunger had an easy — make that ecstatic — experience naming her first two children, Colette and Weston, pictured above. But this time around? She can’t find a single name she loves….and she’s afraid she knows why.
It was bound to happen. After two pregnancies during which I fell madly, unwaveringly in love with two names, I find myself pregnant again. Except this time I’ve come down with a severe and I fear terminal case of Baby Name Desensitization Disorder.
What exactly is BNDD? It is when you not only feel unexcited by any and every name, but you also feel apathetic and numb to the whole naming process! The disorder is aggravated by my background as a nanny, childcare employee, Sunday school teacher and nursery coordinator at our church. I have heard every name and know someone – or know someone who knows someone – who’s used it. No matter what I do, I can’t find a name that excites me the way my daughter’s “Colette” or my son’s “Weston” did.
When I discovered their names, I was instantly ready to get everything monogrammed. I didn’t even look at other names or ask random people their opinions! It was so easy to envision Colette and Weston as spirited youths growing into successful and thriving adults. Holding steady jobs and contributing to society.
Our Question of the Week: Did you make a last minute name change once you met your baby?
Did it happen to you that after months of pondering, discussing, eliminating, perhaps sharing with other berries, you finally narrowed the options down to the name you loved most—and then oops—it just didn’t seem the right fit for your baby when she/he arrived?
Did you have an alternative choice in mind—or a whole list of names in reserve? Or did you have to go back to Square One?
Did you decide to stay with your original choice, knowing how much newborns can change?