Picking a Name for Your Child
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Picking a Name for Your Child
What's in a name?
I'm a caucasian male married to an Asian female. We have
a child who has my last name. As a nod to my wife's
culture, we gave our first child an Asian first name.
Next month we're going to have a second child and we're
debating names. My wife wants to, again, give the second
kid an Asian first name. She argues that it'd be weird if
one child had an obviously Asian first name and the other
had an obviously non-Asian first name. Also, she says
that since the kids have my last name, it's only fair that
they have an Asian first name.
I want my wife to be happy and I want my children to have
appropriate names, but I don't like feeling as if I have
to agree upon an Asian name or I'm a jerk. What about my
culture and the traditional names of my family? I thought
it would be fair and logical for one kid to have an Asian
name and one to have a non-Asian name, but my wife doesn't
agree. What to do? Other factors or perspectives that I
should take into consideration?
What about my heritage?
Oh boy. What's in a name? Everything. Would you be
willing to give your kids your wife's last name in
exchange for first names that reflect your heritage? Why
the resistence to ''sharing?'' Your culture is reflected in
their last name already, let her have the first names.
I know multi-cultural people whose parents did not give
them names that reflected their culture, and they hated
that how they looked on paper was not who they really were.
My kids have ''cultural'' names and love it. They identify
as mixed and like that people immediately know that they
--Don't whitewash the kids!
I think your wife is right on both points. Since your
child will have your last name, I don't see any
unfairness, and I also think the alternative would be
difficult for the sibling dynamics. But how about going
for a name from your own family heritage as a middle
name? Your child may very well end up using it as a
primary name when he or she gets older.
First I have to say that your wife, in my eyes, has a valid
point; what about her heritage? Yours is present in the
surname. But having said that, the object should probably
be compromise and consensus rather than competition. What I
see very often in my Cal students are hyphenated surnames
(part Asian, part-European) or two different given names, a
Korean one, say, and a European one. The child then decides
ultimately which name to use. Often the names are chosen to
sound alike: Su yuan and Susan, for example. Or they can be
chosen for meaning, with similar meanings attached to both
names: Rose and the Chinese word for rose. Your children
have both heritages to enjoy, so it seems that their names
could reflect that. I don't see it as a problem, but as an
yet another ethnic mix
I have to agree with your wife. I am from France, my
husband is American. When i was pregnant 5 years ago, it
was very important to me my son be given a French name. If
we have another child the same thing will happen.
You are wondering about your culture? Your children are
being raised in this country and have your last name. So
your culture is actually already getting way more
attention than your wife's. Aside from what she can teach
them everything is in that name! It is a lot of work to
truly raise a bi-cultural child and the name does make a
People here are very used to foreign names and mostly
embrace them. When we go to France people always tell my
son ''oh what a lovely French name'' and he loves that they
recognize it that way. It really helps with raising a
truly bi-cultural child, which i assume is important to
Maybe give your second child an American middle name. That
way if he/she prefers it they can use their middle name as
A naming convention that seems both logical and honors both
cultures... , with a mixed family such as yours, in the US
context, would be for all kids to take the father's last name
(which is a strong nod to his heritage as the last name
carries on) and for the first name of each child to be from
the mother's culture/family.
If you use middle names, it seems appropriate to have that
name from the father's family. Additional middle names could
Hi, Since you asked, I think it would be odd for one child
to have an Asian name and another to have a Western name.
For consistency purposes, I would stick to the plan that you
had originally - Asian first name and then your obviously
non-Asian last name.
I have friends who chose a very common name for their first
child and then with the second picked an unusual
semi-foreign name. I have to say that every time I hear the
kids names, I think to myself that the two names just don't
''go together''. I have thought this about other sets of
sibling names as well. Both my children have very classic
names and given that we'd gone that direction with the
first, I felt that we should limit our choices for the
second to names of a similar style.
If you think about choices that other families have made,
you'll probably notice that most have some sort of
consistency to them (e.g. both popular, both foreign, both
classic, both trendy, etc). Good luck!
Well, since you asked...I completely agree with your wife,
actually. I kept my last name, but our child has my
husband's last name. And I felt the same way when it came
to names, and not because of a particular ethnicity. But
I truly feel that because the child has my husband's last
name, if we're going to use a family name for a first or
middle name, it should come from my family. The kid (or
kids) obviously get a piece of your heritage by their last
name. Why shouldn't they get to honor your wife's
heritage too when it comes to names? And on a separate
note, I also agree that it might set up an odd dynamic to
give one baby a completely Asian first name and the other
something entirely different.
Kept my last name too
Looking past whose heritage gets to be represented by type
of name, I bet your two children would feel more unity if
they both had first names from the same culture,
especially since they will have the same last name. I'm
with your wife on this one!
Your kids have your last name. That's from your heritage.
AND you are probably living here, right? they are being
raised in your culture.
I do think it would be odd for one child to have an Asian
name and the other not to. Why not just give your new child
an Asian first name and non-Asian middle name? You may find
that the middle name is what sticks anyway, but your child
can always have that Asian name as a visible connection to
If you want to be 100% fair, it's easy. Just give your next child your wife's family
(Asian) last name and a ''caucasian'' first name.
This is like my husband lamenting, at the time of our marriage, that there was
no way to acknowledge both our last names, so I would have to change mine. I
told him, I'll change my last name to your last name and you change your middle
name to my last name. He refused.
I'm the mom in a intercultural marriage. Our kids have the
same name configuration that exemplifies both our
cultures. I think it would be weird for them not too. I
recc agreeing on an asian first name. Your last name
carries your culture, heritage & bloodline. Your kids are
mixed & their names should reflect that.
The most important thing is that your child will have to
live with a name, which means pick something from whatever
language that is understandable in the United States and
doesn't need to be spelled and pronounced several times to
everyone for the rest of your child's life. How annoying
is that! So now you can compromise. Make sure that the
first and last name flow together - it doesn't matter if
they come from different languages. It's like composing
music or writing a poem or putting a coordinated outfit
together. It's a design and since there are endless
possibilities, there will be several you will both like.
naming can be tough-- sorry it is a point of stress. I can
only share our own experience as a point of reference
of ''what's weird''. My husband and I negotiated names as
well partly because I did not take his last name and we
both wanted to honor both sides of our families names and
heritage (as you stated)- so our kids have ''rare'' names and
each has a different last name. My son has my last name and
my daughter has my husband's last name. We don't think
it's weird because we really like both of our kids names
and that different last names isn't really a big deal, but
I know that OTHER people (like my kids' kindergarten
teacher) thought it was weird. I hope your discussion with
your wife brings you to a name you are both comfortable
with-- there are so many names, there's got to be one out
there that meets her Asian criteria and your need for an
appropriate name. Try switching roles and come up with
names following each other's criteria and see if you come
up with something you like?
It seems to me that it would only be fair to give the second
child a non-asian name if you were planning to give the
child your wife's last name (assuming she kept her own name).
Will pick all my children's names so long as they take my husband's surname
I can see both you and your wife's points of view. It's
definitely challenging to mutually agree on a name for your
baby. It seems like you have these options for your second
child, which can hopefully be a compromise so that both of
your heritages are reflected in his/her name.
1) Asian first name + your last name (and maybe a middle
name from your side of the family)
2) Western first name + Asian middle name + your last name
3) Western first name + your wife's Asian last name
If your older child has an Asian first name, then it would
be nice for your younger one to have an Asian first name as
well because they are siblings.
You asked about your heritage. Isn't your last name an
important part of your heritage that you've given to your
your name is your virtue
I think your wife has been generous. If your children both
are to have your last name, they will already have one name
that represents your culture and family tradition, with the
added advantage that your name may even be passed down to
the next generation. She has settled for the first names,
which will not be passed down.
Honestly, I think the fair thing to do is give the next
child her last name, and your choice of a first name. That
would be real equity. And yes, we did this with our children.
Two children with different last names
Since you asked... I agree with your wife, what she proposes
sounds ''fair'' to me. The other solutions are:
- 2nd has her last name, you pick the name according to your
- both children have a hyphenated last name with both of
your last names. One has a name you choose, the other a
name your wife chooses.
But this almost sounds like a parent's battle over name
rights... I think it'd be best to find a solution that
feels comfortable to both and to achieve that you both have
to be willing to let go of something (which in the scenario
you propose sounds like you are not letting go...).
By the way, we gave our eldest a name that has a meaning in
Hawaiian and our youngest one that had similar sound and
spelling patterns but no Hawaiian meaning and our youngest
is so bummed that his name does not mean anything in Hawaiian!
Isn't having your last name taking your heritage into account? And in a more
lasting way, too, as your last name can survive through subsequent generations
(even if you have a daughter) where as all first names are for that generation
Don't forget that as a caucasian male, ALL the stuff you see around you is pretty
much ''your'' tradition. It may seem invisible at times, but that's just a testament
to how ubiquitous white culture is.
white in name only
I must say, I agree with your wife. Your kids already get
your last name, so they have no doubt about their
heritage. An Asian first name for both seems like a
reasonable compromise to me.
your wife is right.
Often, parents seem to like the names of their children to
be similar, so I can see your wife's point. We have
friends whose children are named Ian & Owen, Julia & Joe &
Jim, Mikah & Max, Casey & Cailin & Cole, Lars & Annika
(they obviously went the Scandinavian route), Eli & Jacob
(biblical names), Amber & Autumn. It creates some sort of
How do you think your children will feel about the fact
that they have extremely different names? I am from a
family of 5 and never liked my name. Everyone else had at
least fairly modern names, yet mine is plain. If I had a
sibling with an Asian name, I would want to have one
Just two perspectives to consider.
FWIW, though I don't think that siblings' names
necessarily have to ''match'' in linguistic or cultural
background or in any other way, I agree with your wife on
the ''fairness'' question: if your kids are given your
surname, then they already have one ''non-Asian'' name. So
if it's balance you're after, the first name should
be ''Asian.'' (Or, of course, you could give baby #2 your
preferred first name and your wife's surname.)
