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We Gave Our Kid the Wrong Name

By Kelcey Kintner

You know, 9 months is a really long time to come up with a baby name. But apparently, not long enough for me.

Because when my daughter was about a month old, I looked down at that sweet, scrunched up face and thought, "This baby is absolutely, definitely not a Presley." Oh man. We gave our kid the wrong name.

But I said nothing. I just figured I would get used to it. Presley just needed to grow into her name. Or I needed to grow into it. Or something.

My husband, along with our family and friends, would call her Presley and I would just bristle in silence. Although in all fairness, you really can't blame them because that was her name. I pretty much just called her "the baby" or sometimes tried out names like Harlow or Harper when no one was around.

Months passed.

And then one day, I ever-so-casually mention to my husband, “Hey, what do you think about us changing Presley’s name?”

And he looks at me like I am CRAZY because our daughter is 6 months old now. But he knew I was crazy when he married me so isn’t this really his fault?

After debating this issue for two MORE months, we finally start calling her a new name when she is 8 months old. Yes, 8 months old.

This kind of thing happens to everyone, right?

We decide to call her Summer.

I totally stole the name Summer from the now-canceled Fox TV show, "The O.C.." Sure, some people name their kids after famous sports stars or silver screen legends, but I personally think characters from cheesy teen dramas are more the way to go.

But unless you're a newlywed, changing a name is not easy in this post 9-11 world. At least not in New York City. They wanted to make sure my child wasn't a terrorist or perhaps changing her name to try to avoid some kind of prison sentence, debt or IRS investigation. Now I can’t account for every moment when she’s napping but I think she's led a pretty honest life so far.

Finally, after six visits to civil court, it's official.

And yes, people thought we were a little nuts along the way. But I have no regrets.

She is Summer. Completely and perfectly Summer.

Kelcey Kintner is the author of the blog mama bird diaries and a contributor to the New York City Moms Blog.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  March 24, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Guest Blogs
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Comments


The musings of a teenage, high school drop-out.....

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Seriously? I have three words for you,

"Mental Health Assessment."

Posted by: VaLGaL | March 24, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Presley, Harlow, Harper? Really? Thank God for your daughter you settled on Summer.

Posted by: mlc2 | March 24, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Although to be honest, it was sort of weird at first to use actual names for our children when they were born. We didn't find out the genders beforehand and had used generic terms for nine months. To suddenly have a name for the kid was sort of ackward and took some getting used to.

Posted by: mlc2 | March 24, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Could there be anything more trivial to talk about today?

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 24, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"Presley, Harlow, Harper? Really?"

I think Really is the best pick of those four choices...

Posted by: 06902 | March 24, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

My parents always told me that if you have nothing nice to say you shouldn't say anything.

See you tomorrow.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 24, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

"My parents always told me that if you have nothing nice to say you shouldn't say anything."

Of all the petty, backhanded ways to diss someone, I really think this phrase has got to be the most annoying. It's so icky and self-righteous.

Posted by: 06902 | March 24, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Presley? Why didn't they just name the baby "Trendy" and get it over with? Or "Cutesy"?

Posted by: freakymf | March 24, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"Although to be honest, it was sort of weird at first to use actual names for our children when they were born."

Ditto. We had called our first "the little she-he-it," which abbreviated to. . . . Took a while to get used to the real name!

Posted by: laura33 | March 24, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

My grandmother changed my mother's name, way back in 1949. We are Jewish, and she had given her child a name she loved, and a Hebrew name. The entire community called my mother by her Hebrew name, so Grandma figured she would go with the flow. But she refused to give up the name she loved. So my mom has 2 middle names.

But personally - this is why I haven't told anyone the name I have planned for my baby (due in a month - yikes), and have a back-up name, in case I meet her and decide I've had it ALL wrong.

Posted by: JHBVA | March 24, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It's so icky and self-righteous.

