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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Worst Thing Someone Ever Said to You About Your Child's Name Post

Linda writes:
Swistle, how 'bout a "Worst Thing Someone Ever Said to You About Your Child's Name" post? Like the time my grandpa-in-law asked if we thought our daughter's name was "appropriate for a little girl?" Um, YES, since she's already BORN AND NAMED. Or my friend whose family REFUSED to call her son by his name because they didn't like it. They just called him something else. I would love to read and fume about this topic.

Oh, ME TOO! Let's do it!

My worst have been things like, "Huh, THAT'S a name you don't hear very often!," which is annoying because you can hear in their tone that they're patting themselves on the back for coming up with something non-negative to say about such a BIZARRO choice.

So tell us your examples! We are waiting to hear! What's the worst thing someone ever said to you about your child's name?

57 comments:

Susan said...

My neighbor asked me what my newborn son's name was, and I told her. After a long, sour pause, she said, "I guess that's a family name?" in that tone that clearly implied there could be no other reason for inflicting such a name on a child. The name was "Karl," and I loved it then and still do! (Nice boy, too!)

Nowheymama said...

I, too, have heard, "Is that a family name?" more times than I can count in regards to Helen's name, and she's only four months old.

Also, people *never* get Eli's full name (Elias) right. "Elisa? Ellis? Eeelas? Bueller?" And when I correct them, they say, "Oh." Like, "You're the one who inflicted that hard-to-pronounce name on him, not me."

Marie Green said...

How about "my friend has a dog with that name".

GAH!

Fine For Now said...

My sister-in-law has aired her thoughts on my favorite girl name, Meredith. She told me it was old-fashioned and reminded her of an old lady. Thanks except we will STILL use it anyway, if we have a girl.

Leah said...

Yep, I never tell anyone Dorothy without the "is that a family name?" question. Then when I say "We call her Dorrie for short," I get, "Oh, THAT'S cute." Like they're saying that it's a good thing she has a cute nickname because her name is awful or something.

caroline said...

Three "friends" visiting me at the clinic:
"Clara...like the porn star?"
Yikes.

Katy said...

Who are all these friends on a first name basis with porn stars? Maybe I'm a prude, but even if i did know the names of porn stars I wouldn't admit it.

My mom never insulted my child's name, but she did spend a lot of time trying to change my mind. The girl name I picked, however, had her in fits. She thinks that I actually choose names just to annoy her.

Linda said...

I have a friend whose mom told her, "If you name the baby X, I won't hold him."

Sarah said...

No one has ever said anything bad about my kids' names except for "Anna? That's pretty popular. I hear that name EVERYWHERE."

There's just no making anyone happy.

Jodi said...

With Pippa, I get a lot of "Oh, like Pippi Longstocking!"(although she was Pippilotta, not Philippa), and with Beatrix we get "Oh, like Beatrix Potter." Those are to be expected, I guess.

With Romilly, we just get blank stares. A good friend's husband said it sounded "weird and made up" (it's not, for the record, the latter at least), but that was before she was born, so I can't count it against him really :)

ZestyJenny said...

Okay, not my kid, but my friend named her daughter Saskia, which is a not-unheard-of Scandinavian name, and this is a very Scandinavian family, with an older sibling also nordicly named. (I'll admit it was unfamiliar to as well, but it's totally grown on me and I have since met another little girl named Saskia)

Anyway, her grandmother, (Saskia's great grandmother) was all, "Saskia? What kind of name is that? Hmph. That's weird." This coming from a woman who named her own daughter (my friend's mom) Gerd-Inger. That's pronounced just like it looks, BTW. Crazy Norweigans!

Laura said...

My husband and I named our son Michael Xavier, and we call him Max as a nickname. I know certain people call this cheating, but we loved both his full name and his nickname so much it seemed right for our son. Many, many people have asked, "So what's his name? Maximilian, Maxwell, Maximus?" When I tell them what his name is, they always say something like, "Why didn't you just name him _____, or call him Michael?" I would love to know your thoughts either way. Is that such a weird thing to do?