That leaves you with the middle name, if any, as
But also, you could just give up on the whole ''fairness''
thing being important, and consider all names that each of
you likes, independently of linguistic or cultural
source. Or you could, as many of my friends in cross-
cultural marriages of one sort or another do, look for
a ''crossover'' name, something with meaning to both of you
and pronounceable by both extended families.
If you're trying to name the baby after a particular
relative, consider using the same first initial or the
same name ''meaning'' instead of the actual name.
For example, ''Hana'' is a Japanese name that could
correspond to either ''Hannah'' (phonetically) or ''Flora''
(both mean ''flower'').
you are giving your child your name - your last name. or
you could give the second child your wife's family's last
name. what is fair and logical about one kid with asian
name + white name and the seoncd kid with white name +
white name? That is 75% not 50%. Anyways, good luck,
you're not a jerk, but I am totally on your wife's side.
I have an Asian father and Caucasian mother. Both my brother and I have
boring common first names that are white names. Both of us have Asian
middle names. For whatever reason, my brother has always been called by his
white first name, and I have always been called by my asian middle name. It
never seemed weird. I never really thought about it. So, to argue on your side,
I would say: the kids probably LOOK more like her, so their name should
reflect more on you, it's no big deal for one to have an Asian name and the
other not, maybe you could give the second child an asian middle name.
But, to argue for your wife, I would say: let's give the kid a more unusual
name so that there aren't five kids in his class with the same name! He's
going to speak English and be more culturally American, so why not add some
I think the heritage thing isn't really an argument unless you truly believe that
you are culturally Irish or German or French or whatever. My caucasian side is
English/French, but my mom is not culturally either--but my dad is very
And, speaking as a female, I will say that giving up your own last name to a
married name is a bit of a sacrifice, so maybe you can look at it that way
(assuming she changed her last name) If she didn't, then maybe Baby #2
should have a white first name and her maiden name as their last name.
It sounds like what your wife is proposing is that if your
culture and heritage is reflected in the last name of both
children, hers should be reflected in the first. What's the
problem? Seems fair to me. Or are you saying that this
second child is, in fact, going to have your wife's family's
last name? In which case, yes, I think you should be able to
ask that the first name be something non-Asian.(Our two kids
do have different last names; their daddy picked the first
for the girl with my last name, and I picked the first for
the girl with his last name. Seemed fair to us.)
It's just a name
i sympathize with you. name selection can be hard. you
should both be happy with the name selection. i think that's
important since the child will have the name forever.
hopefully you can find a way to compromise.
my friends put the wife's last name as a middle name, which
helped represent her culture. even though you didn't do that
for your first, it could still work for the second.
also, maybe you could find names that you both like that try
to represent both. for example, some names mean something in
japanese and gaelic, etc. i saw several when we were looking
for names. you can look on name sites and see what has
meanings in both.
my friend did names that were just really pretty and were
not totally obviously from one culture. they are chinese and
american [not sure exact background] and they went with Nia.
Nia means something in chinese and i think it might mean
something gaelic. also, though, the name isn't obviously
from one culture. anyway, hope this helps. be kind to each
other. it's a hard thing to find a name!
Well, my husband has a Welsh background; I have a Russian
A long time ago we said any girls would have my last name
and any boys would have his last name, but he had a hard
time accepting that when the time finally came.
I wanted a Russian first name, too. We had to debate at
the hospital for 3 days after our daughter was born,
finally we agreed on what felt like a 50/50 solution:
Welsh first name (his heritage/preference);
two middle names: my grandmother's name & his last name
My last name (not shared or hyphenated)
I think that's fair. 50 / 50 on first / last names
50/50 on middle names which don't carry as much weight.
So I say if you want your heritage as the first name, the
kid should have her last name.
If there is just one family last name & it's yours, then I
thing her heritage has sway on the first name. If you
want to be fair...
don't understand the 'his last name' tradition
Don't be silly, your second child will have your last name
and represent your heritage that way. Let your wife have
her way on the Asian first name and work with her to find
one that you also like.
Caucasian Mom married to Asian Dad
We were in your situation 2 years ago and have similar
ethnic backgrounds. Our 1st born has an Asian first name
and my husband's last name and a ''non Asian middle name''. I
wanted my 2nd child to have an Asian name too but really
liked a non Asian name so he has non Asian first name and
Asian middle name. My compromise was to give him an Asian
middle name b/c it was important to me to make sure in his
name there was my heritage/culture. They will always have a
connection to their Asian roots through their name whether
it is first or middle. It is a big deal.
Your children will be getting your heritage by using your
last name. If you want an ''American'' first name why don't
you give her the Asian last name.
I doubt that there is a right-or-wrong answer to this, this
is about feelings and identity. But since you asked for
opinion: As a caucasian female married to an asian male, I
have to say ... I agree with your wife. The children have
your last name; an Asian first name acknowledges her
heritage, which is otherwise unacknowledged and eventually
subsumed. Your last name lives on in your children; hers
does not. So what's ''fair'' is that they have an Asian first
name and Caucasian last name.
But is fairness really the issue? Of course you both know
that this is what middle names are for! I suspect this
disagreement is symbolic of other issues--control and
legacy, who makes the key decisions in your family, whose
extended family has the most impact on you as a couple, etc.
Just a thought. Good luck and hope you both realize that
you are lucky to have each other and healthy children!!
Your heritage/culture will be represented if you give both
kids your last name. I disagree that ''it's only fair and
logical for one kid to have an Asian name and one to have a
non-Asian name.'' What is ''fair and logical'' if you want
both cultures represented, which both of you seem to want,
is for both kids to have one name that reflects your
culture and one name that reflects your wife's culture. So,
if you want to give your second child a first name that
represents your culture (traditional family name, etc.),
how about giving that child her last name? I know families
that have done this and it seems to have worked out fine
for them. You might think this is ''weird,'' but some might
say it's also ''weird'' (as your wife pointed out) for the
kids to have different types of first names. Having a lot
of relatives and friends who are bi/multi racial, I feel
that giving biracial kids names that reflects both cultures
is a way for them to feel proud of both cultures, and an
added bonus in your case might be that others will have an
idea of which specific cultures your kids are from (German?
Irish? Italian? Vietnamese? Japanese? South Asian? Etc.?).
If you both don't want to give your kids different last
names, a compromise might be to give the second child an
Asian first name and a non-Asian middle name. I think it's
great that you're talking about giving both of your
children names that represent both cultures. Good luck!
I am an Asian female and my husband is a Caucasian male.
We gave both our children Asian first names. They carry
their father's last name. We gave the children Asian
first names because they are, in fact, half Asian and we
wanted that reflected in their name - not lost in the
middle name, but up front.
While I can understand that you may feel resentful about
not having as great a say in choosing your second-born's
first name as you would like, I think using the same
naming convention will be most helpful/least divisive to
your children. As giving an English/American name is the
norm, if you give your second child a ''normal'' first name,
your first born may wonder if you somehow thought that
giving him or her an Asian name was a mistake. You would
also invite questions from friends and strangers about why
only one has an Asian name. Is the firstborn somehow
designated to carry on the Asian legacy, while the
secondborn is to carry on the Caucasion one? I don't
think these are questions you want your children to ask
themselves, never mind having to field them from curious
Your heritage is strongly reflected in the use of your
last name. After all, that is the ''family'' they belong
to, at least as indicated by their name. Our two children
have middle names that reflect my husband's
family/heritage, and that is something that you and your
wife may want to consider if you have not already.
I hope you can find the balance that works for your
Sorry, but I totally agree with your wife. Your heritage/lineage is reflected in
their last name. Also, I think it would be really weird for your kids (from their
perspective as they grow up) to have two different ''kinds'' of names.
Someone's going to get a complex here, and who can afford that?
Not to take this too far, but it seems there is a risk of potentially stigmatizing
the kid with the Asian name, or, conversely, the risk of the 2nd feeling left out
of his mother's culture. It could be perceived that it was a ''fad'' at the time of
the first baby, but you (mom and dad) didn't think it important enough to
name the 2nd baby in the same vein.
I know none of these evil outcomes is your intent, I'm just trying to think of
other sides as you asked. There's nothing wrong with wanting your child to be
named after one of your family members. I wanted to name my kids 3 names
because it was so hard to make that compromise!
Maybe you could compromise on the middle name? Or give the baby two
middle names. Good luck.
Why not find a name that works in both cultures? My Asian
friend who married a Hispanic man has one daughter named
Naya (or Naya Lin), which sounds perfectly reasonable from
a non-Asian standpoint, but also works as an Asian name.
(they have two other kids too, one with more of a Mayan-
type name and one other that's sort of made up Hispanic-
ish, and it doens't seem particularly odd that they have
different types of names.
It sounds a little from your post as though you feel like
you don't get to choose, which is possibly a bigger issue.
You might also consider the possibility of both kids
having a hyphenated last name. Or try to express (kindly,
open-mindedly) how strong your desire is to have a certain
Steer away from tit for tat type arguments one way or the
other (from her or you). Your kids are people, not
playthings that you get to name a certain way just to
balance out the power. (which I'm kind of getting from
your post). Acknowledge her desires, state yours, and
maybe you can find a compromise. Try counseling if it will
make you both feel better.
You said: ''I don't like feeling as if I have to agree upon
an Asian name or I'm a jerk.'' The truth hurts, doesn't it?
Your wife is in the right here, and you're being a jerk.
You ask, What about my heritage? Isn't your heritage
represented in your children's surname? Could it be further
represented in a middle name as well? Why is your heritage
more important than your wife's?
Also, don't underestimate how much it will impact your kids
to have different kinds of names. They will wonder why and
may or may not believe what you tell them. When I was a kid,
my brother and sister both had names that started with D,
and my name starts with A, so I always felt a little like
the odd one out, if you can believe it. It didn't exactly
scar me, but I wondered why I was ''different'' from my
brother and sister.
