Friday, March 9, 2012

What's in a Name?

Well, it depends on who you ask.  Some spend the entire 9 months searching for the perfect name, others just spout out the first thing that comes to mind when the baby pops out.  Working with children and families for the past 20 years I have come across some doozies.  I wish I could list them here but it would breech privacy laws, but man they would make you laugh.

Let's take the well thought out names first.  These parents put a lot of thought into their choice.  They want something unique, but not too out there that the child is ridiculed in adolescence.  It is a fine line.  Maybe they go with a family name or a name with special meaning to the couple.  Usually these kids will turn out fine.

Then there is a group of parents that like to combine parts of each of their own names.  These names are usually a little weird and don't roll off the tongue very easily.  Again, the parents did put some thought into the child's name and I think they will be ok.

The next group of names are the names that need an know the one I am talking about..."Nevaeh, that is Heaven backwards".  I included it in quotes because EVERY time a parent says the name Nevaeh they include the "it is Heaven backwards". Like it is all one word.  Kind of like when I lived in "Dorchester, oh".  (Said with a tilt of the head).  Whenever I would tell someone I lived in Dorchester I would automatically get a tilt of the head and a sad "Oh", like the felt bad for me for living there.  Little did they know I was paying good money there and it was one of my all time favorite apartments.  But, I digress...the parents that name their child Nevaeh think it is unique and special.  Really, it is pretty common these days.  It was unique when the lead singer from a Christian rock band talked about his daughter Nevaeh on an episode of MTV cribs years ago.  That was a well thought out, meaningful name for his child.  Which brings me to another MTV reference...ever since Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 have debuted I have noticed a surge in the names Bentley and Jace in our playgroups.  That show is wrong on so many levels which I will get into another day.  But somehow I know the babies names from that is one of my guilty pleasures.  Wonder what Snooki will name her kid...DTS?  That's STD backwards..

The next group of names you can file under the"I don't really give a sh*t" category.  These are the kids on the playground that answer to "baby boy" or "pretty girl" think that is a nickname but those are their proper, given names.  It is like the registrar comes into their hospital room asking what the child's name is and they are like....ummm, ahhh, I am gonna go with baby boy.  They are just too busy to put much thought into it. They have more important things to do then name their kid...don't want to miss the DNA results on Maury....I do worry about these kids....they are the ones that fall through the cracks...

The last group are the ones that should come with an automatic report to DCF.  There are a couple of names that should trigger a red flag in the system.  The two that stick out are any incarnation of the name Jayden (Jaedin, Jadon, Jay-dun, Jaidyn, Jaydin...both male and female versions) and Damien.  Once these children are born the birth certificate lady at the hospital should file a 51-A report at the same time.  Nothing good ever comes from these names.  These are the kids in the playgroups or on the playground that are always causing trouble and throwing rocks.  I am sorry if I have offended anyone with this last statement.  Just an FYI though, if DCF has not already been involved with you I am pretty confident a visit from a state worker is in your future.

So you have your first baby and you find the perfect name for them.  Life is good.  Then the second baby comes along and is the same sex as your first.  CRAP!!  What do you do?  You have already used up your favorite name.  Sadly, just like every other area in their life the 2nd kid gets second best.

We went with Sara for our first child.  Simple, classic and pretty.  I have always loved that name and years ago I heard someone use the nickname Sari for it.  I loved it.  We tried that for a bit, but it didn't stick.  Our Sara is more a Sarita.  A bit more spicy.

Our second child was also a girl.  We went with Anna.  Again, simple, classic and pretty.  I know, I know, the kids will call her Anna Banana when she gets to be school aged.  Not to worry, we already call her that ....wanted to toughen her up.  Plus, she is a banana.  Funny how kids kind of adapt to their names.

Lately, at playgroup I just silently shake my head when I hear some of the names these poor kids are burdened with.  But who knows, maybe with all the "unique" names out there that will become the norm and my kids will stand out for their "weird" names.

Poor Anna will have to explain her name and introduce herself as "Anna...that is Anna backwards..."


  1. Fabulous! How many times are you asked- Is it Sara-with-an-"h" (Sarah) or "No 'h'"? But I bet no one asks you, "Anna with an "h" or no "h"? after all... Hannah has an h on the end so why can't Annah? ;) I named my first born "Sarah" and thought, just as you did, simple, classic- easy to spell- well I never imagined I would get the "h" question every time. And, then there is my 2nd born... Jennifer... and yes, I also get asked to spell her name- as if it is such a unique name?! perhaps it is because of so many Jenifer, Jenipher, Genifer and Genifa's out there! Keep writing Erin!

    Dawn Byers
    (and don't even ask me how many times a person, standing in front of me who can see I am female, has spelled my name "DON"...

  2. Love, love love!!! This blog says exactly what I have been thinking!! Hilarious!!

  3. Dawn, I do get the "H" question every time. When I say "no H" I get a look of disgust as if I have ruined my kids life forever. I think you should formally change Jennifer's name to Genifa. I like that spelling the best.

  4. Erin, I am at work reading through your blog and just BURSTED out in laughter. I am DYING over here So many stories hit home and are all so well written and so FUNNY... A few of my coworkers are now fans of yours too! I am so impressed!

    -Jeannine (Dunne)

  5. oh erin i only WISH we could list some of the 'unique' names that we have come accross..... it would make for an epic blog!

  6. Erin, this is great! I too have come across some names that leave me wondering... I will share one with you since it was shared from a travel nurse who had the pleasure of calling this child's name in a hospital waiting room in West Virginia.... "Asshole".... yes to me it is exactly what it looks like, but to someone else it is pronounced as "Ash-o-le".... Keep writing!

  7. Try working in news and interviewing people.. i have met plenty of "baby girl" or "baby gurl" as the case may be.. also "precious" "princess" "queenie" etc.. i now have everyone spell their name (even the jennifer's and tom's!)
    on a different note.. after deciding to name our second Chase I never imagined how many people would say "oh, just like my bank." yes, that's clearly what i had in mind when choosing the name! keep writing.. cause i keep laughing!

  8. There must be a lot of kids in Boston between 9 and 13 named Ramon. You know, because that's Nomar backwards.