Posted by: 06902 | March 24, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse


Typical ArmyBrat big bag of B.S. He says not nice things all the time, but for some strange reason opts out today. Zzzzzzzz.

Is there a back up topic today? How many different ways are there to call the author a nitwit?

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

My last kid was almost named Idunno, because that's what I answered when the nurse asked me his name. Ha! Thank goodness it didn't make the birth certificate. Ms Whacky, the daughters and I kicked a few names around before he was born, but really didn't know what we wanted to call him. We figured we would take a look at him, listen to him cry, and hold him before making a final decision. I ended up settling for a name that wasn't on the top of my list, but the wife and daughters teamed up on me and I caved.

So I called him "Baby" until he turned 4 and old enough to object. At 6, he still answers to it, but I don't call him baby around his friends.

Other thoughts:

I had a HS friend named Clair Annette, and no, she wasn't impressed by her parent's sense of humor. Names like Sandy Beach or Rusty Steale, cool, but Claire Annette, poor girl. I've known other kids with names they hated, Gaylord Mabel, and Winnefred come to mind.

And one of the last [post] baby showers I went to was for a kid named William Robert. Sounded good at first, but you know everyone's gonna call him Billy Bob before he sets a foot in 1st grade.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | March 24, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I anticipated a different story when I read the headline. I have a friend who named her son Logan only to find out that it is somehow, quickly becoming a girl's name. I've seen this a lot with girls now being named things that were traditionally boy names like Ryan. Funny, but I guess the same happened to Leslie which used to be a boy name too.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 24, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

lol Whacky!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 24, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

fr whacky:

>...Other thoughts:

I had a HS friend named Clair Annette, and no, she wasn't impressed by her parent's sense of humor. Names like Sandy Beach or Rusty Steale, cool, but Claire Annette, poor girl...

I totally agree. I went to college with a kid named Peter Graves, as well as Richard Nixon, and my younger brother went to high school with a kid named Charlie Brown. My best friend in HS had wanted to name her then-yet-to-be-born sister Annette after Annette Funicello, but she settled for Polly Annette instead.

Posted by: Alex511 | March 24, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Logan (apparently), Leslie, Meredith (met a male Meredith a few summers ago at a job interview), Jordan, Kelly, Ashley, Ryan, Dana, Shirley, Allison, Michael (I used to work with a "Michael Ann" and there's a "Michael Alison" blogger at WaPo) ... all names that are now potentially androgynous that were at one point exclusively male. I'm sure there are more out there somewhere. (Interesting that it doesn't seem to go the other way.)

Annoying on the playground growing up to have one of these names, but who knows, 20 years later it might be assigned almost exclusively to your gender and won't be considered all that unusual.

Name the kid what you want. If you figure out you just really hate the kid's first name (or if they decide they really hate their first name), this is what middle names are for. :-)

Posted by: forget@menot.com | March 24, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat1- How hard is it to come up with something nice to say?

Geeze, try this: Kelcey- I'm so glad you recognize that you are bat-stuff insane. Self-awareness is such a valuable trait in this world.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | March 24, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, have people not had their coffee this morning yet. Yes, today's post is lighthearted, but do we have to talk about child abuse, teenage sex, and postpartum depression EVERY day? What's wrong with a day to bat around baby names?

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

A friend of ours named their daughter Alexandra. Then after a few months they realized how many girls were being named variations of Alex, so they didn't want to call her Alex. They didn't want to use her middle name. Then finally our friend's sister mentioned that Russians use Sasha as a nickname for Alexander/Alexandra, and they liked that so she's been Sasha ever since.

Posted by: dennis5 | March 24, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

there's a queen of finger-wagging and "tut, tut!" in every crowd.

Posted by: anonfornow | March 24, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

That is pretty funny. I actually think lots of people rethink their kids names but never consider acting on it.

I would have liked to change my daughter's name but I knew my husband would not have gone for it.