Clarabella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clarabella said...

Jodi, Pippa, Beatrix and Romilly? Gasp! What beautiful names. Pippa has always been a favorite diminutive of mine ever since I went to school with a Phillipa who went by it. (Also, I know someone who dated a Romily.)
Anywho, back to the the task at hand. The worst I ever get is BLANK STARE "That's . . . different." Except it's not, really. It's Liam. Not that different, except apparently when you live in the deep rural South. Yep, not too many Liams in the crooked-letter state. No one can pronounce it, no one can even repeat it back to me. Most of the time, I just tell people William so I won't have to deal with it, but I swear to god, when I did that one woman immediately called him Billy. For real? Did I say Billy? Gah!
Last thing: when Liam was a newborn, I went to the local health department to have him weighed (it was easier than driving the half-hour to his pediatrician, since the local HD is at the bottom of our street). At this particular HD, they call out the patient's name who's next over an ancient intercom so that you know it's your turn to come back. So, I guess if your name's John Smith, you'll recognize your name in the squawking. Not so when your name's Liam Irishlastname. It took me hearing "Lima Eeeeenis" three times before I figured out that must be him. When I walked through the door, the nurse said, "Oh, he's a little boy." I pointed out the name was LIAM, not LIMA. She said, I swear, "Oh . . . that's different!" Ahhhhh!
End novel.

JMC said...

This is a great post idea! I'm loving the comments. I wish I had a good story, but I can't come up with one. My grandmother did call my oldest "Samantha" for YEARS (her name is Savannah), but that was because she was old, forgetful and not familiar with the name Savannah. She gets it right now, but like I said - YEARS.

K in the Mirror said...

Liam is not so unusual that people should act so weird about it! My goodness.

My daughter's name is Gillian, pronounced with a J, and my mother in law asked me if I'd thought about the fact that her name "is only one letter away from that fool stuck on the island." Like everyone was going to call her Gilligan.

Which has never happened once, by the way,

Swistle said...

Laura- Ha ha! My thoughts would be, "Why didn't they either name him Max or call him Michael?" Except I'd answer myself something like, "Probably they wanted the name Max, but Max was too short and they didn't like long versions, or else they had to use Michael as a family name but thought they'd CALL him Max." I'd have all kinds of theories!

anon said...

When I was born, my dad called my great-grandmother to tell her about the new baby.

"What did you name her?"
"Cameron!"
"Camera? Why didn't you just name her Kodak?!?!"

fairydogmother said...

I also have a friend whose mom said "if you name the baby ____, I won't hold her". My friend wasn't swayed. Then she said, oh well, I guess I'll just call her (this other nickname that is most decidedly not her name).

So my friend said "Fine, then we just won't invite you over". Now they live half-way across the country from her parents. And her mom calls their daughter by her full name.

The crazy name my friend's mom objected to, by the way? Kaitlyn.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Interesting comments! Great topic!

I must admit, I have trouble with "made-up" sounding names myself, but I'm tactful about it at least. I'm going to have to be extra tactful as a teacher... yipes. I do often think, "Oh, maybe it's a family name" when I hear a very odd one ... but I try hard to be as accepting as possible because we all have different tastes.

There's a "Haven" in my current kindergarten class, and even though I found it odd at first, I'm quite used to it now!

I come from a family of very average names (Stephanie, Michael, Scott, we've got cousins named Matthew, James, Jeffrey, Melanie, Rebecca, etc etc etc - tres "average").

My mom is not a fan of the names she's not so familiar with (read: made-up sounding names or ethnic names she's not able to say), so she often says, "If you name your child something weird, I'm just going to call them by a 'normal' name that I like better".

I know she's joking around... but I also know that with her influence I'll probably end up naming my kids quite "average" names (my favourites are Sophie, Owen and Zachary). (These are the names I prefer anyway though, so it's not *really* because of my mother).

Erica said...

People often assume "Maddie" is short for Madison or they get really confused with the spelling of her full name. I've had people ask if I made it up, or they say something like "I've never seen it spelled THAT way before."

