Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Rose by Any Other Name

Several people have written me to comment on my kids' names. Yes, they're all named after cities. Yes, Clayton is actually a city even though it doesn't sound like one. The thing about Clay is that we were running out of good city names by the time we got to him and we had a hard time deciding on a name. We didn't have a name picked out until the day after he was born despite plenty of "helpful" suggestions from family and friends. Let's see if I can recall some of their wonderful name ideas. There was

Schenectady
Tallahassee
Paul & Minnie (St. Paul and Minneapolis) if I had boy/girl twins
Albuquerque
Tuscaloosa
Chattanooga
Punxsutawney
and of course, Rancho Cucamonga

As awesome as all these suggestions were, I figured I'd probably mess my child up enough on my own without giving him a name he'd never be able to spell. Can you imagine the therapy bill for a kid named Punxsutawney?

By the time I was in labor, I'd narrowed down my choices to Dallas, Houston, Branson, and Clayton. (Yes, I used a copy of Rand McNally to get ideas.) My husband and I couldn't decide so we let our other kids pick the baby's name from those four choices. Austin and Savannah both voted for Clayton. Jackson, on the other hand, opted to call him Slicker. In fact, he called him Slicker for about a year at which point Clayton became known as "Baby Day-on" which is how Lexi pronounced Clayton at the time. It could have been worse. Jackson wanted to call him Nemo at first.

My point is - you pour over baby name books for nine months agonizing over the all important question - what will I name my baby so no one will give him a goofy nickname? It seems that for every choice you can think of, there is an unappealing nickname just waiting to attach itself to your baby. (Not to mention trying to find a name that doesn't remind you of someone you hated in highschool.)

You can insist and demand that your little Joseph never be called anything but Joseph, but by the time he's in kindergarten, he'll be known as Joe or Joey to someone. And if that doesn't happen, he'll acquire a nickname like Skipper, Spaz, Rhino, or some other equally ridiculous moniker that will stick with him for life. It just happens. You might as well accept that.

And really, I'm not sure why I bothered to give my kids names at all. I can never remember them. I spit and sputter, going through a list of disjointed syllables. "AusSavaJacksClaytonReid get over here right now!" It's very hard to sound authoritative when you can't remember your child's name. For some reason, the kids just don't take you seriously when you say, "JacksSav, er ClayLex, grrr whatever your name is! You know who you are!"

My dad used to call my poor sister "Corky". Corky was the dog. We thought he was crazy. Now I know the truth. We made him crazy.

220 comments:

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Shannon **Gabi's Mom** said...

My 14 yr old wanted to name our 9 month old Alfonz! Yeah right! We went with Preston!

Chelf said...

A girl my sis babysat wanted to name her new brother "Argapooteous". You will have to ask her how to spell it. :-)

City of note: Truth Or Consequences in NM (named on a dare from the show), commonly referred to as T or C.

We named our cat for a city in OK, his name was Medford.

My mom taught a whole family of kids who were named Free something: Free Freedom Freeland Freeda, and there were at least two more I can't remember.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! I have 2 daughters, Ashley and Megan and a mutt named Reba. I am always asking Ashley if she's let Megan out to potty yet. Ashley just looks at me and responds with "yes mom, I let REBA out to potty" all the while giggling. Poor little Megan just looks at me, shakes her head and walks away.

moralis94 said...

That sounds so like my youngest older brother he used to swear his name was tedjonbillchrisrichard. I love your blog. As the youngest of nine they so remind me of how we were growing up. Thank you for taking the time to write them.

March Hare said...

The town of Clayton isn't too far from where I live!

As for remembering names... Early on we discovered we couldn't not keep the kids'--including nephews and nieces--names straight, so we started calling them all "George." When they turned to see who we were talking about, we'd point and say, "You George." When DD#1 was born (the first girl in the family), we discussed calling her "Georgia," but decided that was too much trouble. All the kids are now "George," despite what it might say on their birth certificate! We do get some odd looks when we are all together at a public place and have to call the kids. Can't imagine why! ;)

Sharon said...

Haha we have a running joke in our house when we get stuck with thich child we are talking to we just go "George, fred and Mildred!" OR "Tom, dick and Harry" there names are Madelaine, Bradley and William. Isnt it funny when you forget there names when you are mad or frustrated with them? I am a studying stay at home mum of three who has just got her first away from home job in 13 years and finding life hectic! And you always make my chaotic life seem normal Thanks ever so much.
Sharon from Australia

Beth said...

I am hysterical - why? Because I was born and raised in Schenectady!

How do you pronounce it?

