Name regrets...what to do? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So when my daughter (who is turning 5 this week) popped out and surprised us by being a girl (we were expecting a 2nd boy) we weren't really prepared with a girl name. We had some names we liked and none felt quite right. There were a couple that I wanted that dh didn't want Violet was one. And Arwen was another ...we had an aquaintance with the name at the time who we no longer cross paths with. Tess was another one that we almost went with and both of of us have expressed regret about that one.

Anyway, we got pressure to come up with a name and in a rush we named her Ella Katherine. I still do love the name Ella, Katherine was my great grandmother's name (technically Fern Katherine) which I did for my mom. ANYWAY, I do love the name Ella and it does suit my daughter in ways but i have to say lately its been driving me crazy that we meet 2 other Ellas every time we are at the playground. There's anothe Ella in her preschool, not any in our direct circle of friends but a lot around. My daughter said it bothers her too that there are so many little Ellas (plus Ellies and Elles!) jeesh. I knew she wasn't going to be the only one I just didn't think being 25 on the popularity list meant it would be THIS popular. It is a beautiful name but come on...

Problem is...I've never been in love with her middle name either. "Ella Kate" or "Ella Katherine" just doesn't resonate. I wanted to name her middle name Penelope after my mother but Ella Penelope just sounded weird to me. I don't know why we didn't go with Ella Fern even...I was just in a post partum HAZE when I named this precious kid!

So....what I'm wondering is if its possible to change her name in a subtle way...like change the middle name. Ella Violet or Ella Fern. And then I could call her that. Or even change her name and keep Ella as the nickname but call her Adella or something. Am I crazy? Is this insanely cruel and too late to do to a kid? She is just so special to me and her name just doesn't resonate with that for me...I think about it all the time. It feels like the last chance since she starts school next year....THOUGHTS?

Anyone ever change a kids name completely?

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#2 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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I think it does happen. And definitely kids do pick their own nicknames and sometimes names. Does she have a suggestion? I don't think you could do it unless she was 100% behind it and even then I'd try it out for a year or so before changing it legally.

You could also just give her a nickname. It doesn't have to have anything to do with Ella or Katherine. I had a roommate briefly who had a boyfriend named Matthew, but his nickname was Pete. Pete wasn't his middle name or anything, just a nickname!

Anyway, I would consider trying out Tess or whatever name she and you and DH like for a year or even longer.

I have a friend who, as a grown-up, legally changed her name to her nickname so that could be one route, too.

I definitely think she's old enough to have a big say, but don't let her talk you into Tinkerbelle or anything!

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#3 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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5 is old enough that this issue should be up to her. Although I have heard of the name Ella, out of all the little, big and adults I know, I don't know any ellas. I think its a beautiful name!!! And w/ a middle name of katherine, it would be easy for her to go as a Kate or Katie. So unless you dd says (and her idea) that she wants another name, I would forget about it.
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#4 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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Up to the kid at this point. I still have days where I don't think Zayla's name really suits her. And on those days I just call her Venus (her middle name). It would be really tough if you didn't like your kids entire name. I feel for you.

My daughter would be dead set against changing her name at this point, she loves it (even our terrible last name). But maybe you could get your daughter excited about the idea and have her help you pick out a new name?

I'd just be afraid that she wouldn't really "get" what she was doing and might regret it later. Tough call, I hope other mom's here can help you out more.

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#5 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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You could also just give her a nickname. It doesn't have to have anything to do with Ella or Katherine. I had a roommate briefly who had a boyfriend named Matthew, but his nickname was Pete. Pete wasn't his middle name or anything, just a nickname!
That is too funny! My husband's grandpa went by Pete, but his real name was Avery and it wasn't his middle name either. At 85 years old, when we asked him, HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW why he went by Pete!

Normally, I would say no way to changing a kids name, but since you said your daughter says she is also unhappy, then I would definitely consider it. I would definitely try the new name out for a good long time before legally changing it. Also, I think it would be important to preserve the name Ella in some way, after all, it was her name for 5 years. So, I like your Adella idea or something similar, or even keep Ella as a second middle name.

