The Name Game

by statia on October 29, 2009

We had an extremely hard time coming up with names for both of our kids.  With the Mini, we had more of a short list than we had with LG, but when we saw the Mini, none of the names on our short list fit him.  We ended up going with a name that was veto’d because at one point or another, one of us didn’t like it.  But when he was born, the name just seemed to fit.    This is all repeated garbage that I’ve written about before, but I’m guessing many of you aren’t picking through my archives with a fine toothed comb.  And if you are, I A. have a restraining order with your name on it, because creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy, and B.  Seriously, do you not have a life?  The reasons for the post, however, are different, so I give myself permission for reruns.  It’s rerun season already anyway.

With LG it was even harder.  There were no girls names that either of us were really cracked on.  Naming your kid is hard, dudes.   It’s either, you knew someone with that name, who was a righteous asshole, or someone else did, or worse, the name just sets itself up for pure torture during the kid’s formative years.

As with the Mini, we never shared our names with anyone prior to the birth.  Especially with LG, because we had all of two names we really liked, with a third name as a possibility, but not really.

The Mini’s name, while still a little unusual, has gained somewhat in popularity over the last two years.  It’s probably preppy sounding, but at least it has vowels.   I don’t like that it’s becoming popular, but what can I do?  Trademark the name and register it a federal copyright?  On second thought,  *mental note to self.*

LG’s name on the other hand, is much more rare.  I know of few people with the name.  One that I actually know personally, though not directly friends with, and another person.  I love her name.  It took us a long time in the hospital to actually name her.  And for the longest time, I couldn’t really wrap my head around it. No one saw her name coming, and it took her awhile to kind of grow into it, but now it’s just so her.  I love it so much more, now that I know her personality.

What creases me is people either online, or in person, that i don’t know, in public, who find it acceptable to ask her name.   For one thing, this is nobody’s business.  For another, we’re at the age in the Mini’s life where people think “oh you’re cute, what’s your name?” And he’s impressionable enough to answer.  While he’s too young to understand the concept of strangers, he’s not too young for us to at least start working on the “don’t talk to strangers” thing.   But just point blank asking what your kids name is, I don’t know, this for me is kind of rude.  If I know you, and feel comfortable enough telling you, I will.

Maybe this is no big deal to some people.  Maybe I’m weird for keeping my kids names under lock and key, but I’m a selfish bitch, and one that doesn’t see the need to advertise their names all over the internet.  You know, safety first and all that.

{ 11 comments }

shanna October 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Question: “What’s her name?”

Answer: “Why do you ask?”

Some people will be offended by this response, some will be flustered. Some will reply that they have an interest in baby names, or that they are pregnant and looking for names to consider, and maybe that answer will soften you up to share.

If they reply with “I was just trying to make conversation,” you can shoot back a probing question about them if you want to send them off, or if you want to be more polite/continue talking you can make an inane comment about the weather. (“Why’d you change the topic?” “Oh, I was just trying to make conversation.”)

donna October 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I have Miss Chatty Cathy who goes up to strangers and says, “What’s your name?” and then they will usually say “Mary Poppins, what’s yours?”

What the hell do you do with that?? She started it. I can’t tell her not to answer.

Hannah October 30, 2009 at 4:02 am

Hmm. I suppose this is probably the completely wrong response to give at this time. By talking about how your childrens’ names came out, I’m now very curious what they are. Ah, well, probably a good exercise in self restraint for me!

But I can understand the not liking total strangers asking their names.

Oops. Yeah. I’m a total stranger. See previous comment about self restraint.

(This was meant to be funny and not totally creepy. If it did fall in the creepy category, I’m sorry – and will now go back to lurking.)

Betty M October 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I’ve usually given the game away by yelling their names at the kids as they head off down the street. Definitely don’t get much random name asking here – that’s British reserve for you. Internet silence I can absolutely agree is vital. Only exception is a one off coded post shortly after birth to be taken down rapidly.

