Friday, August 13, 2010

How to Name Your Child

***NOTE: I am not pregnant, and am not trying. Nor am I a parent. Nor am I trying to offend you if you have a baby whose name is one I'm ranting about currently. Just some thoughts.

Dear Parents Naming their Children,

As a grade-schooler of the 90s, I had lots of classmates named Jessica, Ashley, Lauren, Anne. Lots of Johns, Colins, Ryans, and Toms. One of my best friends' names was Erika spelled with a K because she's German. This was considered a minor scandal at the time.

At the beginning of a school year, the first information I have about my lil' peanuts is a list of their names. Your child's name will be on the list. My class lists for my students and their classmates, however, get a little more confusing. Kayleigh pronounced KY-lee, not KAY-LEE as I originally guessed. Noah, a girl. Wrigley and Addison, siblings whose parents are not Cubs fans. Joycelyn. Tlaloc. Usually, when I get my list, I spend the first ten minutes of reading it (after I count how many five year olds I will have in my room) trying to figure out how many boys and how many girls I have.

Names are starting to get confusing, people. A co-worker of mine announced the arrival of her new baby niece today. Blayksleigh. Yikes. The spelling is confusing, but I bet it is fun to write in cursive. Which leads me to speculate, why all the counter intuitive spelling? Please think carefully when writing on your child's birth certificate.

Now, you may point out, my married name is Gas. Granted, Kev and I won't have a whole ton of options when we name our someday children if we don't want to pay for extensive therapy for them later. (Jack? Mo? My brothers have supplied us with endless possibilities of names that DON'T work) But, at the same time, I don't understand why you guys seem to feel the need to spell your kids' names strangely. I actually think Blayksleigh isn't a bad name, but I would spell it Blakesly. Or Blakesley. Or something like that. Why set your kid up for endless correcting on the first day of school? Why torment your child's teachers (me among them) with endless re-writing of locker tags, name tags, desk name tags? I mean, honestly, do you all realize how many times a teacher has to write students' names on things?

I'm just saying, a name with a "cute" spelling might be fun for you, as the parent, to doodle in the margins of your notes when you are pretending to pay attention at a company meeting. But for your child, who has to learn to spell the beast, and correct everyone the rest of his or her life it may not be as cute. Just give it some thought. I mean, I'm the one who has to teach your five year old how to write it legibly and correctly. Thanks for your consideration.

Your child's kindergarten teacher

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