Friday, August 29, 2008

What's in a name???

Naming your kids. Not an easy thing for most of us. I was lucky. With both my kids, as soon as I knew what sex they were going to be, I knew what their name was going to be. Mostly because I had picked them out a few years earlier.

A few months ago, I wrote this post.
I forgot to mention in this post that many years before, I had discussed that name with my friend and she said she liked it, and I said I didn't. And we had discussed it a few other times. So, I wasn't expecting them to change it. Just was in "I can't believe she really did it" mode.

Names are very personal, and while we all have a right to name our kids what we want to, I sometimes really want to shake some parents and ask them where their common sense has gone. I feel like I can talk about this, having a name that is not common, and having to have dealt with unending questions about "how do you spell that?", "how did they come up with that name?", not to mention getting made fun of. Not only was my first name a different type of name, my last name really didn't do much to rectify the situation. I was voting for a king/queen thing in high school. And at the table where they were marking off that you were voting, a teacher I had never had, told me that if I ever became famous that I wouldn't have to change my name. I think he meant it as a compliment, but I didn't really appreciate it. I have never enjoyed having a "different" name. When all the other kids had things with their name on them, you would never find my name. And the "nicknames" that other kids would call me, when they were really making fun of me. When I got into high school, it was a bit easier because we were a highly diverse school. So the kids from India and Pakistan all had weirder names than I did. One poor guy had the first name of Vipol. Imagine what teenage boys did with that one.

I feel very bad for the people that were born in a different country, and then come here, where their name just sounds horrible. For example, poor Nastia Luikin. I wondered why her parents would name her that, but then found out she was born in Russia. And there were several other kids at my high school that had very cultural names, but many of them had parents that came from a different country, or the child was born there. And I can kind of understand that. What I don't understand is perfectly normal, American parents naming their kids these crazy things. And usually the parents have pretty average common names. Which means they have no idea what it's like to have a "different" type of name. When I think of names for my kids, I think of all the possible ways other kids could make fun of it, of possible nicknames, and of them being able to choose what they are called. My parents have average names, and boy did they choose doozies for me and my sister. The rest of our family has somewhat normal names. And what about those that name their kids normal names, but spell it some crazy way. Like Kamryn. Or Sydni. I mean, seriously. Why torture your kids?

Growing up, I knew some large families that had some strange patterns for naming their kids. One had more than six kids and every one of the kids had the initials J.E.T. Another family had nine kids and all the names started with K. Some people we met in Germany did it alphabetically. Starting with A. And they were all girls with more of the unisex most mostly male names. And you know, there really isn't anything wrong with any of that. I just don't understand why you would want all the pressure to find those names that fit within that very small catagory. I have a friend who has a different kind of theme, one that people won't instantly see. She has a double letter in her name and so does her husband. So do both of their kids. They are currently looking for another one for their next kid. But they don't name their kids crazy and weird things or add another letter to the name to make it fit and screw up the real spelling of the name.

I try REALLY hard to be respectful and not tell people what I really think of their name choices for their kids. But I don't believe in pretending that I LOVE it, and oh, what a beautiful name. I just keep my mouth shut and say nothing. But inside I'm cringing at the future of that kid as they get made fun of. I guess my thought process is, kids find so many things to make fun of each other with, why give them one more by giving them some crazy name???

I feel really bad for the people that have horrible last names. My brother knew a guy with the last name of Philapeanus. How horrible would that be. I can't think of any others right now, but there are plenty of them.

Whats my point? Who knows. I just know how I feel about my "different" name, and what lies in store for these kids that show up to school with the name of Cherry. Or a boy with the name of Shannon. Or a girl with the name of Micheal. Or when celebrities name their kids something like this. I just don't get it.


MommyK said...

My name is unusual. I hated it as a kid because I was also very shy and I hated correcting people when they said it wrong.

Now I am an adult and I love not being one of a thousand Jennifers or Sarahs or Christines. And although we are American, we gave our daughter an Irish name and considered some that are VERY Gaelic because my husband's family is of Irish descent. If there were decent (IE pronouncable) Polish names, we would have considered those. I love it when people choose ethnic names for their kids. A whole country full of Michaels and Marys would be boring as hell.

Fort Skinner said...

I know what sparked this post.
When we named our kids we made sure they were names that were gender specific and people would know how to spell them and pronounce them when they read them. Also - have you noticed people from Utah (NO OFFENSE TO ANYONE) often tend to make up some serious names? Like combining the first syllable and last syllable of 2 different names?
my maiden name is Wolf and you can only imagine what I had to endure.
I like Terina.

LCM said...

I am so with you on this one! I grew up with a less common name with few nicknames and I hated it. I try to not say anything with regards to what people name their kids, but sometimes I get so weirded out by the names.
I had picked out a classic Katherine Elizabeth for my first daughter way back in high school and my brother took it for their first and I was irritated for a while, but then I missed the whole Kate, Caitlin(and it's 100 different variations), McKayla, Kaylee, etc.
Have you seen that fake blog where she jokes about all things mormon and tells about her way of choosing a kids name?
1: Ash/Jay/La/Ky/Hay
2: kay/la/l/br/d
3: lin/ee/ly/en/yn
You put each numbers syllables into a mason jar, draw one slip from each and that's how you get the name?

Jen said...

Being one of a half dozen Jennifer's in all my classes, and now that it seems every other woman born between 1974 and 1986 were named Jennifer, I really did not want my kids to have names that were "too" common.

We chose my daughter's name as one that is not unheard of, but generally not one that you would find more than maybe 1 child at an elementary school with that name. However, it's becoming more and more popular and I hear it all the time now! Crazy.

My son's name has pretty much held with popularity consistently. It's not the most popular name ever, but its fairly common for both boys and girls. This year, there is another Jordan in his class, I wonder how often he will experience that?

I have known almost as many boys named Shannon as girls though, I thought that one was commonly unisex. I do know a woman named Kevin, which I find a bit odd.

Chelsea said...

I totally agree with you on this one! Especially about weird spellings. If you're trying to make the name special, why not just pick a name that really *is* special rather than naming your kid Jaxxun or something.

I can see why people pick names that are slightly out there though. It is hard choosing a name that isn't super common, but that also isn't so weird that your child will be doomed to a lifetime of wedgies and/or explaining how to spell their name.

For the record, I really like your name! Yes it's unique, but it's not weird and it sounds pretty.