Crazy is my middle name!

Whoa.  Just a regular Friday on the Carolyn Hax Live Chat–I refresh the chat while waiting for my scripts to run, folks are writing in about troubled marriages, hypothetical dogs, moribund cohabitational situations, high-stakes weddings, etc.  The us.  (OK, seriously, how do you spell “the us,” as in, “the usual,” so it doesn’t look like “the us?”  The youzjh? )  And then things took a turn for the wacky:

Namesake Name Stakes: My brother and I are both expecting children this December. His is 2 weeks ahead. He is having a boy. I am finding out next week what I am having. He has told my mom that he’s going to make sure to get his name decided just in case I have a boy too so he gets the name he wants. For the record, I have no idea what name that would be, but am guessing it’s some family name or another. Since he’s being so weird about it, I’m tempted to name my child the same thing he does whether girl or boy. Or at least telling him so. What do you think? I mean, clearly I’m just going to see what happens because I’m not crazy like he is, but in the mean time…

Carolyn Hax: Great. A bunch of babies having babies.

I think the thing that blows my mind the most is how completely un-self-aware this person is.  I mean, if you’re following the CHLC, you probably didn’t just stumble upon it (considering how inconsistent and unfindable the links often are….ahem, WaPo…).  You’re a fan.  Which suggests you’ve read CH before.  Which suggests… ought to know better than to announce this like you’re proud of it and you think she’s going to agree with you.  Eh?

FWIW, I think there’s nothing wrong with cousins having the same name, in particular if it’s a family name.  This happens in Greek families all the time, right?  Georges and Nicks galore, up and down all branches of the family tree?  Of course every family is different, and some are lucky enough to live and be close, but I see my cousins like once  year (if that).  Except for the very day(s) that the names are announced, I just don’t see how it can possibly make a difference to anyone.  And I’m a names girl.

And then, a few minutes later, this woman wrote in:

Re: Naming: Seriously, this whole baby naming business gets crazy sometimes. We picked out a baby name that was normal and that we enjoyed, and when we told the rest of the family they said they didn’t like it and were going to call the baby Jake regardless of his real name because that was a better name. Um…thanks for confusing my kid?!

OMG! I wonder if she is the mother of the same “not-Jake” mentioned in “Ask the Name Lady” back in Februrary? It has to be, right?  How many families out there calling babies not-named-Jake Jake can there be out there?

Don’t answer that….


4 responses to “Crazy is my middle name!

  1. The people I think this would irritate most would be Grandma and Grandpa. Can’t you see Grandma showing some friend the most recent pictures of her grandchildren? “This is my grandson, George and my other grandson, George.”

    I guess if it were up to me, I’d suggest she pick a name that she and her husband both like. I think the brother is being somewhat petty, but there’s no need for her to sink to that level by deliberately provoking him.

  2. Yeah, I think it could be irritating for the grandparents, or a matter of pride (after all, they might be the ones being honored!). It probably depends a lot on what’s typical in that family and/or culture–having lots of common family names may be no big deal–even expected, so if you don’t do it, it’s like a slight. Or it might never happen.

    I think there’s also a difference between two cousins both named after their grandfather James, and two cousins named, “coincidentally,” Avalon or Tybalt or Kirlyn-leigh or something.

    You’re definitely right that she and her husband should just pick a name they like, rather than focusing on pissing off the uncle!

  3. My husband’s brother’s wives were pregnant at the same time, due just weeks apart. Both women were having girls and both couples chose not to share the names until the babies were born. The result? Isabella was born first, and the parents stated that they planned to call her Bella. Two weeks later, Stella was born. Bella and Stella. Kind of cute, I guess (and the girls themselves are precious), but I don’t think I’ll be super secretive about potential names if I have a family member who is pregnant at the same time as me. Then again, if I were determined to use a particular name, would I change it if I found out my sister-in-law was also set on a name that rhymed with it? I guess I won’t know until I’m there…

  4. Ruth, do I sense you taking the opportunity to use the phrase “my husband”? 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this story! I think I agree with your second point: I don’t think I’d change a name I loved just because a relative planned to use a similar name. In this case, I think maybe your sisters-in-law did the right thing: then, no worrying, no fretting, no *knowing* until it’s a done deal–and once you have real precious people attached to the names, the abstract ownership issues seem more likely to melt away. I’m impressed with their restraint!

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