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#6 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 11:27 PM
 
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I think you can call her whatever you want to call her, yk? Assuming she is okay with it, of course. I would leave it up to her as far as legally changing her middle name - though middle names don't really matter for most people b/c no one even knows what it is or calls them that. I would start calling her Ella whatever, and see how you and she feel about it. If she wants to keep that name for the rest of the world (school, friends, extended family) then she can go by that instead of just Ella.

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#7 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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I have only known one Ella, and she was an elderly woman. I think it's a beautiful name. I did grow up with a very common name though, so I can see how it might bother you and your daughter.

I've known two people with the name Katherine who used nicknames other than Kate/Katie. They were Kat and Katha. The name Erin is also in KathERINe. You could also try changing up the spelling of Katie to make it a little different - like Katey.
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#8 of 57 Old 06-14-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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As far as popularity goes, I wouldn't worry too much. My name is a perennial favorite, and I do mean perennial. We visited the old colonial cemeteries in Boston, and every third woman was named Sarah. There were four Sarahs just on my floor in my dorm, everywhere I go I meet Sarahs. But I don't really mind! It's handy to have a name everyone's heard of. And with Ella, there won't even be a question about whether or not there's an "h" at the end.

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#9 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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I agree w/ pp that at 5 your DD gets a big vote on any changes.

I like Ella Kate personally (but then I call my dd, who is named Kathrine Elizabeth, Katie Beth). I also think you could call her Ella Violet or Ella Fern and call it a nick name.

I love the name Ella and DD would have been Ella Grace if DH hadn't vetoed it.

ETA My name was apparently popular when I was born. I went to high school with 3 other Kristys (all of us spelled it differently) and I didn't care. One of the others (Christy) was one of my closest friends. People generally called us by either our 1st and last names or just our last names if they needed to avoid confusion. I love my name and would never change it.

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#10 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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I like the name Ella and its not a popular name where I am. I had briefly considered it for Dd#1 but considering my name it would just be weird. I like the combo of Ella Katherine. Sounds so classy and chic.

Does your daughter have a preference for a name? Perhaps she could choose her own name to be called as a nickname?

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#11 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 02:05 AM
 
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Does your daughter like Penelope? Because the sound "ella" is in there (elo). ?Could you just start calling her Penelope? What about Elka? That's a real name and is a combo of her first and middle names. I also think it would be fine to come up with something completely different, and not change it legally. I had a friend who was named Irene. But went by Murphy. It was the name of her dad's long dead favorite dog. She went by Murphy into adulthood. I think she uses Irene professionally, but all her "real" friends and family call her Murph or Murphy. I also know a guy named Joseph who goes by "fred". I don't know why. It is not any part of his legal name...I think Katherine is a great name - there are sooo many nicknames. kate katie kat kit kitty kathy are the typical ones. But I knew "of" a Rinne. Elle can easily become Belle, Pelly.

I agree with others though, it is completely up to your daughter at this point. And i probably would NOT change it legally.
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#12 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 03:49 AM
 
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I don't think that one has to have a name that isn't shared by anyone else to be special.

I would be a little careful in putting your need for orignality onto your kid, who has by now developed her own connection to her name.

I can understand the impulse, kind of. But...I think that the naming no longer belongs to you. If this was a 5 month old, I'd feel differently. But obviously you guys do like classic-ish names, you didn't name her Sygyzy Blargh or Onionetta or Tryndee. I have run into more Violets her age than Ellas, to be honest. I think it's going to depend on where you live. What's going to happen if you change her name, only to suddenly notice how many other kids are named that?

One of my boys is named Dylan. My god, I cannot tell you how many snotty comments we got about how "common" that name was--yet in our area he has yet to be in class with another Dylan, even at day camp. We have met a few older kids with that name, which HE thinks is cool.

