Tuesday, October 05, 2010

What's in a name? Well it has nothing to do with a rose, I can tell you that.

I've been a parent long enough to know that no matter what I do, no matter what I say, I will always, inevitably, mess up something.

Little gaffes will go unnoticed by everyone but me. Slightly larger ones will be noticed by my husband or a close friend. Big parenting fuck ups will have tongues wagging long enough to make me want to hide in my room with the covers over my head until the next scandal. Thankfully, I haven't made one of those mistakes yet but let's face it, it's only a matter of time. This is me we're talking about.

Then there are those parenting failures that no one considers mistakes but I know they are and there's nothing anything you can do to make me think differently. So there.

Case in point, I named my child the wrong name.

Back before we had Caroline* (AKA - CC.) I asked for help in naming my child. That's right, I asked the internet, complete strangers in some cases, to help me name my baby. And you did help and it was awesome. I not only got help narrowing down my search for the perfect baby name but you also shared stories with me about naming your own children and in some cases the story behind your name. And then we all sang kumbaya and ate some s'mores.

The list had all the names my husband and I considered worthy of our blessed spawn and methodically I worked through that list and crossed off one name after another for one reason or another until we came to an agreement about which we liked best, to be revisited once we could look upon the baby and give her a name that suited her best. I call it an agreement, Mr. C calls it taking into account his wishes for one specific name and then summarily squashing that idea and choosing one I liked better. Potato - potahto.

Finally (seriously), the magical day came when I pushed an 8 pound baby from my lady parts who really, really did not want to come out. There was much rejoicing and crying... maybe more crying than rejoicing - pretty sure she was holding on by her fingernails in there - and when the nurse, or maybe the doctor (fingernails, sharp ones), asked what my perfect cherub of a daughter was to be called, I said, "Caroline."

And then I wanted to kick myself in the kidneys because it wasn't right.

But it seemed too late to correct it. Everyone was calling her Caroline. They were cooing her name, "Sweet, sweet Caroline". My husband was, probably intelligently, keeping his mouth shut about the whole thing. We told our then two year old that her sister's name was Caroline. She called her "Baby Sister Carowine". It was such a perfect moment it would have made a bystander want to smack someone in the head, so overwhelming was the adorableness.

For the next couple of days I tried out the name on my perfect, beautiful, angry, squalling infant. For the next few weeks I tried out the name on my perfect, beautiful, angry, refused to sleep more than 45 minutes at a time infant. For the next few months I tried out the name on my perfect, beautiful, OMG CHILD WILL YOU PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY SLEEP FOR ONCE???

What was I saying?

Then when she was around four months old it hit me - The Perfect Name.

I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me before. The Name was a perfect combination of my Nana's name and Mr. C's Nana's name. It was a name that could easily transition from childhood into adulthood and could even be shortened into a cute nickname. Not to put too fine a point on it but it really was The Perfect Name.

And no, I'm not sharing it. I have a hard enough time not referring to my kid in private by the name. But don't think I don't think about it. A lot.

Not only did I goof on her name but I gave her a name that there is always a chance will be either spelled or pronounced incorrectly. After living with mine for as long as I have, I swore I would never do that to my kids. Now people refer to her as Carolyn. Oops, my bad.

In the grand scheme of things this really isn't bad. Let's call it a Whoopsie. One day she'll ask if she was ever going to be called something else and before telling her I'll remind her of that time I picked her up from school 30 minutes late in mismatched shoes with my hair not brushed and insisted on slowing down in front of that cute boy from school while yelling, "Yoohoo! Want a ride, sailor?"

It should soften the blow.

Introducing Murgatroyd Sparkles Sarsaparilla. It's so obvious, I don't know why it took me so long to think of it.

*After five years of blogging I think it's time to use their real names. They're both somewhere on this blog anyway.


SciFi Dad said...

Our kids' names were both chosen before my daughter was born; my son got her "boy name".

Of course, the names they ended up with were chosen by my wife, as for the longest time I maintained that Lothar was not only a unique and powerful name, but also androgynous enough to work for either gender.

Issa said...

Laughing at you. Just a bit. Murgatroyd Sparkles Sarsaparilla...uh huh. Yes. That's much better. :)

Rusti said...

love Murgatroyd Sparkles Sarsaparilla! would you mind if I use it for my next child? ;)

Gigi said...

Oh the agony of naming the baby! Thanks for bringing back that memory. I recall 8 months of bickering with my husband over that topic.....eventually we named him. Funny though, we rarely actually use his given name....

Lara said...

Damn... that IS an awesome name!

Murgatroyd - I mean, Caroline - is really missing out.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

One of my goof friends did this---named her daughter a name and then went "WAIT! I meant XYZ instead!" But, you know, her original name works really well. And I think Caroline is a great name for your little munchie. But, as a sometimes "Christine", I get that grrrrrr that comes out when someone screws up my name.

The closest I've had to come is to really my Belly wants a different nickname. She thinks Belly is dumb. And people screw up her name ALL the time. As they do her sister. Her brother though? Never. I guess once you hear his name, you never forget.

(nice to read you again lady!)

Angela said...

I have 2 girls, and when trying to think of a name for the 2nd, soon realized I used up my best girl name ideas on the first. The alternative names we thought of for my first seemed to "belong" to her, and I couldn't think of any more girl names I liked equally well as that I named my first.

Poor second child.

I like what we ended up naming her, and it certainly suits her, but people are constantly messing up the spelling and pronunciation of her name, which is strange because it only has (as far as I know) one spelling and one pronunciation.

twononblondes said...

Oh dear. I have a niece who was given a perfectly wonderful name at birth. Then about 4 months later, my parents and I overheard each of the parent randomly referring to her by a different name (not even her middle name). There was slight dscussion about how they were "trying on this other name" but we ignored it because, who changes their child's name? Then, at 7 months old, I was playing with her and her older sister and called her by her given name. I was then corrected by my brother. "We are chaging her name to XXX." The explanation was that SIL liked the second name better but thought my bro liked the 1st name and it trned out my bro liked the second name as well, but went with the frst becausehe thought his wife liked it. It made no sense to us. But, they legally changed her name at 7 months and confused the heck out of everyone. Also, tey forgot they had sent out a birth announcement Christmas card combo in December, so in June they sent a birth announcement with the new name. people were very confused. But 4 years later, everyone has moved on and apprently only I think the name change was weird.

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Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one that did this! Isabelle is such a common name - and people misspell it all.the.time. DD should have been named Mariska. I've had to stop myself from calling her this. Fortunately, DD has decided that her nickname is Izzy. I'm OK with that. :)

Alexandra said...

That was adorable, and I haven't heard the word Murgatroyed in decades.


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Debbie said...

I named my daughter Siena Rose people always spell it sienna but I don't mind at least I know she won't grow up like me. With 3 People with the same name in the class...nightmare.


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