And if someone I knew, be it friend or family, tried some sort of baby-name-ultimatum on me it'd be the last conversation we ever had.

Laura said...

Seriously, Swistle, you're GOOD! Yes to all theories. He is named after a long list of Michaels (including his father), we thought Max was too short for his given name, and we didn't care for the long name versions of Max.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Whaa?? Clara is a beautiful name! There's a porn star with that name? GAH! Curses! WHY would anyone EVER say that to someone about their baby? AAAAHHHH! People are so stupid!!

Meredith said...

My daughter's name is Annabelle:
- That is so long.
- How will she learn to spell it?
- That is a good name for a cat.
- Why not Anna wih middle name Belle?
- Why not Olivia?
- Maybe you'll change your mind. (that was before she was born)

Next time, we are not telling anyone our name choices until the baby is born. It was too heartbreaking last time to have picked the perfect name and have people try to talk us out of it.

I never say ANYTHING negative when people run their name ideas by me. What's the point?

Misty said...

Mmmm, I have never had anyone say anything about my kids names, but my grandmother once said to my aunt, "Why can't you name your kids REAL names?" My cousin's names are Ca55andra and R0ss.

Oh! HOWEVER! People say crappy stuff to my ALL THE TIME about the Hyphenated Last-Name. Like, "Gee, that's long." and when asking about my husband's Last-Name, people ask me if I am sure that is his Last-Name.

Uh, yeah. I know my husband's last name. Geez.

(And that is so off topic. Sorry)

Leigh said...

When we named our oldest Kaitlyn sixteen years ago, everyone in our families except my mother thought we were making it up. We got baby gifts marked "Kate Lynn", "Katie Lynn" and, my favorite, "Kateland". My husband's entire family whispered behind my back that I was just weird. Then, a couple of years later when EVERYONE started naming their daughters Kaitlyn, they casually mentioned that they supposed I hadn't made it up after all. LOL

Mary said...

When my little brother (Henry) was born in 1988, my dad told his coworkers his newborn son's name and they laughed and asked if he was joking. Nice.
Of course, Henry is a ridiculously popular name now.

Jenni said...

Both my and my husband's mothers did not like our son's name at first. "Oscar? That's different. Why did you name him Oscar?"

They love it now because it fits him so well. We also have people ask if it is a family name, and where we came up with the idea. I honestly don't think Oscar is that strang of a name, and it is perfect for my son.

We didn't tell his name before he was born, and we won't tell about the baby due in December either. I can't stand editorial comments on baby names.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Misty, I was such an idiot and I'm laughing so hard at myself right now....

I know NOW that you were trying to censor the names, but when I read "Ca55andra and R0ss"....

I was like, "Wow...that's interesting spelling... no wonder her grandma questioned it..."

LMAO. I clearly left my Thinking Brain at home today.

Diana said...

With each of my kids, my mother has gone 'If you name them X, I'll camm them Y', and since none of my siblings or I have any nicknames, this gets very confusing. My son Owen get's letters addressed to 'O-boy and Oweee' and Alexandra has had a whole host of nicknames.

Also, when saying my son's full name, my mother said that his middle names were going to get him beaten up at school.

F8hful Lo said...

I think that not telling anyone your name choice is a good idea during pregnancy, especially if you know quite a few people with strong opinions. My mom and sisters always put in their two cents in regard to ANYTHING I do, so I can bet they will do the same when I am pregnant. Even in my teens when I would mention names I liked, there would always be some snide remark. Recently, I told my friend I liked a name and she made a rude comment. When she told me a name she was considering, I hated it but kept the comment to myself. Its her kid! Good advice, and I think we will probably keep the names a secret for our children.

Heather said...

My daughter's name is Irene (a family name). When a friend was holding her and introducing her to someone else, he said "I just call her baby". Why, he was asked. "Because I don't like the name Irene".

Now, he calls her by her name.

Catherine said...

Well, I don't have children yet, but everyone thinks the names I like are "weird." Josephine and Dorothea are horrible and "old lady," apparently. And let me just say, most of the people on here have exquisite taste.