I would just leave this alone, unless your DD expresses (unprompted) dislike for her name.
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#13 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 04:01 AM
 
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Wow! I could have written your post. I have an Eleanor, mostly called Ella, and just turned 5 last month. On the day she was born we named her Eleanor Rebecca, then for the next three days I struggled over it. I wanted to change it but felt bad and couldn't decide. Sigh! I had wanted to call her Lola, Lily or Tallulah. I really really wanted to call her Tallulah. Then oddly she has come to have the nickname "Loulie(sounds like Lou-Lee) and sometimes shortened to Lou which goes with the Tallulah I always thought she was. I've called her this since she was a baby. She is funny and crazy and zany. Such a fun spirit. Eleanor just doesn't seem to fit. I thought of adding Tallulah to her birth cert. Tallulah Eleanor Rebecca but felt it would take the magical-ness of her original name away. See, I am no help.

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#14 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 04:11 AM
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seriously, i have the number one name for the year i was born, and every other person whom i know is named the same as me. it's not a big deal. sure, sometimes it's annoying not being unique in that way, but you get over it.

aside from that, the name is fine. if she wants to change it, then perhaps consider it, but otherwise, i would leave it as is. it's a perfectly lovely name.
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#15 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 04:53 AM
 
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I don't think 5 is too old for name change. My parents changed my name twice when I was 7. As long as the kid likes it that would be fine. I think summer time is great for changing kids' names. When school starts she'll have a new class and a new name.

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#16 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 06:37 AM
 
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I agree with Tigerchild - I understand why you'd want to, but I think the ship has sailed. It's not "your name for her" any more, it's her name. And she's already started preschool, so changing it would involve a lot of confused kids and questions being asked. But more to the point, I think it might sadden and confuse her to know that her name, which is a part of her identity, is something you dislike. I can see a young kid interpreting that as "She doesn't like me" very easily, or simply being baffled by the fact that a parent could switch her identities like that. (That sounds harsh - I don't mean to be, and I don't think you're a bad person for having that idea or anything!) It's just... by now it's taken on a life of its own, you know? I don't think it's your decision to make any longer.

Then again, I actually go by Smokering in real life and DH (who goes by his online nick in real life and even on his business) usually calls me Smokey. So perhaps I'm not the best person to ask. I wasn't a huge fan of MY oh-so-common name growing up (Sarah), but I changed it (informally) when I wanted to, and I think I would've been hurt if Mum had said "Actually, sorry, you're Violet now".

ETA: Poddi, that's fascinating. How come? Did you have any input? How did your friends react? This was your first name?

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#17 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 08:26 AM
 
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5 is old enough that this issue should be up to her. Although I have heard of the name Ella, out of all the little, big and adults I know, I don't know any ellas. I think its a beautiful name!!! And w/ a middle name of katherine, it would be easy for her to go as a Kate or Katie. So unless you dd says (and her idea) that she wants another name, I would forget about it.


I agree with this. I don't know anyone named Ella and neither do my children.

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#18 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 08:32 AM
 
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A nickname could be used and just leave her legal name alone. If she wants to change it later she could. I did a legal name change as a teen.

I would stick with the nickname and not change things.I don't like my ds's middle name and NEVER use it.My hope is he will ditch it or change it,but that will be his choice later.I did let him know that he can change his name later on.Some people don't know they can do a legal change.I didn't and wish my mom had told me early on.Come to think of it I am not that fond of my dd's middle name either.And the last name needs some serious tinkering.

I think the hardest part about changing the name is you will have people who insist on going by the old name.I feel like sybil with people calling me 2 different names.
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#19 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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I don't think that one has to have a name that isn't shared by anyone else to be special.

I would be a little careful in putting your need for orignality onto your kid, who has by now developed her own connection to her name.
I agree with this, and I'm one of the billion Jessicas out there. There were always at least 2-3 other Jessicas every year that I was in school. Yes, I think it is a boring name that has been used to death, but it is mine.

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#20 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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I would only change a child's name if the child came to me and asked for the change, and I knew it was sincere and we waited a year or so to see if the desire stayed the same.

I know one person who changed her name. She hated being Kelly and insisted her name was Georgia. Finally after enough insistence her parents agreed to have her name legally changed, and it's still Georgia (that happened when she was about 7 or 8 and she's in her 30s now).