Skin-Neck-titty

(we had hand gestures to go with the phonics too)

Glad you skipped over that suggested name!

My husband wanted to name this baby Todd Rexford (We live in Rexford).

Why do you ask did he come up with that combination?

T-Rex - great nickname, Huh?

We had a girl (thank GOD!)

Elena said...

I was called "Youwhateveryournameis" quite a few times in my life. But, then again, so were my two sisters and my two brothers! By the way, my mom is actually from Cucamonga!!!

Anonymous said...

you are so funny my Dad did the same thing but he finally would sputter out George (which none of us were named) get over here now!! and I hate to admit even though I only have two I have been know to trip over their names!!

Richmond said...

It's all good. My given name is Richmond. And I am a *girl* - a big blonde girl who goes by "Rich." (Or lil' Rich if you're family.) Your kids will be fine...

stephanie said...

Dawn you are so funny! there were 8 kids in my familey and every one woul call me either jestephanie or hasteph
and my sister stallie ;-]

Waitingonyou2 said...

Being 1 of 5, I completely relate.

My father used to go through all our names, my mother's, the dogs and the girl who lived down the street before he gave up and pointed at the child he wanted.

Now with two stepchildren of my own I frequently find myself mixing up our son with the dog. It wouldn't be so bad if their names were similar or even started with the same letter, but you know it's bad when you tell you say to your son, Fischer, "Swiper (dog's name) sit down before you knock over your cup!" or "Maddie, (our other dog's name) stop rocking back in the chair! You'll break the legs!"

How'd you come up with your kid's nicknames, by the way?

Raven Maiden said...

When it came to naming my kids, I narrowed the choices down to 3 then I stood out on my back porch and yelled those 3 names for about 15 minutes each. The ones I still liked hearing after that long are the ones I picked! Quinn and Kaden. LOL!

Stephanie said...

My brother's nickname is Bodge. It has been since birth and I often accidentally call him that when I call for him at work or someplace forgeting that its not actually his name.
My father is to thank for that brilliant one. My nickname growing up, also invented by my father, was 'whew'. Fortunately that one didn't stick. Dont think my delicate teenaged psyche could have handled that. Though my aunt invented Steffer the Heffer when I was about 12 but it wasnt too insulting considering I was about 5'7 and about 80 pounds with ribs poking out...

Rachel Marie said...

How about "Rotten " for a nickname? Yes, I know it sounds so mean, but it just stuck! My husband started calling our 3rd child "rotten" when she was just a baby- because she had him wrapped around her finger already. Now she's two and when asked what daddy calls her she says with a smile "Rotten!"

Liz said...

Very funny. I missed your posts while I was visiting relatives...roadtrip...lots of time to notice city names...one of my favorite...GREEN...the other is BATH...yes, Ohio

thanks for the smiles

Anonymous said...

Hey Dawn,
I found some names for you, Bob, Sandy,North Dakota & South Dakota {for twin girls}, and Ireland lol

Meagan said...

Like everyone else, I am reminded of my grandmother who had to cycle through a bunch of grandkids to find the right one...and of course, it was always the boys...Craig, Keith, Colin, Kevin, Kyle...it was always too funny...until it struck me and I only have two kids and their names are not at all similar and don't start with the same letter! GRRR!

But even funnier is my little brother. His childhood nickname was 'Squeak' - he squeaked his bottle as a baby and the name stuck...but now he's a 33 year old sargeant in the Air Force and we STILL call him 'Squeak' out of habit. It really gets his men all hysterical that their big, tough boss is called Squeak by his big sister! My son even calls him Uncle Squeak! It's too funny! :)

Katrina said...

My Great Grandmother had 13 children and calling them all by name to come to dinner was a rather long process so she would just yell " John, William, Henry, Francis". And since those were not any of their names they knew that it ment they should all come. She was an amazing women with a wonderful sense of humor.

Brooke B said...

This is so true! I did this as a kid myself cause I was the 2nd of 11 and the oldest girl. I was the second mom. I did the whole go- through-a-bunch-of-siblings-names-then-finally-point-and-yell, "YOU!"
Now I have four of my own and a dog and I still mix them up.
True story though, just yesterday my brother Christian was visiting from out of state. My DH had just told my DS Brenden to grab the church bag and take it out to the van. On the way out the door, I'm looking at my son and saying, "Christian, didn't Dad just tell you to take the church bag out to the van?!? Um, I mean Brenden." I'm mixing up my brother with my son! My poor brother probably doesn't want to come back! He's getting yelled at for things my son's not doing!

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