Plus I think it would be confusing to people. Just think how hard it is to remember some married people's name when you knew them prenuptial. Now think how hard it would be if they changed their first name.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 24, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Logan (apparently), Leslie, Meredith (met a male Meredith a few summers ago at a job interview), Jordan, Kelly, Ashley, Ryan, Dana, Shirley, Allison, Michael (I used to work with a "Michael Ann" and there's a "Michael Alison" blogger at WaPo) ... all names that are now potentially androgynous that were at one point exclusively male. I'm sure there are more out there somewhere. (Interesting that it doesn't seem to go the other way.)

Posted by: forget@menot.com | March 24, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse


Hillary, Vivian, Meredith Willson ring a bell?

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

moxie crimefighter was taken apparently....

Posted by: pwaa | March 24, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

For our first, we had one boy name we liked - and couldn't find a girl name. Everyone said we'd have a girl, and tada...we had a boy. So we had the one name, and we were SO excited, we told everyone the minute he was born (jewish tradition, for some, is to not name the baby for 8 days).

It did take a few months, if not a year or so, for both kids to 'be' their name. Like - we were calling them SOMETHING - and ya know, they don't respond, cause it's not THEIR name - yet. For me, at least, it took a while for our kids to grow into their names...for them to BE their names.

Our second child we knew was a boy from early on. So we didn't have to worry about girl names. We went through a ZILLION baby name books, and we were not tied to a first letter for the name cause we didn't really have anyone to name after - so we could look thru the WHOLE book (well, half, considering he's a boy) and still we didn't find anything. We finally found a name - highly unusual name, actually, that we LOVE. Suits the kid, and it's great.

As for names, otherwise, well, my first name is highly unusual, especially for someone in my generation - google my name and Atlanta and you find...um...ME. In any event, it took a while for me to grow into the name, to be comfortable with it, given that it's unusual - but I really do like it. The problem is that it is quite popular for the under 10 set (one of my son's best friends has the same name!!! and he says he's going to marry her!!!) - I'm so not used to hearing my name unless it is me, it's so odd to me.

I think names are fascinating, and parents have an unusual power to wield with naming. It's been fun and exciting and frightening (what if it's wrong!!!).

As another aside...my mom didn't like my sister's name after she named her. That was back when you got to stay in the hospital for like 2 weeks after a baby was born. So she went BACK to the hospital to change the name weeks after she got out - cause she didn't want it anymore (she just switched the first and middle names, but still).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 24, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

atlmom1234

PLEASE take a writing course! Are you this dull and long winded in real life? Are you related to ArmyBrat? Sheeesh.

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If you don't want to read my posts, then don't. :)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 24, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Presley, Harlow, Harper unsuitable names? Hey, they get worse. Case and point, I looked my name up on the Sarah Palin baby name generater:
http://politsk.blogspot.com/2008/09/sarah_13.html

If I was Sarah's baby, I would be named Bodycheck. Not all that bad. Emily, I already looked your name up. Wahahahahahaha. You don't want to know.

foamy mentioned how dificult it is to remember names, and I have to admit that I'm been losing that particular capability quite rapidly in the past few years. However, in order to compensate, for the people I know who are either outspoken or "unique", I assign them names from the characters in the Harry Potter series based on their personalities. In this way, I can at least hold onto a coherent conversation with my kids when we discuss their teachers and school assignments.


Posted by: WhackyWeasel | March 24, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

If you don't want to read my posts, then don't. :)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 24, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse


Great idea! Post a warning - your handle -in the beginning of your dreck and I can skip the tedious scrolling.

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh come on people, get over yourselves.

I think many people either regret or will come to regret their child's names.

Recently an acquaintance of mine named their newborn after the place the child was conceived. Which I am pretty sure they will regret in a few years. I mentioned it at a book club mtg (sorry excuse to drink wine and dish)and we all started playing the game of renaming our kids based on the place/event of conception (the rules were rather loose on this though). It became quite entertaining. Some names were:

OBX Budweiser
Jamaican Rum
Make-up S*x
Valentine's Oops


Posted by: Stephanotis1 | March 24, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

re: gender name switching. I work at a school, and this year we have two little girls named Evan and Dylan.