I don't think I would feel comfortable being the one proposing the name change, or making name suggestions, with a 5 year old. I would do it with an infant if I was really unhappy with the name choice we'd made.
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#21 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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i agree with everyone who says ask her what she would like to be called, or come up with some nickname - call her whatever you want, but i still probably wouldn't legally change it. i'd let a legal name change be her decision when she's a little bit older.
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#22 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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While my name isn't as common as some (Jessica, Jennifer, Sarah) it is a kind of common (Elizabeth) and I never liked it growing up. I invented a nickname. I don't feel I identify with any of the standard Elizabeth nicknames (Beth, Libby, Liz) so my nickname since 5th grade has been Leeb (pronounced with a long "e" sound) and I love it. In formal situations I stick with Elizabeth, but mostly because people have a hard time pronouncing my nickname.

That said, I know an Ellie that is your dd's age and that's her nickname. Her given name is Mary Ellen. I know one Ella but she's 2. It's not a terribly common name around here. Change should be dd's choice, but maybe work together to come up with a fun nickname that she'll be using almost 20 years later

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#23 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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I would just give her a nick name that you use all the time but I wouldn't legally change it. If she wants to when she is older that would be fine with me, but as a child and even in middle and high school I didn't like my name. But now that I am a adult I love my name and am so glad I didn't change it.

Of course it is a personal choice but I think 5 is to young to understand the full idea of forever changing her name.

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#24 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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What about keeping her name and legally adding another middle name which she could then go by. In school they usually ask the children if they have a preference of what name they like to be called. My daughter has 2 middle names so it's not unheard of. This way when her great grandkids are doing the geneology there isn't any confusion, you won't have to go back and change every document etc.
I think Ella Katherine Violet sounds lovely
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#25 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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I don't think that one has to have a name that isn't shared by anyone else to be special.

I would be a little careful in putting your need for orignality onto your kid, who has by now developed her own connection to her name.

I can understand the impulse, kind of. But...I think that the naming no longer belongs to you. If this was a 5 month old, I'd feel differently. But obviously you guys do like classic-ish names, you didn't name her Sygyzy Blargh or Onionetta or Tryndee. I have run into more Violets her age than Ellas, to be honest. I think it's going to depend on where you live. What's going to happen if you change her name, only to suddenly notice how many other kids are named that?

One of my boys is named Dylan. My god, I cannot tell you how many snotty comments we got about how "common" that name was--yet in our area he has yet to be in class with another Dylan, even at day camp. We have met a few older kids with that name, which HE thinks is cool.

I would just leave this alone, unless your DD expresses (unprompted) dislike for her name.
I have to agree, OP's DD will be no less unique even if every single girl in her class is called Ella.
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#26 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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You know what, I struggled with my middle daughter's name. Her dad picked out the name Bethany. I really disliked that name but since she is his child too I agreed. I picked her middle name, with the intent on calling her by it. Well, that never happened. She is Bethany and now at age 6 she loves it. I think your dd is too old to be changing her name without her asking for it.

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#27 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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What does your daughter think? At 5, it's hers now. It's part of her identity. I'm not all that fond of dd's name, but she loves it, so I'd never change it on her.

If she doesn't like it, what about calling her by her middle name? Could you call her Kate? I don't know any little Kates these days.

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#28 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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My name is Jennifer. It was number 1 by a LOT for ten years on either side of my birth. My middle name is Ann... the top middle name (how unoriginal were my parents? )... You would be shocked how many Jennifer Anns there are out there Anyway, I switched to "Jenna" in college because I had a roommate who was also named Jennifer. I think Jenna fits me better - I really like it. Anyway, all that to say that she'll figure it out Either she'll decide she likes her name or she'll come up with something else. I know a woman who was named Heather at birth but at age 13 she asked everyone to start calling her Sydney... and she eventually chose to legally change her name. Even her mother agrees that it fits her better.

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#29 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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#30 of 57 Old 06-15-2010, 07:28 PM
 
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The "safest" way to go seems to be to change her middle name/add a middle name and call her by it (something she likes).

The only reason my 6yo remembers his middle name is because it is his friend's last name. My 4yo has no idea what her middle name is.

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