I didn't see the original post but after seeing the replies had to add my two
in our family the father is asian, mother is caucasian. first child
has an asian
name, second child has a western name. I think it is completely fine to mix
cultures like this. We love the names of our children, so we feel they fit
together nicely. Best advice is to just find a name, whatever source, that you
really love the sound of. Funnily enough, the child with the asian name looks
totally like the caucasian side of the family, the child with the western name
looks totally asian. But somehow they each suit their names. With the second
child, we wanted a western name but picked a rare old historical name so
that it is recognizably western (important to us) but yet unusual enough to
suit the child's unusual looks. By the way, one important consideration: I
love my first child's asian name, but EVERYONE mispronounces it, starting
with the drs in the hospital, and that drives me absolutely nuts. Make sure
you try the name out with native English speakers so you know how it will
Naming is hard
After reading the posts, I don't think you are out of line.
My husband is Chinese and I am Caucasian and our son has a
name that is special to us (named for where we fell in love).
His middle name is generically Chinese (Lee) which happens
also to be my middle name as well as my husbands. We figured
that it would be funny to all have the same middle name.
His last name is that of my husband (Chinese). I personally
don't think that you need a ethnic name just to fit in.
Oddly enough, my husband has a totally Caucasian first name
(John) and his sister is named Thor and his brother is named
Sue. So, if anything his siblings were taunted as kids for
their unusual names that defied gender lines.
For me, your child will fit in because they are your child.
I tend to agree with you on this. I don't think your wife
should dictate names based on ethnicity -- if you can't
reach a decision, compromise and name the child for a place
that you both like or a character from a book you both admire.
For those of you who have a name that can be for both
genders, (such as Erin/Aaron, Ronnie, Leslie, Sam/Samantha,
Ariel, Jamie) how do you feel about it? We are considering
the name Leslie for a baby girl and this could also be a
I don't think of ''Fran'' as being gender-neutral, but I get
mail addressed to ''Mr Fran'' so I guess it is. I don't let
it bother me. My children are Aaron and Alix (my daughter
has been spelling it ''Alex'' lately) and sometimes people get
confused about who's the boy and who's the girl. It has
never bothered either of them. Sometimes I go by
''Francesca'' when I want to be clear about gender. You could
consider giving a daughter an unambiguously feminine middle
name and allow her to go by that if she wishes. In fact, my
daughter's MIDDLE name is Alexandra and her first name is
obviously feminine, so I sometimes use it (or Alexandra) if
I think confusion might arise. (She uses her first name if
the mood suits.)
A funny story along these lines: My son wanted to spend the
night with a friend whose parents we didn't know. We left a
message for the mother asking for her OK, and she called
back asking why ''Erin'' would be needing to spend the night
at their house.
Further note: ''Aaron'' and ''Erin'' are pronounced differently
and we try to do that, but sometimes people don't notice the
If you name your son Leslie, I don't think he's going
to be too happy about it. Same re Ariel. And Erin and Aaron
are two different names (even if they are pronounced the same).
The concept of a gender neutral name is fine, but there really
aren't too many of them. And whatever you do, I personally
think it is somewhat unkind to give your child a name that
will give rise to the same comments over and over again.
("You're a girl? I thought you were going to be a boy since
your name is Michael. Is that your real name?" etc.)
Leslie is hypothetically gender neutral, but it's not in the
top 1000 names for boys any more, while it's #160 for girls.
Since the 1950s, Leslie has been used more for girls, and
now I think very few people would think of it as a boys' name.
There are plenty of gender-neutral names around at the
moment, but Leslie's not one of them--it crossed over from
male to female decades ago. The only male Leslies you'll
encounter are old men. So I don't think you need to worry
Since you asked, though, I would like to request that
parents of girls refrain from choosing names that are still
considered boy names, such as Ryan or Jasper. There are
enough great names for girls already--don't steal the few
that are still unequivocally male! (Leslie is NOT in this
category, as I already explained.)
Parent of a girl with a girl name and a boy with a (so far) boy name
While it may have been at one time, I would no longer say
Leslie is a gender neutral name. It's your business if you
want to name a boy Leslie, but he WILL be teased.
My name is Leslie and I'm female. When I was in grammar
school there were 3 of us named Leslie all in the same
class, all female. In my 58 years I've only met 2 male
Leslies, it's not a biggie at all.
My name is Leslie. I am female - 45 years old. Growing up, I was aware that
Leslie could be a boy's name, but I never met a boy named Leslie so it was not a
problem. The only boy I ever knew named Leslie was Leslie Nielsen, of AIRPORT
movie fame. As a matter of fact, throughout my life, I have only met a handful
of other Leslies. I was never teased, and the name never caused me any issues
I do have to comment on Aaron. Aaron is Hebrew. It is not a gender neutral
name. There are a lot of areas in The Hebrew Bible that could be open to
different interpretations, but Aaron's gender is not one of them. He is the
brother of Moses. Personally, If I were to meet a girl named Aaron, I would think
it was weird.
Our daughter's name is Shae and we still love that name. I
have seen the name used for a boy (though usually it is
then spelled Shea). I like it for its strength. I never
had problems with the fact that it is considered to be a
gender neutral name.
Leslie seems to me more of a girl's name than a boy's
name. I know, there are men who have that name, but is it
still common to name your boy that?
Why would you want a gender-neutral name ? Having a name
that is not clear as to gender means lots of extra,
repeated, unnecessary questions for your kid his or her
I have the same last name as a very famous psychologist, and
have told people hundreds of times that I am not related. It
benefits no one, and is terribly irritating. Please keep
this sort of thing from happening to your child.
And I find Jung irritating too.
As a child, I enjoyed my mother's story about how I
became 'Chris'. It seems choosing a gender-neutral name
ended a prolonged battle in which neither side was showing
signs of giving up.
As to the specific choice of 'Leslie', or of any name, I
recommend that parents examine every conecivable way a name
can be twisted by your child's peers. No degree of
manipulation is ''out-of-bounds'' - if you can think of it,
so can the kids.
I don't understand why there is this massive trend to using
very unique names and gender-neutral names. It makes the
parents look like they are trying way too hard. Erin
(eh-rin) is a girls name. Aaron (a-ron) is a boys name.
Growing up, whenever a boy had a girl name, they got teased
and teased pretty bad. My son has 2 girl friends (Shay,
Evan) and now, at 7 years old, they have already asked why
then can't change their names to Jessica, Stephanie,
Kelly...Be unique, use a name that is straight up plain.
A fair number of people have already advised you on having
the name Leslie, and how it is generally considered a girls'
name now. I hope that helps to resolve that issue for you.
Still, I couldn't help but put in my .02 on having a
gender-neutral name: Robin (ok, more girly in the states,
but definitely more boyish elsewhere). Anyway, I love it.
My spouse also has a gender-neutral name: Sandy (again,
more girly, but still gender-neutral). If you don't already
know us, can you guess who is what? Over the years we have
delighted in confusing and rattling people's expectations.
So, when we got our puppies, gender-neutral was a factor in
the naming. Our dogs: Taylor and Kenzie.
When we were pregnant, we worked through a whole list of
gender-neutral names and finally after much deliberation
went with a predominately boyish name: Eliot. Of course, we
had hoped (and still do) that it might become more
gender-neutral because of the female character named,
Elliot, in the TV show Scrubs.
We're just a family who enjoys keeping people guessing.
p.s. Sandy assures me that he's not minded having a name
that has become a far more popular name for a girl than a boy.
Name guru Laura Wattenberg just blogged about gender neutral
names this week:
-- name freak
I am in my eighth month of pregnancy and for various reasons
my husband and I are considering giving the baby two middle
names. Does anyone have any experience with how this works,
legally/logistically? Do you write in both names in the
''middle name'' line on the birth certificate, and then are
both names required on all legal documents going forward?
Are there any other issues I should be aware of? Thanks for
any guidance you can offer!
Two middle names are no problem as long as they don't exceed
a certain letter limit, which I think is pretty large (even
then, I was told by the person who registers the baby's name
at the hospital, you can get a special exception). My son
has three middle names, one of which is my last name and
this did not create any problems (total of 15 letters, if
that helps). All three are on his birth certificate and
social security card, but only the first two on his passport.
Mom of O.E.J.R.
When I got married, I took my husband's last name, but I
made my maiden name a second middle name. The two middle
names are on my SS card and driver's license. A lot of forms
you fill out only allow either one middle initial or one
whole middle name, but in that case I just use my first
middle name (or initial). On my credit card, I have both
middle initials. It usually is no trouble, except for
occasionally giving someone checking my id a double-take,
since the longer name pushes my last name onto a second line
of my driver's license, so they have to look a little harder
for it. Overall, I've liked having two middle names - it is
a bit unusual and I like that. I have a brother-in-law who
has two middle names that were given from birth. I think his
feeling about it also has generally been pretty positive. I
think it makes him feel a bit special (especially since his
three older brothers each have only one middle name - I
think my in-laws were trying to get one more family name in
there on their 5th and last child!)
go for it!
Our son has two middle names and they're now both on the
'middle name' line of his birth certificate. We first
received a b.c. with only the first of the two on the line
[it's a more standard middle name] and his second middle
name was on the 'last name' line along with his real last
name. But, as we chose my last name for his second middle
name, and his other mother's last name for his legal last
name, I could see where the certificate makers mighta been
confused. I'm a little confused just writing it down.
i have two middle names! it's never been a problem, and it
always made me feel a little special. both middle names are
on my birth certificate and my social security card. a lot
of forms/documents only give space for one middle
name/initial, so when i can only give one i just try to be
consistent about which one i use. i've never once had a
problem, of any sort.
one tip: be extra careful what the initials spell. i think
my parents spent so much time coming up with all my names,
they neglected to notice the somewhat unfortunate acronym
All 3 of my children have two middle names. I put both
middle names on the birth certificate and other official
type forms (taxes, social security cards) but generally just
use the first of the 2 names in other cases. Or just the
first initial when initials are asked for. No big deal, but
consider that the first of the 2 names will be more prominent.