Dylan for a girl, I kind of get, but Evan?

There is a little girl at another school in my town named Pepper Potts. I read it in their biannual newsletter---she won some kind of 2nd grade award. Her family also donated heavily to their fundraising.

And, a classic family story--my aunt taught elementary school and has vivid memories of her student named Velveeta.

What can you say, people are weird sometimes.

Posted by: auntieW | March 24, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

jezebel, What say you take a break from all social interaction until you have recovered your usually scintillating wit and charm? Right now, you're a boor.

Posted by: anonfornow | March 24, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"Dylan for a girl, I kind of get, but Evan?"

It worked fine for Evan Rachel Wood.

There is a strong tradition, particularly in the South, of making family names as first names. Connecting a child to his history and family is a powerful, positive use for a name -- certainly a more persuasive argument for the rightness of a name than any you can muster for giving your kid the name of a celebrity of fleeting significant or the hotel of her conception, however meaningful that might be to her parents.

Posted by: anonfornow | March 24, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

There is a strong tradition, particularly in the South, of making family names as first names. Connecting a child to his history and family is a powerful, positive use for a name -- certainly a more persuasive argument for the rightness of a name than any you can muster for giving your kid the name of a celebrity of fleeting significant or the hotel of her conception, however meaningful that might be to her parents.


Posted by: anonfornow | March 24, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

God, what a pretentious bore!

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"God, what a pretentious bore!

Posted by: jezebel3 "

Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.

Shame, really. You're usually much better than that.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | March 24, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"Connecting a child to his history and family is a powerful, positive use for a name -- certainly a more persuasive argument for the rightness of a name than any you can muster for giving your kid the name of a celebrity of fleeting significant or the hotel of her conception, however meaningful that might be to her parents."

Actually, the research shows (see Levitt, et. al) that one's name has far less to do with any measurable positive outcome than who the parents are (age, education, economic status, etc.). So, there really is no "right" name, and any attempts to persuade anyone that their naming standards are more or less "right" than anyone else's are pointless.

Posted by: 06902 | March 24, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

My in-laws recycle the same names over and over again, for their boy babies. The boy babies are always named after the father or uncles. So all the boys basically have the same names or variations thereof. Very confusing. I do like the idea of keeping certain names in the family. My son was named after his great grandfather, and my daughter after her great great grandmother, but neither of them have a bunch of cousins that all share their same names.

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"I have a friend who named her son Logan only to find out that it is somehow, quickly becoming a girl's name. I've seen this a lot with girls now being named things that were traditionally boy names like Ryan. Funny, but I guess the same happened to Leslie which used to be a boy name too."

Friend of mine got in trouble last year. She runs the local youth hockey program; a woman called to register her son and daughter. The woman told my friend the names were Sidney and Ryan. My friend asked "which is which?" She was disciplined for insensitivity.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | March 24, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Whacky,
I just looked my name up in the Palin name generator. I had to laugh.

Mustache Warthog. People have called me names before, but nothing as bad as that.

I have to say my real name is not Emily. It is the name I would have given myself if I had had the chance, but now that it has been translated to Mustache Warthog, I think I will stick to the name my parents gave me.

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

ok all of you brave people, list your first name .... let's see what ya got! LOL

Posted by: nall92 | March 24, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

On another subject, I saw something the other day about Leslie Morgan Steiner's book. Apparently it will be released at the end of this month. I wonder if she has any promotional events scheduled in the area. Whacky, you know Leslie. Do you have an inside info?

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Whacky, you know Leslie. Do you have an inside info?

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, Whacky. Is LMS's marriage still on the rocks?

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Jezebel,
Why do you have to be so hateful? You aren't CBC by any chance, are you?

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows Sidney is a boys name -- Go Pens!

