Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Baby Name Regret

A perplexing article over at CNN on parents who change their kid's name after a couple of years after realizing it doesn't work. I sort of understand, from the perspective of finding out that Bambina's name is far more popular than we had thought. But to legally change it? I'm just not sure I could do it. Isn't that why WASPs invented nicknames? I knew at least three people in college who I knew as, say, Nat, Tad and Ash, none of whom had any elements of those names on their birth certificates. I just figured that was how the family naming tradition or whatever was upheld while still allowing you to call "Theo" to dinner rather than Livingston Brainerd III.

Although I probably should stop hatin' and start appreciatin' if I'm honest. Before we came home with Bambina we told everyone her name as well as the shortened version of her name (which was to be her nickname) in order to forestall anyone calling her the OTHER shortened version of that name, a nickname that we hated. (Think "Margaret" whose nickname will be Maggie rather than Marge or Peggy. See what I'm saying? You don't want to name your kid Margaret and then have well-meaning folks asking you how Marge is doing.)

Bambina Unveiled

Well, joke's on us, isn't it? Bambina allows, like, THREE people in the whole world to call her that nickname. Everyone else gets, "Don't call me that! I not like that!" Worse still, when I told her what the OTHER dreaded nickname option was, she said, "Ooooh. Call me that!" I gritted my teeth and obliged on the theory that any sign of a power struggle on the name was going to go her way--as power struggles about stupid things with preschoolers usually do. Luckily the Imperial Dominion of Marge lasted only one day until she tired of enforcing it, moving on instead to Dan Zanes guitarist Barbara. At this point the child has been Barbara for so long I honestly say, "Morning, Barbara" first and wait for her to say, "I'm George Harrison {or a peacock or a turtle) today, actually." Which also works out fine except when she gets into her standard preschooler role-playing thing where I am her (she?) and she gives me scripts like, "Mama, now you say 'Morning, George Harrison. Are you coming to my house today? I wonder if you will wear your purple tutu! I love you!"

Yes indeed; nothing like asking--with a straight face, a deceased former Beatle if he plans to wear his purple tutu to come play Ninja Warrior at your house--to make you wonder what would have been so terrible in the first place about saying, "Morning, Marge!"


Anonymous said...

What a fun kid you have! thank goodness she isn't pretending to be Britney Spears.

Lori Ann said...

I can so identify with this right now. My daughter is just a month or two different from Bambina in age, and she assumes a different identity every few minutes. She got Cinderella 2 for Christmas this year and became Anastasia this morning, forcefully declaring that she hated her real name. I called her Anastasia about 5 minutes ago and she looked at me with her jaw dropped to her chest. Then announced, "I'm not Anastasia!" Her face crumpled to crying and she requested I use her real name.
*sigh* There is no keeping up.