We gave our son two middle names (my last name plus what we
thought was a ''cool'' name). Now we think of his cool name as
his special name, a nickname that we call him once in
awhile, and my last name as his middle name that we use
officially (school records, etc etc). We figure he can
always choose his cool name later if he wants to use it, but
we're really happy using my name as his official middle name.
- decided to simplify
I would not do it.It will make your childs life more
complicated and they will eventually drop one of the names is
my guess.My parents never gave me a middle name, which I was
always annoyed about,but having 2 middle names would have been
bad too.My guess is there are 2 people you want to name your
child after. Maybe you could pick a different third name to
use as a middle name and not compete the 2 names. Most people
will not ever see the birth certificate, so you could use the
2 names when refering to your child, but not have them both on
the birth certificate.
no middle name
we gave our second son two middle names, i think because we
knew he would be our last and i wanted to give as many names
as possible. just write down exactly what the names are in
the middle name field. we've told him his full name and he
doesn't really care either way. also, we have some friends
who gave both of their kids two middle names, also with no
love 2 middle names
We gave our son 2 middle names. Apparently in Europe,
Catholics often get 2 middle names but we're not catholic.
Anyway, it's no problem whatsoever. We use the first
middle name on forms where it's asked for but all names go
on the birth certificate and passport. do what you want to
do; your child will figure out later how s/he wants to deal
with it and it will not be a big problem.
I have two middle names, as well as my nephew. Yes, just list both on the
birth certificate. I like having two middle names because of the meaning
behind them--if you are considering two middle names, there is probably a
good reason. Anyway, for legal documents, middle initials can often be left
out to no effect, meaning, your middle name is rarely relevant. In fact, it is
very annoying that many documents include only one space or one block for
a middle initial when you have two! I have had credit cards issued with only
one of my middle initials because their forms couldn't handle two initials. I
was able to get some of them corrected by talking with them via telephone;
one card I just left as is. My drivers license, passport, car title and a few
other documents show my complete name, and it is easy in those situations
to get your full name listed correctly, but I have gotten so that I often omit
my middle initials and just use first and last name because most forms,
documents, etc. just won't accommodate two middle names or initials... I'd
rather show no middle initials than just one of them. But I'm glad I have two!
Love my middle names
My daughter has two middle names on her birth certificate.
I think the second one is either cut off or omitted from
her social security card (they only give you a certain
number of boxes, so I filled 'em up). She has two
passports: I believe on the US passport, she has only one
middle name; on the other passport, I think she has two
middle names (again, this was due to the space on the
forms). I registered her for schools with both middle
names, but buy her plane tickets, file taxes, etc. with
just the first middle name. I feel like the more long
lasting things (diplomas, baptism certificates, school and
medical records) should have both middle names, but more
fleeting things (plane tickets) can have one.
She her gives her child many names
Yes, just put the two names in teh middle name slot.
My husband has 2 middle names. He has both in some
documents (passport, driver's license), but regularly /
often uses just 1 of the middle names (work forms,
insurance, school, etc.)
Maybe someone has a story of names getting confused, but
it's worked out just fine for him...
we gave our daughter 2 middle names too. We'll see what
mom of baby with 2 middle names
I have two middle names, and it's no big deal. Typically,
both names go in the ''middle name'' box on birth certificates
and so on. Sometimes I only use one of them, but on legal
documents I use both. The only rare problem I've
encountered is that when the combined middle names are too
long for a database, sometimes I have to rearrange it so
that my first two names become my first name, and my second
middle name becomes my middle name. There is always a
creative solution. I thought it was weird when I was young
(partly because one of the names is not easily pronounced)
but now I like having two. Go for it!
My daughter has two middle names. Her middle name is not
hyphened. We just put both names on the middle name line of
her birth certificate. Whenever we are asked to give a
middle initial we simply give the first letter of her first
middle name. However, my daughter writes all of her first
letters (four of them)when she writes her initials. My
husband and I decided to do this to honor both of the
grandmas while choosing an original first name for her from
us. Happy Birthing!
We gave both of our sons two middle names. We just wrote
both names into the middle name line on the birth
certificate paperwork in the hospital. My eldest son is 3
and we continue to write in both middle names on any
ultra-official documents, but use just the first middle name
initial when there is only space for one letter initial. So
far no issues with that.
I had a baby a year ago and did the two middle names thing. Having no
experience with this, I just said, ''oh, okay'' when the birth certificate lady told
me that she had put the first two of the three given names in the first name
field. Big mistake. Make sure they put the two middle names in the middle
name field. Now my daughter's social security card/record shows her having a
weird, really long first name composed of the two names run together and one
middle name. We realized this when our taxes filed online were rejected
because of this. So.....
I love my daughter's name. And now I will start the process of fixing the birth
certificate lady's mistake. All three of her given names appear on her passport.
As to other legal documents, I am not sure but will guess that they ought to be
You are so smart to ask this now!
My son has two middle names--one of them quite long along
with a long last name--and we've never had any trouble. Yup,
we wrote both in on his birth certificate, which meant that
his entire last name didn't even fit. Never made any
difference. He uses one middle name or two or none when it
makes sense. Someone may know something more ''official''
about all this but this is to say we have never had any
trouble, even with travel documents, etc.
Mom of Two Middle Names-er
We did this. My son has two middle names. We just wrote
the two middle names in the middle name space on the birth
certificate. Not a big deal at all, and I know many others
who've given two (or more!) middle names as well. I suppose
anywhere he's legally required to write his middle names
he'll have to use both names or initials, but in general I
don't imagine it will have significant legal consequences.
Perhaps just a little annoying because he has a longer name.
I say, go for it!
Don't worry about it. Two middle names are easy. Just
write them in. Most legal documents only require
first/last; in cases where all names are required, just
write in all four. (My wife has two middle names, as do
We gave each of our kids two middle names (it was a
compromise on the first child, and then kinda followed with
the second). It was very easy.
We put both names down as middle names on the birth
certificate. So they are both there.
For typical paperwork, school, sports, etc, we just use the
middle name that comes first. There's only space ofr one,
and no one else cares.
The kids like having two middle names, and we made sure
they get to use all of their initials or long full names on
monograms or special projects when they so desire.
Have fun, it's no biggie later.
No Middle Name Mama
Don't worry at all about it. My daughter has two middle
names, as does my nephew, and my brother. It seems to be
a bit of a family trait!
When I named my daughter, I just filled in two names in
the ''middle name'' part on her birth certificate. Her
birth certificate and passport have her whole name on it.
For other documents, we just fill in both names - if there
is enough room. I notice that it is almost treated like a
hyphenated middle name. Sometimes there is only room for
one or some (government) documents request only one name.
In that case, we were advised to just put the ''first''
middle name down. We have NEVER had an issue with having
given her two names, nor has anyone else.
BTW, she loves her names. It makes her special
Both my children have two middle names. The older one is 12 and so far
there really haven't been any issues.
Yes, we put the two middle names into the single middle name field on the
form for the birth certificate.
Occasionally family members are a little confused because in our case the
second middle name is my maiden name. So they thought we were choosing
a hyphenated last name a few times.
I've never had any legal or official issues. If a form indicates that it must be
the full/complete/legal name then we use all four names (such as on my
son's passport and social security card).
Less official forms often don't have room for both middle names, so we just
either leave them both out, abbreviate with two middle initials, or very
occasionally just use one.
No problems or concerns at all, unless it bothers you to not fit perfectly into
all prepared forms!
I think you can give your child 12 middle names if you want.
I do have some experience with this. When I married, I
choose to take my husband's last name. I didn't want a
hyphenated last-name, but I did not wish to give up my full
maiden name. So I have two ''middle'' names. My middle name
given at birth, and my maiden name. The only thing to note
is that many, many, many forms and applications will only
accept one middle name or initial. And this will most
certainly default to whatever name is ''first'' among the
a woman with two middle names
We gave our son two middle names (a given name, and my last name) since we
didn't want to burden him with a hyphenated name, but we wanted my last
name in there too. He's now 9, and to be honest, I'm still a little confused about
what to do when filling in forms, but realistically, there haven't been a lot of
forms to fill out. Maybe he'll run into that later. For now, when a form asks for a
middle name initial, we just give it for the first of the two. I know a young man
who was given two middles, and when I asked he said it hasn't been an issue -
this after all the forms one fills out for college applications, SATs, etc. (The only
thing that surprised us was that after he was born and started getting mail,
generated from the hospital, they took his two middle initials, J. R., and stuck it
behind his name Jr. - you never know how systems will screw things up!)
Our daughter has two middle names and we simply put both
names under ''middle name.'' We have had no problems with
this so far (she is only 18-months-old), and we know several
other children with two middle names.
mom of two middle-namer
I have two middle names, as do both of my sisters and now my
son does too. It's really no big deal -- you just put both
names in the space for the middle name and add a space
With school forms I always just used my first middle
initial, and when I got married I actually dropped one of my
middle names and added my maiden name in as a middle,
because I draw the line at three middle names!
As for legal forms, you'd be amazed at how rarely you need
to put your full legal name with middle names included. If
you do, there's usually enough space for both names. I
consistently use my maiden name for my middle initial, and
have had no troubles with an extra long name. Sometimes
people get confused looking at my drivers license because my
name takes up two lines, but that's it. No big deal.
I've always felt special having two middle names, and I
think your child will too. That's why I gave my son two (a
family name plus my maiden name), so he could be special
--love my two middle names
We did the same thing - I added my maiden name as a second middle name and
both of our children have two middle names, the second being my maiden
name. It is very easy to do - just add two names in the middle section on the
We gave two middle names to our children who are now in their twenties.