And I think I'm the only one left who uses "he" to refer a person of unknown gender, as it is neutral in such cases.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 24, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Everyone knows Sidney is a boys name -- Go Pens!"

In this case, Sidney was the girl and Ryan was the boy. The female version is usually spelled "Sydney" from what I can tell, but not in this case.

The mother of the new POTUS was named Stanley. Wonder if that will catch on as a girl's name now?

(Seriously, Stanley Ann Dunham - she was named after her father.)

Posted by: m2j5c2 | March 24, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This is the Youtube video trailer of Leslie's upcoming book "Crazy Love" due to be released on March 31.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEsElsHrvC0&feature=channel_page

Dramatic if you ask me, though the sound effect of the broken glass is pretty cheezy.

I'll get the book and leave it around for my kids to read. The one daughter that worries me the most just hit the boy-crazy phase and I think Leslie's new book will be a good read for her.

And from what I know, Leslie & family are doing fine. More info at:
http://www.lesliemorgansteiner.com

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | March 24, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm surprised by all the hostility within this web community. Obviously, this was a humor piece, even as the writer shed light on a very real topic that most parents will not admit to: name regret. It's a real dilemma that many people face. And I applaud Ms. Kintner for having the courage to write about it so endearingly and honestly. Well done.

Posted by: bigred4 | March 24, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"name regret. It's a real dilemma that many people face. "

Seriously? Many people face 'name regret' as a dilemna? Okay, we're odd - we gave our kids names and never regretted them. At least, not nearly enough to even think about having them changed. Do that many people really get that upset over the names they've given their kids?

I looked at this as a "different" piece from a different source. And I loved afsljafweljkjlfe's 9:43 summary:

"Geeze, try this: Kelcey- I'm so glad you recognize that you are bat-stuff insane. Self-awareness is such a valuable trait in this world."


Posted by: m2j5c2 | March 24, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info, Whacky. I knew I could count on you.

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

OK, why doesn't it ever go the other way. We all already know about the girl Ashleys, Halleys, Ryans, Sydneys, Logans, Skylars, Kellys, Leslies etc...

But how come you never meet a boy Jennifer, Sally, Caitlin, Mary, Anna etc...?

Posted by: foamgnome | March 24, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes, m2j5c2, name regret is a problem that a lot of parents face, whether they admit it or not. Here's a piece cnn did on it.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/01/01/baby.name.change/index.html

Posted by: bigred4 | March 24, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, m2j5c2, name regret is a problem that a lot of parents face, whether they admit it or not. Here's a piece cnn did on it.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/01/01/baby.name.change/index.html

Posted by: bigred4 | March 24, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse


"The reasons they gave ranged from being inspired by another name to having a relative disagree with the choice."

Nitwits!

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 24, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"The reasons they gave ranged from being inspired by another name to having a relative disagree with the choice."

Nitwits!"

What jezebel said.

Holy mc-noley. 10% of parents consider changing the kid's name? Wow.

The best part of that CNN story, though, was the last part. The line that said, after the parents changed their daughter's name from Emma to Caroline, she later decided she liked Emma better. :-)


Posted by: m2j5c2 | March 24, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The best part of that CNN story, though, was the last part. The line that said, after the parents changed their daughter's name from Emma to Caroline, she later decided she liked Emma better. :-)

You knew that was going to happen. I liked that she renamed her dolls.

When I first read todays story, I thought Presly was a boys name.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 24, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

But how come you never meet a boy Jennifer, Sally, Caitlin, Mary, Anna etc...?

Posted by: foamgnome | March 24, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse


Ask Johnny Cash...

Posted by: 06902 | March 24, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

But how come you never meet a boy Jennifer, Sally, Caitlin, Mary, Anna etc...?

Because he would get picked on by the other boys and possibly even the girls. The only time that boys are allowed to dress like girls for be like girls is on Halloween.