Pocket said...

My husband is French and his name is 5ylvain. Prnounced "sil-von" in English. I don't think any of my grandparents have EVER said his name correctly and I think everyone was a little worried when we met that our relationship would stick (and it did, of course) and they'd have to figure out how to say it eventually. I love his name and want to name our first daughter Sylvia Joyce after him and my mother. However, my family has strong opinions about everything, especially baby names, so I won't be telling them our perfectly picked names either. We also have our boy name picked out, and when my mother comes to the hospital and I hand her the baby and say, "Mom, I'd like you to meet Willougby Louis," I know she'll cry and say the name's perfect!

Meegan said...

When my friend told his mother the name of his newly born baby boy he was met with silence. Then a forced laugh. Then, "What is it really?". Ouch.

drowninginlaundry said...

When we told our families that we were likely going to name our son Emmett Ramsay RhymesWithToyDuck my Mom adored it - my husbands family said it was an "old Mans name". Um yeah we picked it because the last time it was popular was like in 1840 or something. Although it is making a comeback now. Drats.

They wanted us to name a boy Cameron Emerson. What? A generic boy/girl name (which I hate) and a cheap TV Brand? Together at the same time? I don't think so.

I hate to see the opinions about Hugo Buford (no not actually kidding) if the next one is a boy. Or the likely girls name (Pilar Dean) - it will cause a stir on the in-law side as well.

aibee said...

My son's name is Daniel which you can't really go wrong with, right?

But there's always some idiot who's going to say something like "Oh no! You called him Daniel? I knew a guy in school called Daniel and he was so AWFUL. Everyone really HATED him.".

Which doesn't take the shine off my Daniel's name but, shut up already, geesh.

Bird said...

My mother threated to call my child by a nickname because she didn't like the name I had chosen. I told her that that was fine, but then the baby would grow up calling her "maw maw." My mom HATES maw maw. Needless to say, she saw the light.

Tallyaya said...

My whole family hated my son's name before he was born, saying that Leonardo sounded old and geeky to them. But we didn't let that change our minds, & as soon as he was born everyone agreed that he really does look like a Leo and they couldn't imagine him with any other name!

Poor Katriahna, though. I've never gotten anything ruder then "Huh, that's diferent!" when telling people her name, but whenever someone reads her name off (like at the doctor's office etc) they never get it right, saying Katrina or sometimes Katarina instead!

And to this day my parents (and me too, for that matter) get rude remarks about my name! But really, what were they thinking? Combining the nickname of an old native american name (Tallulah, meaning leaping waters, but shortened to Tally)with a Japanese name that was popular back in the 80's (Aya) makes me sound like nothing so much as a character from a video game! I've gotten used to it, of course, but most people still look blank when I introduce myself for the first time, & more often than not they say something along the lines of "No, what is it really?" or even "Huh?" or, my personal favorite, "That's not even a name!"

Anonymous said...

I've always been intrigued by names and being a teacher in an inner city, I have come across many names that are quite different. The start of each school year is always interesting with all the new names, but eventually the names just fit the children and do not seem so odd.

As far as naming children my culture follows tradition and parents name their children from the father's parents first and then the mother's and so on from other family members if you had more than four children.

When I have children I plan to follow the same tradition and add a middle name as well (which is typically not the norm), possibly from a saint who is celebrated on the day the child is born. (Every day of the year belongs to a saint in our church).

One thing I am adamant about is keeping foreign names the same when translated into English. Good example is the girl named Saskia instead of turning it into Sasha or something similar, they left it at Saskia. All the children born in my generation had the unfortunate effect of having their names "americanized" and I believe, taking away from our culture.

Sorry this is so long!!

Pocket said...

Be careful with that whole "naming a kid after the saint's day on which it was born" idea. That's how my grandmother ended up with the name Margaret Appelonia! I've never even heard of St. Appelonia, but sure enough, my grandmother arrived on that blessed day!

cacklinrose said...