Basically, you figured it out -- write both in the middle name field of the birth
certificate, and they write both names in the middle name field to get a passport
or drivers license. Having two middle names presents no problems. The advice
we have from experience is that, in practice, the second middle name becomes
nearly invisible, except for legal i.d.'s. Many forms, such as for SAT exams,
sports registration, and a lot of online forms have room only for one middle
initial or one middle name. Even when there's room to give a second middle
name, not all institutions use it-- one high school was going to print only the
first middle name on a diploma until our child specifically requested that both
be used. In our case, the second middle name for our children is my last name,
which I have always used. I find it sad that it essentially disappears, since I
wanted my name to be part of my children's names.
When our first child was born on May 9, we were much too excited
to be bothered with choosing a name right away. The birth
certificate was thus submitted to Alameda County with the name
field left BLANK. Now that we have a name, the county recorder
says we need to file an affidavit with the state to amend the
birth certificate, and that this will take Sacramento 7 MONTHS to
complete. This is a problem because we really want to get the
baby a passport to visit family abroad this summer.
So, anyone have experience belatedly adding a name to a birth
certificate with no name on it? Do I really need to wait 7
months?! (I should note that this process is different from
changing the name, which requires a court order.) Thanks!
We ran into this exact situation, and here's what we did. The baby in
now 15, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details. Basically, my husband got
on the phone
to Sacramento until he found a real live person who processes these
records -- a
grandmother, in fact -- who took pity on us and offered to help us take
our baby to
see his grandmother. She gave us her name and mail stop, so we sent our
application to amend the form directly to her, and had the amended birth
back a few days later. I can't remember how he navigated the voicemail
reach her. We kept the address long enough to send her a photo of baby
Grandma and all his cousins. I'm still annoyed with the hospital for
lying to me and
having pressured me to sign the birth certificate -- they indicated that
I'd get a
''new'' birth certificate quickly with the name on it. Turns out, the
dashes for the
given names never disappear, you just get a second page with the names
confusing and unusual, so we find it easier to use his passport rather
than his birth
certificate when he needs a proof of age and/or residency, like for
registration. Congratulations on your little one, and good luck!
I married an alien
You have two different problems, that might be separable and more
easily solved. If you need a passport, apply for one *now*. The
baby has a birth certificate, and almost certainly has, in the
eyes of the State, a name, though it might be ''Baby Boy [or Girl]
Strauss.'' (A friend of mine in grad school found to his great
surprise that his real name wasn't actually Stuart, but Baby Boy,
when he went to get a passport, probably for the exact same
reason.) So, your baby should be able to get a passport with
his/her ''default'' name (an amusing artifact to show his/her own
kids some day), and you can apply to have his/her name amended
whenever it's convenient for the State to do so. If you're
traveling to non-English speaking countries, you might write up a
half page explanation of the kid's odd name situation, and get it
translated into the languages you're likely to encounter at
border checkpoints. There are various passport expediting
companies; I've run a web site for the foreign embassy community
in D.C. that includes links to several... Travel Visa Pro is
actually based in San Francisco: http://www.embassy.org
How does one come up with a baby name if not passed down from a
family member? Are there any baby name books out there worth
Not a book, but the Social Security Administration website
(http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/index.html) has baby name lists by year,
ranked by order of popularity (if you want to know how many babies were
named Abigail in 1934, you can find out). I wanted a name that was common
enough that people would recognize it, but not so common that my daughter
would be one of six in her class with that name, an this was a great
There are so many different ways people come up with names for their
children. One of my children has a family name, one has a name derived
from an in-utero nickname and the other we just like the way it sounded.
And there are way more ways of finding names.
There are plenty of A-Z lists of lots of names in book form. They can be
good references, but the one that I love for thinking about how to think
about it and just for fun (I love names) is ''Beyond Jason and Jennifer,
Madison and Montana: What to Name Your Baby Now'' by Linda Rosenkrantz and
Pamela Redmond Satran. It talks about names in the context of style,
popularity, and a few other topics. It lists them in groups such as ''So
Out They're In'' ''Nature Names'' and ''A Girl Named A Boy.'' Good wishes!
My favorite, favorite name book is The Baby Name Wizard by Laura
Wattenberg. It's so much more than just a list of names and their
meanings. I still like to read it just for fun. There is a website
that goes with it which is also endlessly entertaining to me. Take a
look at http://babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html
Good luck with this important and fun decision!
obsessed with baby names
I don't know a book but I have two suggestions for you: 1) ask people
who have kids in preschool what the popular names are. This will keep
you from naming your child a really cool-sounding name that everyone
else thinks is cool-sounding too, so then there won't be 3 other kids
with the same name in your daughter's class.
2) Tell all your friends, relatives, and co-workers what your name idea is
in advance, and
ask for feedback. This is how you will find out if you are considering
a name with terrible associations that you weren't aware of, or
a name that almost no one can pronounce correctly. I'm not saying
that you shouldn't be able to pick the name you want, just that I know
parents (and kids) who regret the choice of a name that might have been
avoided had they had more information.
What do you think? Too Star War-zy? Too strange?
Can the name stand alone without the baggage? If he is teased,
like most kids are, is it so bad?
Does the name has a family history? Does it have a meaning in
another culture that is significant for you? If no to both, I
would vote no, because then it really does seem like the
motivating factor is Star Wars, and I would (personally) be
embarrassed if my parents had named me after a character in a
popular film. If the name does have an origin and/or meaning
that is important to you, then you could go for it with the
understanding that your child may be called upon to ''defend''
it, which could get old. Still, something meaningful for you
could be worth it.
owner of the most popular girl's name of 1957
the fact that you're questioning your desire to name a kid
'kenobi' should be enough to let you know that it may not be the
best move. though who knows if future kids would even know about
How about ''Jar-Jar,'' or ''Darth''? Just kidding -- heck, I named
my daughter ''Redwood''... but as a middle name, so she can choose
when she's older what she wants to be called. I don't know your
motivation for ''Kenobi,'' but I was one of those kids who teased
other kids mercilessly, and I would totally use a kid's name as
ammo. Cruel? Sure, but I was a kid and I feel bad about it
now. But it doesn't change the fact that I did it.
Also -- if this is a cultural thing, and you're Japanese, you'll
already be dealing with the stereotypes of Asians being short,
smart, and dorky... I just can't see the wisdom of adding this
extra burden to your child's life. But maybe it's a family
thing, and you have good reasons for doing it. Not sure... I
know this sounds harsh, but it's honest, and I've gotten harsh
yet honest response on the BPN before, and while they kinda
annoyed me at first, eventually I appreciated people's
honesty... and in the spirit of hypocricy, I'll sign this
Please don't do this to your poor kid.
having a ''weird'' name myself
yes. yes it is really so bad.
Is it a name outside of star wars? If it is, just be ready to
explain that over and over again and claim a very close
relationship to whatever tradition/culture it comes from. If you
do not have a really great reason for naming your kid Kenobi, I
wouldn't. How bout just Ken?
A brief internet search shows that there are no real-world origins of
''Kenobi'', and that it is a name of George Lucas' creation. So if you
name your child
''Kenobi'', he/she will most certainly be teased about the name's Star
Wars origins. Sign
on the dotted line, please.
I once worked with a Japanese guy who wanted to name his first child
''Kikaida'', but I
happen to think that would have been kind of cool...
It's pronounced OSS-WEE-PAY (obscure SNL reference)
Why burden your child with a name that will elicit comments every
of their life ?
These exotic names, which one cannot ignore, are probably the source of
irritation for those who have to carry them. I think that parents give
kids these names
to show how clever they are. Don't do it !
Yes. I do understand the desire to give your child a name that
has good connotations and is special to you but IMHO, Kenobi is
too Star Wars-y.
As to how ''bad'' the teasing will be--depends on how sensitive
your child is. But is it worth ANY amount of teasing?
If you feel that strongly about the name, think about adopting it
as your own? If your internal reaction is, ''No, that would be
too weird'' ... why give it to your kid?
since you asked
Could you get a pet - cat, dog, or fish, and name that Kenobi
Since you're asking - - it is totally Star War-zy. But, is that a bad
thing? I guess it
depends. He'll be the most popular kid in 1st grade, that's for sure.
I'd vote no, but the only vote that really counts is yours &
Kenobi? As in Obi-Wan? Um, yeah. That's pretty awful.
First, I believe you should choose a name that is meaningful to
you and your partner without worrying too much about playground
taunting. I have a relatively common name and was STILL teased
about it in grade school.
Oh, and I named my son Django (the D is silent). I just learned
that there was a 'Jango' in Star Wars, Episode 2...I think it
will all work out for the best.
I know you are going to get a lot of random opinion, and that's
great, but I'd like to offer you advice based on actual
experience with unusual names that also exist in popular culture.
If a child stays in the same school with the same general circle
of children from kindergarten through elementary, then middle
school, then high school, the name will automatically and
naturally normalize among peers. A new-comer to that circle will
right away see that the name is normal, and will respond
accordingly. Your child, meanwhile, will have a stable and secure
relationship to his own name and will go through life with no
ill-effects. If, on the other hand, your family moves around and
switches schools, the name will not be a normal part of the
established community, and the child's name will expose him to
questions, and sadly, ridicule. Ask yourself, how stable of a
peer circle can you offer your child? What kind of ''normal''
sounding nickname can you turn the name into in case the name
isn't working? ''Ken'' isn't so bad, is it? By the way, I like the
name, please don't let anyone put you down for it.
Oh geez, please don't do that to your kid!! Yes it is WAY too
Star Wars-y. I happen to love Star Wars, but that's just silly.
My Two Cents
Almost every kid is made fun of from time to time about their
name or some physical characteristic. Kids should learn to take
a little ribbing. However, how seriously is your child going to
be taken as an adult with that name? Named after a Star Wars
character?? Please don't....