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

My grandparents changed my aunt's name. They named her Sylvia, and then within a year or so decided that they preferred the name Darlene, so that's what they started calling her. It's apparently been a bit of a hassle whenever she's had to deal with official matters that require her birth certificate, but otherwise no big deal.

Posted by: tomtildrum | March 24, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I remember staring down at my newborn son and thinking, "Wow! I could name him ANYTHING! Whatever label I fix on him will be his forever." It's a pretty awesome thing, really.

I went with a nice traditional easy-to-spell name.

The worst: my Mom had twin patients named O-RAHN-juh-lo and Li-MAHN-juh-lo...
spelled OrangeJello and LemonJello, the mother's favorite flavors. I wish I were making this up!

Posted by: newslinks1 | March 24, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Talking about nitwit names:

There are some doozies out there:

Jermajesty Jackson, for example.

There are of course, thousands of others, but that is my personal favorite.

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

With a name like Kelcey yourself, it's no wonder you named your kid Presley. What the hell were you thinking. You got what you deserve. I just feel sorry for the kid. On one count, for having a goofy name, and on the second count for having goofy parents. I'm glad I don't know you personally.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 24, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The worst: my Mom had twin patients named O-RAHN-juh-lo and Li-MAHN-juh-lo...
spelled OrangeJello and LemonJello, the mother's favorite flavors. I wish I were making this up!


Posted by: newslinks1 | March 24, 2009 3:08 PM

Um...I think your mom may have read Freakonomics too...

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/145/story/400622.html

Posted by: 06902 | March 24, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, Rosie Greer has gone through life just fine. And then named his son Rosie Greer Jr. :)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 24, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

When my niece was born, the hospital RIGHT AWAY wanted her parents to assign her a name, so they gave her ... well, so as not to identify her publicly, let's say Kathleen. She was not by any stretch of the imagination a Kathleen, her older brothers hated it, even her parents weren't happy with it, etc., etc. So her parents settled on, let's say, Nina, and she's been Nina ever since -- it's on her driver's license, her diplomas, etc. So far she hasn't applied for a passport or anything that would require her to use her birth certificate, but I think she's still officially Kathleen.

Then there was a friend of mine who named her first son, let's say, John Wesley Harding IV after his father, JWH III. It totally did not fit him, so when he was 4 his parents went back and legally changed it to, let's say, Matthew.

And my mother always used what she thought was her given name. When she was about to marry for the first time, at age 30+, she got a copy of her baptismal certificate and discovered that she'd been baptized under a longer version of the same name.

Which is to say that it's not a sign that the parents are terminally weird if they change a kid's name. It can and does happen more often than you think.

Posted by: PLozar | March 24, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

And it sometimes happens that parents feel obligated to name a child after a relative, say a grandmother or grandfather, even though they really don't like the name. So they use the kid's middle name instead. I had a friend whose name was, let's say, Hortense, Jennifer Smith. Everyone knows here as Jenny Smith, not as Hortense Smith. But she has had to endure that awful name on her birth certificate because changing it would have mortally offended her matriarch grandmother.

Posted by: emily8 | March 24, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"Well, Rosie Greer has gone through life just fine. And then named his son Rosie Greer Jr. :)"

To be honest, though, his real name is Roosevelt Grier. He was named after FDR.

To me, there's a big difference between giving a child a nickname and changing the child's name. I know many, many people who go by a nickname - sometimes off their middle name. "Kate" instead of "Katherine"; "Beth" or "Liz" instead of "Elizabeth." "John Matthew" who goes by "Matt." That's very different from deciding that "Elvis" should be "Sanders".

(Rosey Grier is also big enough to beat the living tar out of somebody who makes fun of his nickname. I'm willing to bet he practiced some of his defensive line skills as a child on people who dared make fun of him. Rosey was also the man who got the gun away from Sirhan Sirhan after the RFK shooting.)

Posted by: m2j5c2 | March 24, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"We finally found a name - highly unusual name, actually, that we LOVE. Suits the kid, and it's great."

