Baby Names and Overwhelmed Parents

Thinking of baby names is super fun.  Until you are pregnant.  Isabelle,  Megan, Jonathan, Benjamin – it’s all fun and games until it actually means something.  I got all sorts of (unsolicited) baby-naming advice when I was pregnant with baby #1.  I tried to disregard most of it (“You don’t want to name the baby ______, it’s so common/unusual.”).  But one piece of advice from a mom of three has stuck with me all these years later.

Once you find a couple of names you like, scream them each as loud as you can 20-30 times in a row.  If there’s one you like after the exercise is completed- you have your name!  After all, you will spend a lot of time screaming the name in the coming years.

At the time I thought the advice was a little crass.  I would NEVER scream at my precious bundle of joy.  7+ years later, I think my friend’s advice was very wise.  None of us like to raise our voices at our children, but it happens.  Even in my house.

I was reminded of my friend’s sage advice the other day while sitting poolside.  The mom next to me had 2 girls and spent a lot of time yelling at them.  Not unusual for the pool: “No running!,” “Don’t push your sister!,” “Don’t dive in the shallow end!”  What was unusual, however, was the names she was using to call her girls.  Instead of using 2 names for her 2 daughters (i.e., Emily and Ashley) she had at least 5 names (i.e., Emily, Ashley, Jennifer, Cleo, and Paige).  I was fascinated by this family.  What was going on?  Were there children around the corner I hadn’t seen?  After about 30 minutes, the mom must have noticed my interest.  She turned and explained,

I have to yell at Emily and Ashley so much that I have gotten sick of their names.  Now I call them by a bunch of different names to give my throat and ears a rest.

That cracked me up.  I am in the business of parenting strategies – and that was a new one to me.  I still haven’t decided if this mom’s technique was a sign of trouble, or a brilliant parenting strategy.  Either way, it brought a smile to my face as I realized – yet again – what a tough job parenting is for all of us.

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