Kind of cool but I don't think I'd do it. Maybe pick something
similar but not associated w/ Star Wars.
- The Force
Since this is Berkeley, of course you will get a lot of responses
child whatever you like, a name is a beautiful thing and a personal
This is true. However, do NOT name your child Kenobi. I actually
when I read it. Yes, people will think of Star Wars. I seriously can't
say that name
with a straight face.
I repeat: Do Not Name Your Child This.
(Of course all the people saying that you should, are the same that
named their children Summer, Freedom, and Rainbow)
Another emphatic no!
Well I guess Kenobi is better than Gandalf, the name given to a
kid I know. Luckily for him his parents switched to
using his middle name. I was glad, because I felt really dorky
calling an infant Gandalf.
Personally I think it is a bad idea to pick a child's name based
on its coolness factor. Think about what you thought was really
cool when you were in middle school - do you still think it's
cool? Will your middle school kid think the name you picked for him cool? Frank Zappa
thought Moon Unit was pretty cool too, but I guess his daughter
''Too Star War-zy?''
Has there ever been another use of the name? I don't think so,
and in that case, yes it is.
''Can the name stand alone without the baggage?''
In a urban part of the western world - no.
''If he is teased, like most kids are, is it so bad?''
You weren't bullied as a child, I guess. It can go from an
annoyance to devastating.
Everyone wants their children to be strong and happy individuals,
but gambling with the chance of the bullies in his life finding
easier prey - well, I dunno... Having been bullied myself as a
child, and working with children as an adult, I'm sorry to say I
wouldn't take that risk for all the tea in China.
Shout it up the stairs, if you still like it, then go for it.
Is is to Star-warzy, yes. Will he be teased, mercilessly.
Will he hate you when he's older, maybe, but more likely he'll
think you're the biggest star wars geek ever. I love star
wars, and I love the name, but you'll never get away from the
baggage that comes with it, there's always the star wars geek
who's introduced his kids at birth to the glories of star
wars. Good luck!
star wars geek
Instead of Kenobi, how about Kenji? When I was young I knew a
boy of Japanese heritage who was named Kenji. I think it's a
great name and I never heard any teasing.
Just one more thought to add to the Kenobi question. I had, as a child,
a last name I
hated -- very easy to turn into all sorts of insulting words, just by
changing a sound.
And of course, the kids did it. I was a sensitive child, and the minute
kids find out
something bothers you, they keep doing it.
When I got married, I took my husband's last name. Even after all those
years, I was
delighted to get rid of my awful old last name.
It is of course impossible to tell if your child will be sensitive.
However, if it is a
sensitive child, this could be a source of years of unhappiness. Choose
I had to read the responses to your question to my husband. He
said all the ''no'' advisers are clearly women, as any man would
agree that Kenobi is an awesome first name! We have creatively
named kids but my rule was that their names had to be actual
first names (not last names as first names or numbers or
geographic places). I have thought that if we had known we would
have 3 boys, if I would have ended up with kids named for the
guys in Spinal Tap, the band RUSH or Han, Luke, and Obi-Wan. How
about naming him Benjamin Kenobi? His guy friends can tease him
about being ''Old Ben Kenobi'' while still maintaining future
resume/date appeal with women.
Married to a geek
It's a great name! Of course, my husband and I are huge Star Wars fans
but even so, it
really is a great name and even better because of the Star Wars
reference. We named
one of our children after a Star Wars character from the expanded
universe and we ran
into some Leia's and Luke's at the Star Wars Celebration in LA this past
spring. All of
them seemed perfectly happy to be named after the Star Wars world.
Star Wars Mom
My four month old daughter is named Sophia. My parents refuse to call
her this, calling her 'Sophie' instead. I have corrected them many
times. In fact, the entire family corrects them when they use the
wrong name. They have also bought her monogramed gifts with the name
'Sophie.' At first I thought it was just a memory issue with them, but
since then I have asked them very politely yet firmly, to use her
correct name, to which they said no, telling me that they will
continue to call her Sophie. Selecting a child's name is a very
personal, thoughtful process, and I chose Sophia, not Sophie. Any
advice on how to handle this issue?
If you name your kid Nicholas, they will probably be called Nick. If you name your
kid Madeline, they will probably be called Maddie, if you name your kid Alexander
they will probably be called Alex. Etc. Etc. Heck, my name is Lisa and I have had
people call me LIS (as if my name was too long). My son has a friend named
Sebastion who his parents pronounce in an extremely fancy fashion yet everyone
else calls Seb. I guess what I'm trying to say is that some people will call your
daughter Sophia Sophie, and when she gets older other kids will probably drop the
ia all together and just call her Soph. Although you like her proper name, it hardly
seems worth the argument, especially with grandparents to insist they call her
exactly what you want them too all the time, especially since as she grows, other
people probably won't. Although, the more you use her name, the more others will
mimic what they hear.
Mom of 3 who are called all kinds of things
We seem to have chosen a name for our baby which has infinite
variations and ways to shorten. I've noticed that her
grandparents, aunts and uncles, and godmothers almost all have a
different nickname for her. I'm ok with that, and even rather
charmed. I think that it shows in a tangible way that she has
and will have a distinct relationship with each of the members
of our family. It reminds me that my daughter and my parents
have their own special bond apart from me, and that thought is
very satisfying. Just my perspective, for what it is worth. I
wouldn't fight it.
I would try to not let it bother me. Diana/Diane,
Christine/Christie, Andrea/Andie, etc. Lots of people shorten
names or use nicknames, and it means no disrespect to the
parents who chose the person's name. Since it has been
established that they do know her name is ''Sophia'',
not ''Sophie'', I would just think of it as their nickname for
your daughter. Selecting a name for your child is a very
personal process, I agree, but your parents calling her by a
variation of her name isn't going to change her given name, nor
the very special reason you chose it.
Just let your parents call your child ''Sophie''--it's their
special nickname for her. It's not as though they are calling
her an insulting or demeaning nickname or anything. Aren't there
more important things to fight over?
PS. As your child grows older and if she then prefers the name
''Sophia'' over ''Sophie'', that is the time for HER to ask her
grandparents to call her by her preferred name.
Is it that big a deal really? Maybe your parents want to have a
pet name for her. My parents rarely address my daugher by her
given name--each naturally ended up using a madeup nickname
that is their special name for her.
don't worry be happy
When I read the responses to your intitial post about your
frustration with the grandparents and their use of a shortened
form of your child's name, I was reminded of a Swedish saying
(it probably exists in other cultures as well): ''KC$rt barn har
hundra namn'' (A beloved child has a hundred names.) I think
the saying well reflects our human desire to assign ''pet'' names
(Swedish: ''smeknamn,'' ''caress names'') to the people or even
things we love. It makes them special to us. So I agree with
those who urged you to accept this rendering of your daughter's
name, along with ''sweetie,'' ''sugar,'' ''pumpkin,'' or whatever
else -- within reason! -- that springs from a loving heart.
''sis'' (my Dad's pet name for me)
My sympathies to you--I know it can be perplexing. My name is
Sophia, too, and I identify myself by that name. There was a girl
in my high school who would always say ''Hi Sophie. You know, I
have a poodle named Sophie.'' So as a teenager and through my 20s,
I always firmly corrected people when they called me Sophie, as
it would really annoy me. However, after turning 30 I started to
relax about it. There was a woman where I worked who pronounced
my name Soph-eye-a. I corrected her to no avail, and people
teased me about it. Eventually I shrugged it off. Then I met
another Sophia who actually liked being called Sophie. As the
years pass I find that I don't mind as much when people
mistakenly call me Sonia or Cynthia, either. Funny enough,
currently there is someone at work who insists she prefers
calling me Sophie, even when others corrected her. It always
seems to be the eccentric characters who do it--the ones who are
trying hard to project a very ''large-and-in-charge'' attitude as a
whole, and simply will not give it up. I wonder if that's the
case with your parents. Perhaps there's a larger control issue.
If you don't mind having to consistently correct them every
single time, then by all means, correct them and explain your
reasons. But if they don't change even after many months, then it
might be a waste of energy.
Sorry I don't have better advice
I was interested to see the responses to your query about what to do
when your parents call your daughter ''Sophie.'' While I agree that it
seems like your parents are not going to change what they are doing, it
doesn't seem like merely a matter of casual nicknaming. You have
stated your preference and not only have your parents continued to call
your daughter by a different name, they have given her gifits inscribed
with ''their'' name. It looks to me like there is some kind of power or
control thing going on, and frankly I feel they are being somewhat
disrespectful to you. My name is Elizabeth and I love the many
nicknames that have emerged from that. When these come from close
friends, I see them as a sign of intimacy, but I also spent an awful lot of
time during my childhood correcting people who reflexively called me
''Liz'' or ''Beth,'' neither of which are, nor ever will be, my name. I suggest
that you just drop it with your parents, so that it doesn't escalate as a
power issue, but at the same time I am very sympathetic to your feelings.
I suspect that when Sophia is older, she will let people know what her
name really is, and I hope that her friends and family will regard her
preferences as worthy of respect.
Your parents seem like they're being inflexible in a strange
way -- maybe ask them why they're so committed to shortening
your daughter's name? If it's just that they want a special
nickname, then let it go. In the end your daughter will have
lots of nicknames, so I'd save the energy for something else
that often comes up with grandparents, like too much sweets or
too many gifts, something that actually affects her
health/development. Good luck!
I just wanted to say that I would have agreed with what others said, except that you
mentioned that your parents bought monogrammed items with the wrong name and
also didn't honor your request to call your daughter by the name you chose.
