Friday, September 11, 2009

Just Jenny

Check it out, a late-afternoon Friday blog post! Maybe you should wish on it, since it's something you so rarely see...

Catching up on my blogs earlier today, I chanced upon an interesting post about a pair of parents who changed their son’s name when he was one. Now, the very sweet person who posted was very polite, but as you all know I am not, I personally have a few issues with the name change shenanigans; firstly, poor little Ralphy was old enough to ‘know’ his name, so it was probably confusing for him. Although, people who adopt older children sometimes do this, and I guess the kids somehow manage to make it to adulthood. So maybe it’s not as emotionally damaging as I think. Secondly, they originally named him ‘Ralph’, which was just silly on their part, because he is neither friends with The Fonz nor in A Christmas Story. Lastly, the fantastic new name that they struggled over for AT LEAST a year is ‘Huxley’. Which, while literate, is bad news for a playground bully spoiling for a fight. Also, I would inexplicably want to call him ‘Huxtable’.
No matter what you think about people and their crazy naming (hey, at least they didn’t go with ‘Hitler’, right?), picking a name for another person, let alone a stranger you barely know, is a cruel task for a hormonal woman. I started remembering the oceans of anxiety I waded through before I decided on Jennifer Jillian R.. And realized I don’t think I ever shared the full list of reasons with anyone.

So here's why I went with what I did, instead of Isabella or Madeline or Alora:

1. My other top choices were all in the Top 10 most popular girl's names. Jennifer isn't even in the Top 100 anymore. Surprising, huh?
2. I think it’s just plain mean to give an innocent baby a name that you like because of a movie, video game, novel, ice cream flavor, capital city, or fashion accessory. I would love, LOVE to have a daughter named ‘Alora’ (the baby princess from the movie ‘Willow’), but that’s just not right in my mind to do. I know someone who named her baby ‘Juicy’. I think that you should have to take your list of potential names and a.) Page them slowly and loudly over a public intercom somewhere busy, at Christmas time; b.) Draft potential resumes; c.) Share them with a selection of teachers, and d.) Try to buy a personalized mini plastic license plate.
If you find yourself wanting to die of embarrassment, can’t pronounce/spell the name properly, chose the name in a haze of alcohol/drugs/post-partum, realize you are breaking your future child’s heart, or have people send you angry letters, maybe you should rethink that name.
3. I wanted a family name so that my daughter could feel that connection, especially since she only has maternal family; my closest cousin and birth coach is a Jennifer, and Jellybean’s initials are the same as my father’s.
4. Her name had to be something easily nicknamed (Jennifer Jillian Jellybean, Junior), easily spelled in kindergarten (Jenny), flexible (Jen, Jennie, JJ), and not spell anything weird as an acronym. It couldn’t be easily made fun of, rhyme with any naughty body parts or funny odors, or be unfashionable within the year.
5. It had to be functional for both a baby and a lawyer/doctor/President/Prime Minister.
6. I didn’t want to have to spell it over the phone a million times, or have her have to spell it. We already have to spell our last name. But guess what, there are now so many variations of ‘Jenny’ that I spell it anyhow. So annoying. People repeat it back to me, like, ‘Really? You don’t mean ‘Jenalyah’ or ‘Ginni’ or ‘Jinxy’?’ Argh, no, just Jenny, people.
7. At this point I do have to admit that one of my favorite ‘Buffy’ characters was Jenny.
8. I also have to admit that sometimes, I call Jelly ‘Izzybeau’ or ‘Maddy’ just to see if I made a terrible mistake. Because no matter what name you choose, you will at some point doubt yourself.
9. All the Jens that I know are strong, independent, beautiful women. Have you ever met a Jen that picks her nose, or can’t drive a stick shift? I don’t think so.
10. That’s who she was.

Just Jenny


Genkicat said...

I loved this post! I'm really struggling with names and have NO idea what I'm going to do. One day I love a name and the next I hate it. It is such a big thing to give to a person. I love your reasoning, and I love Jenny's name!

marit said...

Hey, Jen here. The stick-shift driving, non-nose picking, independent (beautiful!) woman who was there when Jenny was born.
She is SO a Jen, even though she doesn't look like me at all (which seems weird to me- like all Jen's should look the same?). I am so SO glad/proud/touched/scared she was named in part after me but I also feel like I was named after her, strangely. I already want to be more like her. Except for the diapers part.
So good job with the name, it's perfect and I'm not just saying that because it's mine. :D

B and B's Mom said...

My son's name is Brendan. I did not think it was that odd of a name. I was very wrong. i can not tell you how many times he gets call Brandan. No one spells it right. I kind of feel bad for him.