Bonnie October 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm

If I ask a child’s name it’s because I’m afraid of getting bit at the knees. Parents scare me more than children.

Meredith October 31, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I get the impression that this is a dumb question, but…ummm, well, what’s the big deal with sharing names with strangers? People (usually little old ladies) ask Finn what his name is and I think that it’s sweet when he answers and talks to them. I feel like he’s learning to politely interact with others. I also have to confess that I don’t really have any plans to teach him not to talk to strangers as a blanket rule. Once he’s older and we might not be with him then, yes, we’ll have lessons about what is appropriate with strangers. But right now it’s just people talking to him and Mommy and Daddy. (We do live in a small, friendly town, though. Even if we don’t know the person talking to us, there’s probably only two or three degrees of separation.)

As for the internet. Well, there I worry a lot that I’ve made a mistake in using my sons’ real names. But that’s more an issue of their right to privacy than fear about crazy internet stalkers.

statia October 31, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Meredith,

My email isn’t working right now, so I’ll just respond here. I think it comes down to personal choice. You have the luxury of having them grow up in a small town, And while it might be cute now, the Mini will say hi to anyone and I just feel as this could be dangerous in the future. Now, I am also an anxiety ridden, paranoid mess, and I fully accept that. I just find it really uncomfortable for me. “Oh hi little boy, what’s your name? And your sister’s name?” I don’t want him thinking this is OK behavior because sometimes he doesn’t have that built in filter where someone just might not seem “right.” You know? He’s little, I understand that, but he’s got a lot of speech therapists and is very geared towards adults right now. It just makes me worry.

Aunt Becky October 31, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I lost a friend. I LOST a friend. LOST A FRIEND. Who was keeping her kids name under lock and key. I let it slip that I was naming my unborn child Amelia. Apparently this is what SHE was naming her unborn child too.

Now? She won’t speak to me.

Good thing I didn’t really like her anyway.

Yo-ya Mama November 1, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I was going to write something close to what Meredith said. 99.9% of the time an adult asking a child his/her name is really helping a child interact socially. Without realizing it of course. My son has a heck of a time going up to another kid his age and asking their name and wants me to do it for him. I want him to have confidence in himself and it’s not going to happen if I shoo him under my skirt or ask the kid myself.

I’m very proud and selfish about my kids’ names. My pride overrides my selfishness in my case and I love being able to share where both names originated, if I’m asked.

As for responding to “what is your name?” with “why do you ask?” Hmmmm…interesting in theory, but quite frankly, if someone responded that way to me I’m sure I’d blog about how rude our society has become.

Tonya November 1, 2009 at 11:55 pm

More power to ya, I say. We have had many, MANY conversations with Miracle Girl about about “private information” because she still– at age 7 and after 5 years of prompting and coaching and discussion– STILL will start talking to complete strangers and go into overshare mode. I count it as a victory on those rare days when she actually glances at me before she starts talking to a stranger, because she also has no filter.

Example last week: at Home Depot, a random employee approached her and struck up a conversation with her (while I was physically steering her away from him the whole time– can you say creepy?). Afterward, she said to me “He is a really NICE man!” To which I replied, “No, what he is is an overly friendly person; but we don’t know ANYTHING about whether he is nice or not.”

It’s stuff like this that tells me that for every step forward, there are still steps backward. Hang in there– I totally get it.

statia November 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm

D, I see your point about interacting socially, but this is also why we teach them that we CAN talk to our friends, and we CAN’T talk to people we don’t know. This is a slippery slope, because dude, I TOTALLY get it. Mini has a hard time approaching kids his age. At this age, it’s still considered normal, but he’s got sensory issues and major avoidance because kids his age are so unpredictable that it frightens him quite a bit. So we’re working really hard to instill that social interaction, but in such a way that he understands. I’m working on this now, because it’s going to take me YEARS before he understands. Once something clicks, it will stay with him forever, but it sometimes takes a long time for him to get it, whereas other kids just naturally get it. They have that natural creep out factor built in.

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