I personally love nicknames, but it sounds somehow like more than a nickname
issue. I can't imagine my parents refusing to call my son by his name and then
insisting on calling him something similar that really upsets me. If this is the only
issue with your parents and not the tip of the iceberg sort of control issue thing that
it sounds like, then I would let it go. It's annoying because it bothers you, but if you
can rethink of it as a nickname and endearment, then maybe it won't bother you. If
it is part of a bigger control issue going on between you and your parents, then I
suggest reading some books and maybe talking to a therapist to see if there is
some advice out there that could help.
There is no way to force your parents to call your daughter by her correct name, so I
think you'll have to keep that in mind with whatever choices you make. I'm not sure
why they are so adamant since the two names are so close. It sounds kind of odd to
me and a bit disrespectful on their part, mainly because it does bother you so and
they don't seem to care.
Anyway, you have my sympathies as you deal with thes.
i didn't see the original post, but i had to chime in. our story isn't the same as what
you seem to have, but there is some process to it. my mother-in-law (MIL) didn't
used my daughter's first name for at least a couple of years, and even now rarely
our daughter has an unusual first name, my maiden name for her middle, and her
father's family name for her last. during the pregnancy we developed the nickname
kiki. at the end of the pregnancy my husband wanted to stick in the name 'caroline'
as another middle name and it has some family significance. i was resistant because
i wanted just my name, but i went along.
after the birth my MIL (a proper southern lady) only called my daughter caroline and
her nickname (which wasn't suppose to last after the pregnancy, but did). after i
politely reminded her of my baby's name, kiki was only used in my presence. all
mail and presents were adressed to kiki. i heard her use caroline when she thought i
was out of earshot. it drove me crazy!!!!
we went back east for a holiday or something. all kinds of friends and family came
to visit. one of the old family friends came up to me and asked if all the name
confusion has been settled. confusion? there's no confusion. my daughter's first
name is ----, middle name is caroline, nickname is kiki. always has been, always
will be. he was completey stunned by my answer. WTF?
this peaked my frustration. but what i decided was all in all - i won the game when
it came to MILs. she had always been kind, loving, welcoming, and generous to me.
and if what she needed was to call my daughter caroline (turns out her childhood
friend name caroline had recently died) i can just give it to her. she is loving and
caring with my daugher. and either i can promote a relationship of love and care
between grandmother and granddaughter, or develop one of weird squabbling and
my sister-in-law had a cow when she heard about the conversation with the family
friend, and used this craziness in a fight with her mom later. i got a letter of
apology from MIL that brought tears to my eyes. (but she still doesn't use her first
now my daugher and MIL have special names for each other ''my kiki.'' the other
cousins get a little jelous at their closeness and special bond.
i hope something can evolve for you too.
I would sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your
parents about this issue. Are they trying to ascribe their
own ''pet name'' to your child (in which case I would try to view
this from a positive standpoint-builds intimacy and bonding)or
are they actually trying to re-name your child, and if so why?
Do they not like the name you chose, are there biases at play
here (Sophie is an anglicized version of Sophia)? Try to get to
the root of every one's feelings and go from there.
We gave our daughter a beautiful and very unusual name. At
times, we are happy with it. However, sometimes we are in doubt.
Other people have a lot of trouble pronouncing the name, and not
many people can remember it. And when people do try to repeat or
remember the name, they come up with something completely
different! I am having so many questions about this -- should I
have named her something else? Will she hate this name (and us
for giving it to her) when she is in school?
I too have a challenging name. When I was growing up, I disliked
it because it was so unusual and nobody could pronounce it.
However, when I reached Jr. high school I began to appreciate
that I had a unique name. Now that I'm in my 30's I find it
hysterical when people mispronounce or misspell it. I have
created what I call the the ''Names of Shame'' list that I post on
a bright piece of paper in my cubicle at work. I cut out and
tape every variation of of my name that is sent to me. The
purpose of this is mostly to amuse myself, but I have found that
it actually helps others to remember how to say and spell my
name correctly. Perhaps, this (or a variation of) is a game
that you and your daughter could play.
There will always be people who won't be able to pronounce her
name easily, but overall, most (with practice) will be able to.
Don't regret the beautiful gift you gave her!
I'm sure my parents never thought that my name would cause me so
much grief, but it does. You don't say the name you gave your
daughter so I can only guess that it is more complicated than
mine, as my name is fairly simple and straitforward, though it
is two names put together. It never ceases to amaze me how many
different names, spellings and pronunciations it generates. What
really gets me is when I introduce myself with my full name and
people feel the need to shorten it to one name! If that's what I
wanted to be called, that's how I would introduce myself! My
initial reaction was ''Yes, change it now!'' While it's not too
late (I assume your child is an infant as you did not say how old
she is), but on second thought, I felt maybe there is a nickname
or a middle name she could go by and be introduced as, so that
when she grows up, if she chooses to, she can change her name if
she finds it to be tremendously challenging or irritating to her.
In a area where we live with many cultures and all walks of life,
it surprises me that people aren't more considerate and
conscienteous of pronouncing peoples names (and remembering
them!) At any rate, though it does irritate me to no end how
people can and do mispronounce, shorten or even change (Mary
Ann?) my name, I very much like my name and would never change
it. I would give your daughter the same choice.
Anne Marie, please
I have a somewhat unusual name (Vandy) and everyone always gets
it wrong (Mandy, Candy, Sandy, Bambi, Vanity, Dandy, Randy,
etc). Also, people often mistakenly think I will be Mr. when I
am a Ms. And there are spelling issues, even if someone hears
me right (Vandi, Vandee, Vendy, etc). And it is always a bit of
work to say ''no, actually it's VANDY, with a V like VICTOR''...
(and once someone even translated that to MANVY, go figure! We
almost lost our dinner reservation because of it...)
But you know, given all that, I have had a ball having an
unusual name. When I tell someone my name, and they actually
hear it right, it causes conversation to start right then ''Wow,
I have never heard that before. Where does it come from, etc
etc''. Does your daughter's name have a story behind it?
Because that has been important for me -- and believe me, people
will ask her. (My dad read my name in a book when he was young
and decided when he had a daughter this would be her name. Its
a science fiction story, so its kind of funny to tell people
that.) I always grew up feeling kind of uniquely me, because I
was the only one I knew with my name. I would say that in
balance all the misunderstandings and spelling mistakes do not
even come close to outweighing the fun of having a unique name.
I would never trade it! I think it is great you gave her the
gift of an unusual name that will be HERS. Maybe the right
thing to do is to help your daughter to think of easy ways to
respond to the main questions she will get : how to help people
easily spell her name (without spelling the entire thing), where
her name comes from, what her name means, etc.
Vandy (not Bambi!) for 36 years now
Speaking as someone with the most boring name ever, I am willing
to bet that your daughter will appreciate her name when she's an
adult. I don't know about during school though... I wonder about
this as well, for our son who also has an unusual name. We
thought about that when naming him, but decided that if his name
bothers him, he can go by an easier nickname, or his middle name
which is more common. If it becomes an issue, why don't you let
her come up with a nickname or use a middle name? I applaud you
for being creative!
We also fell in love with an unusual name for our daughter, and I
had the same concerns. But she's almost 5 now, and loves her
name, as do we. Once people get to know her, and have seen her
name written down, they seem to have no trouble remembering it.
I figure the only people who will continue to have trouble are
strangers or acquaintances, and that won't matter in the long
run. She came home from her new preschool the other day and
announced, out of the blue, ''My teachers and friends think I have
a beautiful name!'' That settled it for me!
Much Prefer Unique Names!
My immigrant parents gave me a name that is very common in their
country, Gizella. As a kid I was called ''godzilla'', some adults
pronounced it ''gazelle'' and I was teased with ''gorilla''. I would
say it only bothered me because I was shy. I also had a big nose
so it's hard to say what was worse. To cope, I sometimes said I
was ''Giselle'' which sounds so french! But I wouldn't say that I
blamed my parents. I also had a really hard last name but even
after two marriages, I kept it! Go figure. It can be an ice
breaker and I would say a name can be like hair: curly haired
girls want it straight, straight haired girls curl it. I can tell
you, though, I was so relieved in high school when one of the
most popular, gorgeous girls was named: Dorcas!!
Gizella and proud!
I had the same exact worries when my daughter was a newborn
until about the time she was 3 or so. IN fact, when she was a few
weeks old we changed the pronouncition so now it seems a bit
easier, but there were still annoying people who claim not
to be able to pronounce/remember it. *However*, not a single
child has ever had a problem with it! , nor a single teacher or
other comitted adult. She loves her name now, as a first grader.
When she was a toddler, we gave her a nickname so that
neighbors who claimed to have trouble with her name could
call her by a more standard american name. She now vehemently
corrects anyone who calls her by that old nickname and guess
what? Those same people who had trouble now remember her name and
say it just fine. Many adults say to her ''What a beautiful
name!'' and she proudly explains its origins. For kids, it's
no more different than any of the names they are hearing, as
far as I can tell.
I say: stand by your daughter's beautiful name
and she'll be proud of it someday.
Whether your child hates her name might depend on her personality; for
example, from a very early age I liked to differentiate myself from my
peers, and my unusual name helped me to do that. A more conformist
personality might have more issues with an unusual name. It's also
true that about 85% of the people I encounter in my life on a casual
basis haven't a clue how to pronouce it, and about half of those
people *never* learn no matter how many times I tell them. Nowadays,
I correct people once and then not again. And yes, people remember it
incorrectly all the time and call me things like ''Natasha.'' Have
you considered giving her a nickname that's easier for people to
pronouce? One final thought -- does the name sound similar to
something she'd prefer not to be associated with? This is something
to take under consideration. My mother's given name was Berilla, and
the kids called her Gorilla. She changed to her middle name as a
teen. (But she still gave me an unusual and hard-to-pronounce name.)
Well, this may not be what you want to hear, but....
There has certainly been a trend toward ''exotic'' names in the
last few years. I suppose it's a reaction to the ''Jennifer''
phenomenon when I was a kid...and having been one of those kids
with a very popular name, I will admit that going through school
being referred to as ''Sara Pee'' (for the first initial of my
surname) was demeaning, to say the least (hee hee...just
occurred to me that I could say it rhymes with ''therapy''....)
