Harriett Rhoda Fox – Oy Vey

What’s in a name? A lot if you have a name like Harriett Rhoda Fox. Ms. Fox was an elementary school classmate of my father’s, and he still remembers her name with a chuckle. How many times do you think someone asked her: “Does the fox mind?” “Where do you get a saddle for a fox?” “Do you need a license to ride a fox?”

Choosing a baby name is as painful as pulling teeth – actually, more painful because you have to do it without the benefit of  laughing gas or Novocaine. There are far too many things to consider. Do you name after a relative? If so, which one? Do you choose a unique name, or something classic? What nicknames go with a given name? What will your child’s initials be? Do the initials spell something embarrassing?

Once you’ve picked a name, you may have to decide whether or not to use the full version of the name, or just the nickname. Just using the nickname has a whole different set of pitfalls – just ask my dad, Bill, who has diplomas issued to “William,” despite the fact that his name is just “Bill.”

Finally, you have to decide whether to create your own unique spelling, or stick with the traditional spelling.

(ISAAC Souvenir License PlateThankfully, we already knew that we would use traditional spellings, rather than something more unique. We both know what it is like to go through life with a uniquely spelled name (try finding a souvenir license plate with Dianna (spelled with two “Ns”) or Rahn.)

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the worries over what might happen in the future to affect how people view a name (I suffered through the release of Michael Jackson’s song Dirty Diana when I was in middle school).

Rahn picked Isaac for our oldest. I was not sold at first – to me, it sounded a little old-fashioned. But, it has grown on me… and it really suits him. However, we’ve been a bit dismayed to find that it is now one of those names that is trending. I’m not sure why that bothers me, but I really liked that it was both traditional and unique at the same time.

I picked Max, and that is where my one naming regret comes in. No, I don’t regret picking the most common dog name as my son’s first name – after all, people love their dogs.

I regret that his name is just Max – not Maxwell, Maximilian or Maximus. Why, you ask, would we do that after knowing what my own father experienced as a “Bill” and not a “William?” Honestly, I have no idea. Even I am tempted to call him Maxwell at times… and I, of all people, should know what his name is!

All of that thought, stress and strife, and I still have regrets. What about you? Do you have regrets over the name you chose for your little one? Do you wish your parents had chosen a different name for you?

(Oh, and in case you are wondering, no one can remember why they decided to spell Rahn’s name the way they did (it’s just Ron spelled funny). The best answer, of the many we’ve heard, is that it was the sixties, and everyone was spelling things funny.)

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  1. says

    I’ve never understood the whole giving your child a name then calling them something else thing. I am a Jennifer, and I’ve never been called anything but Jennifer. All my kids go by their given names, no nicknames. I’m not a big fan of nicknames anyway. My parents named my oldest brother James, but they called him Butch–no clue why. I didn’t even know his name was James until I was in grade school!
    Jennifer recently posted…Thankful Thursday Video PostMy Profile

    • says

      That is hilarious. I know a lot of folks with unexplainable nicknames … I even know a Butch. In at least a few cases, it is because parents wanted to carry on a naming tradition (Jr, III, IV, etc.), but needed to differentiate between grandpa, dad and son. But sometimes, there is just no obvious explanation.

    • says

      It is a very tough decision… traditional, but unique is hard to come by. I look forward to, someday soon, hearing what name you choose.

  2. says

    Picking kids names is so hard. I feel that parents have a lot of power there. A name can have a huge impact on a child. Two years later I am still so happy that we went with Nicholas. I simply love the name, and it really fits Nick. Strangely enough I loved names that we could shorten for a nick name, yet I hate when people shorten my name to Liz. I don’t understand it either!
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    • says

      I know what you mean… I don’t love being called Di, but I always want to shorten other people’s names (or in rare cases, randomly lengthen them… like I do with Maxwe… er, I mean Max).

    • says

      Ha – how many of you out there refused to use a name (one you might have even loved) because that was the name of the bully in your middle or high school? 😀

  3. Mandy says

    This is fantastic! I totally understand the real name/nickname ordeal- I am Mandy, NOT Amanda, just Mandy, and my mother would get mad at anyone who dared to call me Amanda.

    I didn’t have many problems naming my son. I married into a family of men with numbers behind their names- my husband is Thomas the 4th officially, but could be the 9th if they hadn’t skipped one generation somewhere way back when! So when I found out I was having a boy there was slight annoyance (what if he doesn’t look like a Tommy?!), but also a lot of relief that I had an easy answer to the naming dilemma. Fortunately he is a Tommy through and through! However, if/when there is a second kid I’m in trouble!


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