Out here on the interwebs, well meaning types often caution parents about all sorts of Horrible Problems That Will Inevitably Occur if you do X, Y, or Z.
One of the biggies? If you name your child First Middle, but plan to call him Middle, it will be a Hassle and a Headache. Save yourself! Spare your child!
Except … I re-named myself legally as an adult. For so many reasons, I kept my birth name as my first name, and adopted a new middle that matched the nickname I’d been using for a few years. And so I became Amy Abigail, A. Abigail, Abby.
This sounds confusing, and indeed, it has its moments. But they’re very rare. This week, I had two separate occasions to mention my full legal name. In both cases, it would have been a surprise to the other person hearing it. I’m always, only Abby Sandel in real life.
In one case, the person said, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Maybe she’ll ask about it later. In the second case? He didn’t even comment. I suspect I’ll have to remind him at some point.
My sense is that LOTS of us are members of the call-me-by-my-middle club, whether by design from birth or personal choice later in life. If either of those categories includes you, tell me: is it a hassle? Or does it work for you?
- What’s the statute of limitations on adding a middle name to your child’s birth certificate? Because Kim Kardashian has been longing to use Noel for years, and is now unofficially calling her daughter Chi Noel. Kanye’s not into it, though, so even though it’s Kim’s middle, it’s not likely to be added to their daughter Chicago’s birth certificate. On the one hand, I’m used to kids adding confirmation names later in life, and sometimes using them in social settings. (For example, I know someone who added her confirmation name to her wedding invitations.) And as adults, I feel like we’re free to do whatever we want. But I find it interesting that Khloe didn’t give her daughter a middle name, either, but feels that she might add one later. Is delayed middle naming a thing? Or could it – should it – be one? Or is this strictly Kardashian?
- While we’re talking celebrities, did you see that Dean Sheremet and Vanessa Black named their son Atlas Wilding? That middle name! Wilder is trending, but Wilding turns it up to eleven.
- Okay, this article is from all the way back in 2013, but the analysis is interesting. I really like the way the alternative naming strategies are broken down. (Though some things have changed, and diehard name enthusiasts will probably quarrel with a few details.) But he makes a great point: If the kid is awesome, then (a weird name) is awesome. This always strikes me as the challenge of a really out-there name. I was an awkward, self-conscious kid. I think I would have liked a really unusual name … but would it have just made me feel even more out-of-place? We shall never know …
- On a far more current note, Laura Wattenberg analyzes the State of the (Baby Naming) Union. In brief, statistically speaking, there is no more “normal” in baby names. While “fracturing” doesn’t necessarily seem like a good thing, the flip side is that we have tremendous freedom in naming. Because a “weird” name is only an issue if other people will identify it as such.
- There are so many names that I expected to be big. And they just sort of fizzled. Emily has a profile up on one: Giselle. Because how fun was Amy Adams in Enchanted?
- More name quotes from Nancy. LOVE the one about Donna! It’s always surprising when I meet a child with a name like Barbara or Linda, names that are lovely and strong and classic, but belong – at least in my mind – to an earlier generation. Which reminds me: I used to wonder if Barbara Bush was super-jealous of her twin sister’s name, Laura.
- A boy named Harper Glen, brother to Charlie Ash and Nolan Robert! My take on the unisex names conundrum: if we can name girls Logan, we can name boys Harper. The problem isn’t that we’re borrowing from the boys for our daughters, it’s that we perceive that those names somehow become off-limits for boys once it starts happening. And yet I wonder if I’m being naive about that? Maybe it really does feel different for the boys answering to Riley and Madison, along the lines of the “weird” names mentioned earlier?
- Turns out there’s a reason we confuse the names of our kids – and pets!
That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!