That said -- when my daughter was born, I wanted to give her a
distinctive name which people would nonetheless be able to
spell. Our family surname is hard enough for most people to
I can't tell you how many adults have come up to me and
congratulated me on giving my daughter a ''normal'' name. I think
there is a strong feeling among a lot of grown people (in both
my own and older generations) that exotic names are
undesirable. There have been several studies reported in the
news lately where people with exotic names, but the same
qualifications, could not get job interviews.
So...I know from experience that popular names are not really an
asset, and it also seems that exotic names aren't much of one,
either. Finding a ''happy medium'' is very challenging. You
don't say how old your daughter is -- if she's a few months old,
you could always start using her middle name, or come up with a
more ''conventional'' nickname. If she's much more than a year,
though, you should probably wait...in middle school, she'll
probably come up with something all her own GRIN....
I can't remember if I have ever responded to an advice request
before, but I just had to respond to this one. I have a very
unusual name, and no, I did not always like it as a child.
People constantly mispronounced it (still do), and I was often
teased about it. Other kids (including my own sister) would
make up jokes using my name. Also, people often won't say my
name because they are afraid of mispronouncing it, even after
they have heard it.
That said, I am now very happy to have an unusual name. I think
I came to terms with it by high school. Now, it is a
conversation starter, and I get lots of compliments on it. I
explain its origin and make jokes about having been born in the
sixties. I don't mind having to correct people's pronunciation
of it, though sometimes I don't even bother. Now, I like its
When it came time to name my own son, I didn't want to choose an
ordinary name. But my husband and I did decide to pick
something that most people have at least heard of, and I did
want something that is spelled the way it sounds. I really like
the fact that he is almost always the only kid in a group with
Looking back, yes, it would have been easier to have a more
common name, or at least a name that people could pronounce just
from its spelling, but now I wouldn't change my name for any
So, I guess my advice is: enjoy your creativity in choosing your
daughter's name, be prepared for her not to like it and help her
cope with the mispronunciation, teasing, etc., and hope that she
comes to appreciate how unique it is. My bet is that she will,
though it may be many years from now.
If you have more questions, feel free to contact me!
I have a difficult name and remember teachers stumbling over it
and the embarrassment it caused. When naming our daughter, we
went with a name that's tough to say and spell but we call her
by her more ''normal'' middle name. She can choose Rhiannon or
Chase when she's older. She knows and responds to both now (20
I have a very unusual name, and so does one of my sisters, and we
both love it. I have another friend with a fairly unusual name
who feels the same. I think having a rare name reinforces the
idea as you grow that you are unique in all the world and there
can be no other you.
As a child when people had trouble with my name I always saw them
as slightly dim-witted (how could they not know how to pronounce
the most common word in the language?!) and didn't take it as any
reflection on my name. Also, other children will not have trouble
with an unusual name - most names are still new to young children.
Adults do, however, have a hard time which can be awkward. I tell
people who ask how to pronounce my name that it is a hard name
and they should feel free to ask me again later if they forget.
And of course my name is mis-spelled often and I was called
''Charles'' on the first day of school in many classes.
That said, I do know of two teenagers who left behind their
unusual names and took on everyday names instead. There's no way
to predict how your child will feel, so if that is your main
concern, I say enjoy the name you've chosen, help adults learn it
with patience, and wait and see what your child thinks later.
Likely your child will see it as a special gift and inseparable
from her sense of self, especially if you see it that way too.
My name is not all that unusual, but it is pronounced differently
that it is spelt. This has caused a lot of problems over the
years. Virtually every teacher in school, even thru college,
insisted on mispronouncing my name, even after repeated
corrections. Hence, almost all my school friends mispronounced it
too. As an adult, I finally gave up on trying to get people to
say it right. I'd say that about 75% of everone I know says it
wrong! . Right or wrong, I often judge people negatively if after I
introduce myself they start to prononce it the other way. It
shows that they're not listening.
Socially, people stumble, stutter, mumble, get flustered,
confused, and embarassed over my name, and I HATE this. It is a
I've thought about changing the spelling of my name, to match the
phonetics, but it too much of a hassle, and as I've gotten older,
I care less. But boy, as a kid and young adult I did care. It was
humiliating, and as I was shy, the stumbling over it was painful.
I'd suggest that you come up with a fun, short, easy to
understand and pronounce nickname that she can use at school.
She's going to need it.
Still blaming mom for misspelling my name
I am in a similar situation as your
daughter but I can't blame my parents as both my first and last
name are not uncommon in my homecountry. In the U! S it's a
different story: My last name is pretty much unpronouncable for
most people and my first name, although easily pronounced
properly by most Americans (it's pronounced like ''Tina'' just
without the T), is either pronounced wrong (''Ayna''), if they see
it written down, or spelled wrong (''Ena'' or ''Eena''), if they hear
It's also not funny in a business environment, when a person who
only read your name before mispronounces your first name each
time they adress you. It's a really awkward situation if that
person is higher up in the hierarchy, especially if there are
always other people around and he introduces you to others with
the wrong pronounciation. Also I really pitty my boss for having
to introduce me to other people (although he pronounces my last
name pretty well). It's also really annoying to have to spell
your name all the time.
Okay, since I haven't seen any short responses to the original
post as of yet, I'll add my own long-winded two cents here.
My parents gave me an uncommon, easy-to-mispronounce,
easy-to-misspell name and I was mad at them for much of my
childhood for them doing so! Do you know the frustration of not
being able to find one's name on those toy nameplate things as a
kid?! It's as though the toy manufacturers forgot about you, or
something. Also, by temperament, I was a naturally reserved kid
in school and the discomfort of having to correct teachers and
classmates on the pronounciation of my name (usually I didn't)
just added to my shyness. My middle name wasn't much better, as
it is a Chinese name that in English sounds like ''Why Me''...so
that was pretty much my state throughout my early school
By some fluke chance in middle school, my friends gave me a
nickname based on a shorted version of my given name, and the
nickname was a common, easy-to pronounce English name, so that
stuck through my adult years, and made personal interactions with
people much easier. A few years ago, I decided to go back to my
given name and I feel that as an approaching-middle-age adult I
can handle the mispronounciations or ''what-was-your-name-again?''
much more gracefully. Also since my given name has shown up in
the popular media, it gives people a much better hook to remember
my name (e.g. Clarice Starling in ''Silence of the Lambs'';
Princess Clarisse in ''The Princess Diaries''). So I feel like
I've finally grown into my given name and these days appreciate
the name's uniqueness.
I say giving a child a name is such a personal thing for the
parents; and I'm sure parents have the best hopes for their
children in naming them. So if you as a parent really like the
name you've chosen for your child and don't wish to alter it with
a more common nickname, give your child some skills to
confidently help people pronounce and remember their name (like,
''rhymes with...'' or likening it to a character in popular media
or explaining to your child why you chose that name for him/her
with a reason other than ''we just liked the way it sounds'').
Teach your child to say his/her name aloud confidently and show
enthusiasm that you've picked out such a cool name for your child.
My name is Clarisse but I've given my own two children non-challenging
I've enjoyed the discussion of names. It is difficult to balance all the competing
factors in choosing a name that both parents like, that is unusual enough that they
won't have 5 other kids with the same name in their class, that is reasonably easy to
spell and pronounce, that honors one's culture and ancestry, that doesn't sound like
something silly or disgusting and provoke teasing, etc. etc. I very much believe in
giving kids with very ''grown-up'' names easy nicknames as kids. But mainly I am
writing to recommend a children's book on this topic called ''Chrysanthemum'' by
Kevin Henkes. Very cute and unusual name-affirming.
Happy with my uncommon, old-fashioned name
We named our kids both with the first names that just felt right and gave
them Persian middle names. My daughter's name is Nicole Leila. My son is
Sean Shamseddin. I don't know of any book but some of the originators of
the Persian e-mail list are on this list also so I'll bet there are lots of
You might try hunting around the Onomastikon website:
I followed a few links which were dead (Middle East ==> Arab -- ouch! I
know that Persian is not Middle East or Arab, but that's where Iran was
listed! What can I say; the organizer is in England) -- but anyway, those
urls did not work. However, there were other links to "the ancient world"
and such. Might be worth a little hunting. Good luck -- Letitia
Go to a site called Madar-Pedar,
which means mother-father in Farsi. It is a good resource for Iranians or
those married to one. Anyway,
amongst other things, there is a hot link there for a list of names. I copied
http://tehran.stanford.edu/Information/Iranian_names.html. There is alot more
there, from a list of
daycare providers who speak Farsi to raising bilingual kids, etc, Good luck. If
you want to chat, drop me a
My beloved niece Maryam's dad is Persian and her mother, my sister
Colleen, like you has an Irish first name and English/Germanic background!
Maryam likes her name and its variants (Miriam, Marian, etc.) The name
also honors my mother Mary and Maryam's Persian grandmother Mehri. There
are many classic, old testament era names that have beautiful Persian
variants - Sarah/Zaarah, for example. Of course Emma is a lovely name,
one of my favorites too, but it's actually almost too popular right now
(all those wonderful Jane Austen names are), and it would be nice to find
a bicultural name. Our daughters, Julia and Clara, whose parents come
from the distinct cultures of California and Cleveland, enjoy having
names that work (with variations) with our Italian, French, German and
Spanish speaking friends. Natasha
If Maryam had been a boy, the top choices were Darius and Cyrus, the
great Persian Kings. I leaned more towards Darius, as the Farsi and
English pronunciations (Daryoosh and Daryus) are closer to each other
than the variations on Cyrus (Kooroosh vs. Sairus).
You might want to check out this webpage, which does have books with
Natasha (who hasn't a speck of Russian blood, but a father who liked
this page was last updated: Apr 9, 2012
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