I have tried in vain to change my second child’s name. When naming my first kid I trawled the internet to pick just the right name that was unusual but not too w*nky and I think I achieved this reasonably well, the second one did not get so lucky.
Every time anyone would compliment me on my first kid’s name, I would enjoy a private smug moment of “I know, right?!” However, the truth is I don’t actually remember agreeing to the name at all. I surfaced from a morphine haze to find that the deed had been done, the hospital forms were signed and I suppose I was happy to just stop talking about the ‘name question’ after months of debate and back and forth on the issue.
The name debate, to my mind, is one of the most tiresome aspects of babymaking. The initial novelty of the name selection is rapidly replaced by hating approximately everyone who insists on explaining to you why your proposed name is awful. Seriously this actually happens as anyone who has ever gestated knows. Randomers will open every conversation with “Any names?” but never forget this is a trick question. No matter what you respond the randomer will most definitely know someone with that name who was a bully in school or point out it’s similarity to an unfortunate word. I recommend adopting a decoy name to tell these people so that your actual name doesn’t get ruined. Fuinneoige was my decoy name which also provided me with lots of entertainment as you can imagine.
Parents-to-be must also beware of the Name Suggestors. My mother was a serial name-suggester and had nothing but very outré proposals, my favourite being the name Aeneas which sounds like not one, but two parts of the male anatomy, cue bullying until the end of time.
Picking a baby name is seriously one of the hardest things to do and we charge the task to people who are not strictly in the sanest state of mind post childbirth. This fully accounts for how my second child ended up with his slightly unusual moniker. In the aftermath of his birth, I was high off my face on birthing hormones and feeling benevolent (and bored of the name-debate), I gifted my mother with the honour of naming my second born. That’s right I opted to allow the purveyor of the name Aeneas to name a poor defenseless young child. This was a strange move and the only explanation I can come up with is that those post-birth hormones are potent sh*t.
She settled on a name that was a little bit out there and I didn’t question it because HORMONES. I decided that I liked the name, in a very roundabout way it honoured my dad and it was cute. Then two weeks later, she lobbed a bombshell at me. We were happily playing with the baby, A—-, when she suddenly said: “Are we sure about the name A—-?”
“Whaaaat?” I raged. “YOU named him. You can’t renege on it now at this late date.” Not cool, Mother. She quickly backpedaled, but it was too late, the seeds of doubt had been sown.
Changing a baby’s name after the fact is not easy, but apparently, this is not an uncommon problem. A Mumsnet survey conducted last year revealed that nearly 20% of parents regret their name choice, though only 2% go on to change the name. I considered trying to change the baby’s name and figured that the biggest obstacle would be that my toddler had mastered the child’s name early on, so if I were to change it I feared this might mar his childhood. Would he forever wonder who was this interloper baby? And what had happened to baby A—-? It would seem kind of sinister. “I had another brother,” he would tell new acquaintances… “but then one day he was gone and we had a new baby…” Creeeepy.
Solid mother that I am, I decided to try the name-changing regardless. When I went to arrange the birth cert I gave him a proper middle name and attempted to reintroduce him to the family as Moe the baby. Unsurprisingly, this did not go down well with anyone. Except, ironically enough, the toddler who is now the only one who calls A—-, Baby Moe. So I while I’ve managed to not scar the toddler, I have most surely given the younger one an identity crisis for life. Spectacular parenting there.