I haven't had any negative comments about my daughters' names, but I've had many comments on the names we would have given them if they'd been boys.

Griffin? Seriously? Like that lion/bird thing? Huh.

Ike? Like Ike Turner? (Yes, exactly like Ike Turner. We want him to grow up to abuse women. It's our dream.)

Emrick? Huh. What is that? Dutch? Are you Dutch? Why not Richard? Richard is such a *strong* name. I'm gonna call him Emmy.

Amy said...

Her father's parents, on learning the name: "What will we call her?"

Rachel said...

When a cousin met my daughter, Irene, for the first time, Irene was already three years old. My cousin proceeded to tell me that when she heard, through the family grapevine, what I had named my daughter, she hated it...but she assured me that once meeting her she could see that the name fit her to a T. I am still trying to figure out if that was a good or bad thing...

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK PLEASE

Seriously---if these are them names we chose for our children...there is a pretty good chance we like them.

Anonymous said...

The name we chose for our 1st daughter...Sarah Calysta....everyone liked especially my dad because it was his grandmother's name whom he really adored....(not that we named her that because of my great grandma...but we had already decided on Sarah and my dad told me his grandma was Sarah C...for Sarah Calysta...and we thought it fit nicely. But our 2nd daughter we didn't name until we saw her and it tortured everyone....her name is Aislyn Reese...(it's not made up...it's an Irish name that means DREAM). But initially my mom kept intentionally mispronouncing and misspelling it even though I'd told her several times how to say it...and one day she said I'll just call her Reese. (Because she thinks Aislyn is wierd).....NOW she calls her Aislyn and pronounces it fine and doesn't make a big deal of it any more but it took both my parents 6 months to get there. When I tell people her name most say "OMG...that's beautiful." But some say "That's Different." or "That's Creative." Which it is...so that doesn't offend me unless they say it with a negative tone...which some do. I've had people tell me that noone will be able to pronounce it or spell it. Also my parents hated the name we had picked for a boy "Brevin" They had decided to call him by the middle name we chose (Tucker)....we didn't have a boy so didn't have to fight that battle. I think if a parent gives a child a name out of love....it's a lovely name.

P>S> ( Except the poor West Indian woman who' nurse was helping her fill out the birth certificate...and the woman wanted to name her daughter (pronounced ASHOLAY) but when the nurse asked how to spell it she said A...S...S...H...O....L....E.... (whoops?)

Smiles,
Amanda

Beth said...

My daughter's name (Cate Meredith) is pretty traditional, although my husband's family has the tradition of naming children after parents and grandparents...leading to lots of "John Smiths" and much confusion. Upon hearing her name, my MIL said, "oh, I'll have to get used to THAT." Thanks, MIL.

This is the woman who has a granddaughter named "Andee" (emphasis on the second syllable--on-DAY). I wonder how long it took her to get used to that.

meredith said...

My mom just scowled when I told her my top choices, Adrienne, Amy and Jillian. We are going with Natalie, but are not telling anyone.

Saly said...

My mother was none too thrilled with the naming of Bud (Edmund). It’s such a man’s name……

Uh, yeah.

Everyone is fine with it now, he is totally an Eddie.

My girlfriend just had her second daughter and now has S0phi@ and Gi@nn@. Hub asked if they were trying to be Italian. (they are very Italian)

Anonymous said...

My son's name is Declan. We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, but we did tell the family that would be his name if he were a boy well in advance. When asked, we gave the spelling, which was always DeclAn, we never considered or mentioned anything else, as that is how the name is traditionally spelled.

After he was born, my mom sent out an email to extended family, which said his name was Declin. She and my sister SWORE up and down we had told them it was with an I. Um, no. We know how we spell our child's name. It's okay that she made a mistake, forgot, got confused, etc. but we did not tell them that. She then suggested that we spell it with an I because she liked that better.

Hillary said...

We named our son Rhys -- pronounced Reese. It's the traditional Welsh spelling, but you'd think we dreamed it up the way everyone reacts to it.

Anonymous said...

