It's me, with the baby Devereaux again. I have a name advice question. I was obviously in love with the name Devereaux even while still pregnant. I adore even more now that my little man is here, and it totally fits him, too! But a couple issues have come up.
First: My mother insists on calling him Devvie. Bleh. Every time she says that I cringe with the thought that if it were to stick somehow, everyone's going to think I have a Debbie unless I correct them. All the time. Ick.
We had talked about calling him Dev, but it seems to be a little choppy. I've started calling him Devo (And how cute is Dev'eaux?) but I just can't seem to get my mom converted... What do you think is the best way to deal with this? My mother says it's just natural flow, Devvie is what comes out without thought.
And Second: I know that I just have to buck up my defenses and not let it get to me, but when people ask me what I named the baby, I get that, "*pause*... Oh. *sneer*" with a barely-concealed disgusted look. All the time. Or, perhaps even worse, "Hm. Well... That's nice. *silence*"
What would you suggest is the best thing to say to these people? There's NOTHING wrong with the name I picked for my baby, and luckily I'm not so insecure as to think there is. But it's getting on my nerves, really.
I appreciate your opinions!!! :-)
This is rough. It's one reason baby-naming is so tricky: you need to choose the name YOU love, but on the other hand it's not unreasonable to consider the reactions of family, friends, and society, because the baby will be living with that name among those same family, friends, and society.
In your case, you're finding that family, friends, and society are not fans of the name you love. I think there are a couple of approaches for dealing with this, and I think the approaches are different for friends/family than for strangers. Let's start with friends/family. The options are:
1) Allow people to make the modifications they feel are necessary to get the name to sit comfortably. Allow your mother to call him what she wants to, for example. It rankles---of course it rankles--but trying to make the child's grandparents call him a certain name is a little like trying to force the child's high school friends to call him a certain name. If his grandmother's nickname causes any confusion for other people, you can say, "Oh, that's just Grandma's special name for him---we actually call him ______." One set of my grandparents called me Kris their whole lives, even though NO ONE ELSE did, and to me it just ended up being "their special name for me." I didn't like being called Kris, but I liked THEM calling me Kris, if you see the difference. Your son may feel the same way---and if he isn't, HE can tell Grandma.
2) Or you can have it out. I'm thinking of something along the lines of something said in a very kind, understanding, affectionate tone of voice, something like, "Oh, mom. I know you don't like the name. But it IS what I named him. And I'd like him to be called _____." You see why the tone is key. Imagine saying this with hand-on-hip attitude, and you can see how lifetime feuds start up. If she says, "But this just comes naturally!" you'd counter with, "I know. But I'd like him to be called ____." Or you could try, "Oh, ick. Every time you say that, I think you're calling him 'Debbie'."
For friends or cousins or aunts who keep bringing it up in a way that seems pointed or passive-aggressive, "I just can't get used to that name!" or whatever, you could use that kind/understanding/affectionate tone and say, "I know. But it IS his name, so...."---and trail off, the implication being a pleasant but firm "...so shut up about it now, kthanx loveya." Sometimes what's needed is a reminder that the decision has been made and the time for input is officially over.
Now, for strangers whose reactions are not good when you tell them the name. There isn't much that can be done about that, since what we're talking about here is what we're IMAGINING they're thinking. Unless they actually SAY they're disgusted by it, we have to allow for the possibility that it's something else: maybe they've never heard the name before and don't even know yet what they think of it, or they couldn't quite hear it and are too shy to ask for it to be repeated, or maybe they really like to know babies' names but then don't have any comments to make once they hear them, or maybe they deliberately don't comment on baby names because they think it's the parent's choice and that a stranger's opinion is meaningless.
Of course some of those people are indeed being total pineholes, and also patting themselves on the back for not saying what they really think. We're not going to be able to cure them of THAT. There really isn't anything you COULD say, though it's kind of fun to think about it:
Them: *unpleasant expression* Oh, um. That's an....interesting choice.
You: I resent the implication of your facial expression. You do realize I as his parent have the full right to name him whatever I please. I could have named him Sanitarynapkin and you would not be able to say Word One about it. So shut the heck up about my son's perfectly normal, appropriate name. I mean, what is it you hope to accomplish with that sneer? Are you hoping I'll say, "Oh, no, this total stranger doesn't like my baby's name! I'd better rush right out to the courthouse and get it changed to something this stranger approves of!" Clearly not. So wipe that expression off your ugly face. Pinehole.
But unless they actually say, "Ug, what a weird name," you can't really respond with anything except a tight-lipped smile. The thing is, SOME people are going to dislike ANY name. If they don't think it's too unusual, they'll think it's too common. They'll think it's too girlish/boyish, or not girlish/boyish enough. It'll remind them of someone or something they don't like, or they'll think it has an ugly sound or an unfortunate rhyme.
Names are an excellent example of "You can't please everyone" because you literally CAN'T. So EVERYONE is going to encounter SOME negative feedback, no matter WHAT name they choose for their baby. Here is the question for us today: What to do about it?