I bet it's Myron. Or Dweezil.

Posted by: dcd1 | March 24, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

You are amazing! I loooove it that you went to all that trouble to wind up with just the right name . . . it give such positive energy. http://lipstickdaily.com

Posted by: ElaineatLipstickdaily | March 24, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"Is there a back up topic today? How many different ways are there to call the author a nitwit?"

Well, Jezebel, just look at your back history of posts. I'm sure you'll find a few hundred ways you called people nitwits.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 24, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

We didn't want to know the genders of either one of our kids before they were born (I firmly think it's cheating), so my parents nicknamed both our daughters "Pending" before they were born.

As far as names go, we believe that the meaning of a name is just as, if not more important than, the name itself because it can help shape the person's destiny. We also have a tradition of not announcing the baby's name right away, but at the naming ceremony which is held on the first new moon or first full moon after the baby's born (we're Wiccans). We did put the name on the birth certificate before leaving the hospital, but we gave everyone strict instructions not to reveal the name because it wasn't the naming day yet. The hospital staff cooperated wonderfully with this, and the reaction to making giving the name a formal event was overwhelmingly positive, and they all thought it was a neat idea.

I've encountered my share of weird names too. One of my friends had a boy that she named William Robert too (yes, I commented on how he's gonna be called Billy Bob all his life-poor kid!), I heard of another named Polly Esther (what was her mom thinking?), and my husband shares the same first name as his older brother! His brother was one of the kids from his mom's first marriage, he was from his mom's second marriage and was named after his father. To keep the confusion down, his family simply calls him "Junior." I, however, call him by his given name, and it always confuses my youngest niece because she grew up calling him Junior too!

But by far the worst name I heard was encountered during my security days. Part of the assignment was logging down driver's license names and numbers, and one fateful day I ran across one where I took one look and burst out laughing.

The driver's name? Mike Hunt (Say it fast, and you'll understand why I feel sorry for the poor guy, going through life with a name like that!).

Every time I think names can't get any weirder, somebody always throws me another curveball.

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | March 24, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and my mom didn't think her name was unusual enough, so she 'changed' it when she was a teenager. Most people did not know that the name she was known by was not her real name.

On the death certificate it has her 'new' name and then aka her 'official' name. We used her 'new' name on the headstone, since obviously that's what she was known by and that's what she liked.

But she never changed it, it was just the name she used for everything. To be fair it wasn't incredibly different from her given name, but still...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 24, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"The musings of a teenage, high school drop-out....."

Jezebel-you are an outright nasty b****. You disgust me beyond words. You don't know Ms. Kintner nor do you know or even think that perhaps she is a witty writer who cares deeply about her family. Plus well-educated to boot. With all your postings you are probably the high school dropout who obviously wasn't in ANY crowd, which is why you are such a god awful person.

"With a name like Kelcey yourself, it's no wonder you named your kid Presley. What the hell were you thinking. You got what you deserve. I just feel sorry for the kid. On one count, for having a goofy name, and on the second count for having goofy parents. I'm glad I don't know you personally."
Ms. Najjar-may YOU get what you deserve, which hopefully will be something really bad. And I can bet that Kelcey is happy she doesn't know you either!

Posted by: als43 | March 25, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The most important thing that parents need to know before they name their kids is that if they choose a name that is unusual, hard to spell or hard to pronounce, they are signing that kid up for a lifetime of hassle and resentment.

Posted by: Annapolis1 | March 26, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Great post!

Posted by: laniet | March 28, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

This was a fun, playful article. Why people felt to send nasty comments her way is beyond me.

For all those who seem motivated to send snark around, try thinking about the fact that there are real people behind these columns with real feelings. If you want to know what you look like to the rest of the world, check out Kelcey's reaction to the ugliness posted here. [You're excused, jezebel. It seems to be your mission in life.]

http://www.mamabirddiaries.com

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 29, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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