We have a pronunciation issue, which people have said is just me trying to be difficult. (It is not! The name is Arabic and countless people on the other side of the globe have this name and pronounce it the same way and would spell it like this in English. I'm not the only one, I swear!) and two different little old ladies at two different times INSISTED that because of the spelling, that I WAS MISPRONOUNCING IT. Even after I explained the issue!

Anonymous said...

Great thread! We named daughter #1 after, or rather IN HONOR OF, my wife's grandmother, a wise, wonderful woman and still kicking at age 92. They have a great relationship and since she is one of only three people on the planet I have found with the name, it all worked out perfectly. We didn't tell anyone until after she was born because we had heard guffaws when we floated the name ("You wouldn't name her after [Mema] Ha!")

Then came #2. We learned it was a girl and immediately started working on names. We each did lists, cross-compared, and found both first and middle names on each other's lists we liked. #1, who is now 2.5, was the final arbiter after we asked her 3 days in a row what named she liked for her sister.

Through miscommunication in the car on the way to visit my wife's folks, (She: "So, we are not going to share?" Me: "Absolutely") my wife announced the name of #2 and was met with....SILENCE. My mother-in-law finally cleared her throat and said with a pained expression, "are you sure?"

Gentle reader, WAIT until the child is born to share. Please.

Sam said...

My husband is one whose grandmother didn't like his name and so she just called him something else - his real name is Marcus, and she simply called him Beau. Because that makes sense how? Anyway, it stuck, and he is very much a Beau, even though he added an "x" on the end in college because of his Cajun heritage, etc., I don't know what he was thinking. Now whenever I write his name I think of that old-fashioned term "beaux" for admirers, but there you go.

I did tell his grandma that she was NOT allowed to rename our child, under any circumstances, ahead of time.

Trina said...

So, I am totally guilty of not being ok with a name. My brother and his wife were trying to come up with a boys name for their son. The narrowed it down to Christian and Landon. My sister-in-law told her sister her choices and she said; "Oh please don't use those names those are the names I picked out for my future kids." So after a bunch of deliberation, they named their son Damien. Now, he is almost 1 and I am used to calling him that now. But I wasn't cool with it in the begning and I let them know. I totally regret it. I will never ever tell anyone I dislike a name again.

Especially since I named my son Rocco. My husband is Italian so it fits, but, lots of people give me funny looks when I tell them his name.

I know this is an old post, but, I just had to comment.

Anonymous said...

oh i love this post! I am laughing so hard, I am crying. More, please!

Nikki said...

Well, I don't have any kids yet, but I do have 4 nephews, Chase, Aidan, Connor, and Mason. For the most part, there's no problem. But last year, Aidan was in Head Start, and he was learning to write and read a little bit. Naturally, they started off with his name. But EVERY TIME they spelt it Aiden, not Aidan. His Dad kept telling them it was A-I-D-A-N, not A-I-D-E-N, but they never stopped, the whole year! Aidan was so confused, half the time he couldn't decide how to spell his name! Thankfully, he's in Kindergarten now and they have it right!
Also, I remember after Mason was born, I brought a picture of him to school, and when I said his name, a teacher (who I didn't even know) said, "Oh, like bricks, right?" WHAT?! Okay, I get the association because of masonry, but really!
Oh, and I vaguely remember someone mentioning after Chase was born that he'd be a good runner. I'm assuming they meant that when you run after someone, your chasing them, but it was a little weird.

Tara said...

So I guess I am only a few years late on this post ;-)

I don't have children, but when at work I was serving an elderly man (maybe 75-80 years old) who asked what my name was...

"Tara *:-)*"
"Tara??? What sort of name is that?!?!?!"

My response (in my head of course!): Um, have you been living under a rock?

I know that Tara isn't a common name, but it's a name that most people are familiar with, no?

The funny thing is that at the time this happened I was in my final year of school, and in one of my classes there were three Tara's.


Oh and to clarify I am from Aus and my name is pronounced as TAH-ruh (the way it is always pronounced in Aus...and Ireland where it originated from...one of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear TARE-uh on TV...just sayin').