Monday, July 30, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name

This morning at the park I ran into an acquaintance that I haven't seen since I had Maggie. She cooed over Maggie, asked how I was, and then asked what Maggie's name was. When I told her, she said, "Oh, how cute! You have such an unusual name, though -- maybe you'll pick something more adventurous for your next baby." To which I replied with a face very like the one I am making in the included picture. Now, I try not to use this blog for complaints against my fellow man, but I am in a ranting sort of mood today, and have therefore composed the following list of the four most aggravating things about this comment:

1)As far as I know, neither Ian or I have ever gone on public record guaranteeing the world that there will be a 'next baby'. (My mother insists that I have made promises to this effect, but she has yet to produce documented evidence to back up her claim.) Babies are wonderful, mine in particular, but they are also expensive, time-consuming, and exhausting. Not to mention the fact that Maggie weighed almost ten pounds at birth, and I had her the old-fashioned way (no C-section), and it was really uncomfortable. While I have enjoyed the warm glow of feeling tough as nails ever since, and while the baby in question has made it worthwhile and then some, I do not think I can be blamed for having reservations about birthing a third and possibly even larger specimen of Tillmanhood. For a casual acquaintance to assume that she knew my reproductive choices is kind of weird and more than kind of irritating.

2)Even if you have decided that you know Ian and I well enough to believe that we will undoubtedly have more children, however (and I don't care who you are or how well you know us, this is a strange thing for you to decide), imagining that we are saving up the really good names for later offspring sort of implies that we are not overly fond of the children we already have. Which we are.

3)Because we do, in fact, like our kids, we actually put a great deal of thought into what to call them, and carefully selected names that we like and that are special to us. I think that most people choose names for their children that they like and that are special to them. It is therefore inadvisable to offer criticism of the names people choose for their children, since you are almost certain to insult them and you are likely to wind up the subject of an irritated and unflattering blog post.

4)I, myself, am the proud owner of an 'adventurous' name. I like my name, I think it suits me, but it has also been a pain in my hindquarters from time to time. People frequently ask what ethnicity it comes from (none, by the way -- it is a product of my mother's invention, as far as I know), it always gets mispronounced, and it has forced me to have many uncomfortable confrontations with teachers, bosses, parents at the preschool, etc. ("No, I'm actually positive that it isn't pronounced 'Chelsea', despite the fact that you've been calling me that for the entire year that you've known me.") Perhaps this entered into my leaning towards more classic, only-one-way-to-say-it names for my kids. I'll tell you this, though. If I ever do have a third baby, I am naming it whatever the most popular name for that year is, spelled the most traditional way possible, and I will be sending that woman a birth announcement with a picture of me sticking my tongue out at her on it.

12 comments:

margaret the elder said...

i'd be happy to go kick this woman's ass for you. unadventurous name, my ass. don't mess with those of us with "boring" names. we're feisty. (and, not that i'm biased, but margaret/maggie is not boring in any way.

granny said...

Even those of us with more traditional names face the trials that you have faced and worse. How many times do I have to hear the joke of "what do you call a one legged woman"? If people want to mess with your name they'll find a way. So hats of to those parents who choose names that have a special place in their hearts...and even more kudos to the parents who teach their child that they can whoop anyone who messes with that special name.

Chelsa said...

I didn't even address that part of the issue, Granny, but you're right -- my unusual name has at least never been easy to rhyme anything embarrassing with, it has never been used in a song that could aggravate me ("Oh, Come On Eileen"), and it is not the name of anyone undesirable to share a name with. Sure, I got called 'Cheleka' at my high school grad ceremony, but we all have our burdens.

Ian said...

Ah Cheleka...I remember that day...good times.

Jabbertrack said...

I like this post... it's similar to Sammy's "KISS MY ASS" post about Merritt's name.

Next time you see her please ask if Merritt Maui is adventurous enough because I can't sleep at night without knowing how everyone else feels about it.

Ian said...

If we have another boy, can we name him "Dak`nar"?

Chelsa said...

That really works for a boy OR a girl, but I'll have to check with the name police and see if it's adventurous enough.

auntie P said...

Well Chels i understand about names as growing up with the name Penny, has encouraged the nickle, dime, dollar jokes over and over again. As somehow they all think they are the first to come up with the joke, and that it is remotely humorous in some confusing way. I think if you do decide to have more babies, they will have well planned, thought out beautiful names as your precious Max and Maggie do. And if so inclined to have more babies, there is always the option of pennylou or darlynn or alwil or alyoop lol. Ever ask grandma julia what her middle name is..now there is a mouthful :-)

Chelsa said...

Why? What is Grandma's middle name?

Aunt C said...

Having spent 28 years of my life with someone who hears all the Superman/Clark Kent jokes I think people can always find something derogatory to say and that's sad. Your mom is right; as long as the names have a special place in your heart that's what matters. Max and Maggie are adorable kids with adorable names, end of conversation.

auntie P said...

I am not allowed to publish grandma's middle name its the law. And besides that i can't spell it.

Chelsa said...

Hmm. I smell a research project in the making.