Name Nazis

May 26, 2010 by

Just to clear the air before I even get going on this one: I am not pregnant.  I am not trying to become pregnant.  I have never been pregnant.  Whew.  Ok.

A few weeks ago, Mom and I were discussing little tidbits of our lives.  Just general chitchat.  I mentioned that I heard an acquaintance of a friend is naming their son Emmett and that I thought it was a cute name. 

Ever have one of those moments you wish you had your camera ready? 

Oh the horrors. 

Me: I guess…who’s Emmett the Clown?
Mom: Oh you know him.  EVERYONE knows Emmett the Clown!
Me: Nope, sorry.
Sister: Yeah, no.
Mom: Oh don’t act like I’m just an old fart.  Maybe it’s a generational thing, I don’t know.
Me: Ok, let’s ask Dad.  Dad, what do you think of when you hear the name Emmett?
Dad: I don’t know…Emmit Smith, the football player?
Me: Not Emmett the Clown?
Dad: No.  Who’s that?
Sisters: (hysterical laughter)

In a very informal survey of every person I encountered of that “generation” during the following week, no one had heard of Emmett the Clown.  Before you all go ape shit and wonder why I didn’t just google him, relax.  I did.  Apparently ETC was a popular hobo clown back in the day.  Like…back in the 5-decades-ago day.  Whatever.

I didn’t really think much about it when I heard the name originally.  Maybe a passing “oh that’s cute,” but that’s about all the brain cells I devoted towards the situation.  I guess I figured the name came from either a baby book, Twilight or the NFL player.  Who cares, really?  My mom. 🙂

Other names were discussed but, in an effort to keep you all interested, I’ll just skip to the lesson I learned from all of this.

I’m not trying to pick on my mom here.  She was doing what she thought was right by informing me of a possible poor mental image/pre-judgement people may have if we named our imaginary future child Emmett.  What it made me realize, however, is why all those people (who I previously thought were crazy) keep their kid(s) names a secret until they’re born.  To avoid this exact situation.

Because I am ignorant in all things baby, I assumed that maybe you would keep it a secret from most people, but tell your siblings, parents, in-laws, etc.  Wrong.  You see, if you tell a stranger your baby’s potential name, they don’t know you well enough to critique, so they say “oh that’s cute.”  End of conversation.  But your family, noooooo no.  They feel like they have an obligation to make sure their future extended family member has a proper name, not something that turns their initials into PMS or ASS, not something that makes them sound like a stripper or doesn’t grow into a good adult name. 

The problem is they don’t have that obligation.  That is the job of the parents-to-be.  And, I would guess that all the parents-to-be want is approval.  They don’t know what they’re doing.  They don’t know what they’re in for.  They want the one thing that will differentiate their child from every other child in the world (their name) to be loved and accepted by everyone.  Expectant parents don’t need one more thing on their plate to worry about. 

I hope this has proved as valuable a lesson to all of you as it did to me.  Personally, when this day does come, I don’t think I’ll be able to keep my mouth shut…but I sure hope everyone else does! 🙂 

A big thank you to my mom and all the other ladies (you know who you are) who debated this subject with me, provided insight, guidance, horror stories and, last but not least, said it’s ok to tell your Vietnamese nail lady because she doesn’t speak English anyway. 🙂

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