Shit, I Chose The Wrong Name For My Kid


You know, 9 months is a really long time to come up with a baby name. But apparently, not long enough for me.

Because when my daughter was about a month-old, I looked down at that sweet, scrunched up face and thought, “This baby is absolutely, definitely not a Presley.” Oh, man. We gave our kid the wrong name.

But I said nothing. I just figured I would get used to it. Presley just needed to grow into her name. Or I needed to grow into it. Or something.

My husband, along with our family and friends, would call her Presley and I would just bristle in silence. Although in all fairness, you really can’t blame them because that was her name. I pretty much just called her “the baby” or sometimes tried out names like Lila or Harper when no one was around.

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Months passed.

And then one day, I ever-so-casually mention to my husband, “Hey, what do you think about us changing Presley’s name?”

And he looks at me like I am CRAZY because our daughter is 6 months-old now. But he knew I was crazy when he married me so isn’t this really his fault?

After debating this issue for two MORE months, we finally start calling her a new name when she is 8 months-old. Yes, 8 months-old.

This kind of thing happens to everyone, right?

So that’s how “Presley” became “Summer.”

I totally stole the name Summer from the now-canceled Fox TV show, “The O.C..” Sure, some people name their kids after famous sports stars or silver screen legends, but I personally think characters from cheesy teen dramas are more the way to go.

Unless you’re a newlywed, legally changing a name is not easy in this post 9-11 world. At least not in New York City. They wanted to make sure my child wasn’t a terrorist or perhaps changing her name to try to avoid some kind of prison sentence, debt or IRS investigation. Now I can’t account for every moment when she’s napping but I think she’s led a pretty honest life so far.

It took six visits to civil court to officially change her name to Summer.

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On one visit, I sat in the courtroom and each person got up to request his or her name change.

There was Woo Wo who wants to flip things around and change his name to Wo Woo.

There was a transvestite who wants a more feminine name.

There was an Asian man who wants to change the first names of his 5, 7 and 11 year-old kids so their first names sound more American.

And finally, a woman who wants to change her name but couldn’t tell the Judge whether her middle initial “H” stood for Harriet or Hazel. She simply can’t remember anymore.

And I suddenly realized two things…

1. Being a judge in New York City must be one hell of an entertaining job.
2. And it turns out, I’m not so crazy after all.

About the writer

Kelcey writes the humor blog, The Mama Bird Diaries and co-founded the cheeky advice site, The Mouthy Housewives. This Columbia Journalism School graduate also drives a gold minivan because you can't fit five kids on a Vespa. An award winning journalist, she still secretly longs to be an Olympic ice skater. You can follow her on Twitter @mamabirddiaries.


Allison 1 month ago

I honestly cannot believe that you consciously wrote and published an article using the word “transvestite”. I am beyond disgusted, it takes very minimal effort to do research a find that, that’s not the phrase to use.

Tempest Rose 1 month ago

My fiance and I started dating when we were 14, and like most young people in love, decided on every aspect of our lives. Our first son would be Draven Aquinas (Draven came from the movie “The Crow”, but was not BECAUSE of it; Aquinas was my grandfather’s middle name). Then when I got pregnant 8 years later, he decided he didn’t like the name Draven anymore. We went through a lot during my pregnancy — Silas and Xander being the most memorable. When my son was born and everyone asked his name, I actually said Xander because I thought we had finally agreed. When my fiance got to the hospital, he said he didn’t like Xander anymore, either, and wanted Spencer (Spencer was one we had been mulling over during the pregnancy). It took us almost two weeks to agree — I was willing to give in and name him Spencer Draven if I could call him Draven. He’s 4 now. His father’s family calls him Spencer, while mine calls him Draven. He answers to both but prefers Draven, and that’s the one we use when it comes to school and other things.

Now, my best friend’s name is Adam. He was born Alex. But his mom had him out one day and a random woman asked him name, and then said “Aww, baby Al.” His mom didn’t want his name to be shortened at all so she went and changed his name immediately. I think he was about 5months old.

Jonni (pronounced like my dad, Johnny) 2 months ago

I woke up one day, turned to my husband and said “I’m pregnant.” He said “I know.” I said “it’s a girl.” He said “I know that too.” He wanted Amber but I had gone to school with a couple Ambers and they were both stuck-up and snotty. I like Allyson, plus his great-grandmother’s middle name had been Alice. My whole pregnancy she was Ally, but when she was born she was an Allyson. A few friends call her Ally now. When I found out I was pregnant again, my husband thought another girl, I thought a boy. We agreed on Trevor Lee for a boy, but had a hard time with a girl’s name. He wanted Nicki. I didn’t want to give her a nickname for her real name, so we went with Nicole. Then finding a middle name to go with that and our long last name. I was looking through a baby name book and saw Raine, which that book said it was a feminine form of Ryan (my husband’s name) and we agreed on Nicole Raine. He doesn’t remember the conversation and I can’t find anyplace now where it says Raine is feminine for Ryan, but her name is Nicole Raine, and she goes by Nicki. She says she wishes we would have just named her Nicki Raine. When she was 2, my husband had some health issues and was told he couldn’t have any more children. 4 years later, our 3rd was born. She was the hardest to name. He liked Regan, I liked Piper. I pored through baby name books, making lists. Trinity because she was the 3rd. Tiffany, Olivia, Zoe, Phoebe. Nothing sounded good with our last name. Then we came across Kyra. It is Greek for ladylike, which she definitely isn’t but the name is so her. We call her Kyra the Destroyer. Picking names is hard.

Brooke (and I like my name) 3 months ago

I cannot wait to name my baby Tranvestite! We can call them “Trans” or “Tite” for short – and it’s PERFECT for a boy or a girl! Get a clue, Kelcey.

Holly 3 months ago

Hi there! I noticed that you used the term “transvestite”, which might not have been the best choice. I spoke to a friend in the LGBT community to see what the best way of putting this is, and this is their message:

“It seems like there’s some confusion here between cross dressing and transitioning. Individuals who cross dress don’t identify as transgender (incidentially, the term ‘transvestite’ isn’t one we use anymore, since it was invented by psychologists and not by crossdressers themselves.)

Individuals who identify as transgender generally don’t cross dress. Transgender individuals may change their general clothes and appearance as part of transitioning.

TL;DR: Someone looking to change their name and pronouns may not identify as a crossdresser, but rather as transgender. There is no way to know for sure other than to ask the individual. Saying ‘transvestite’ makes you appear both outdated and potentially offensive. The correct term for a cisgender person who wears clothing that does not match their assigned gender is crossdresser.”

I loved the article besides that, I just wanted to share this tidbit of info with you! :)

Julie 3 months ago

When my sister was pregnant with her first child (a boy) I sat up in bed one morning and said if they have a boy they are going to name him Ryan. That night we went over to her house for dinner and I saw a list of names and she was like we don’t care for your input in names (mind you that didn’t stop her when I was pregnant with my 2 kids). I said dear Lord I’m not telling you what to name your child but I did tell them what I said. Lol, guess what they had a boy and named him Ryan! I can guarantee it wasn’t from anything I had said!

Julie R. 3 months ago

All my life I was going to name my little girl Page (not Paige, but Page). And I was lucky enough to find a man that not only agreed to name her Page it was actually one of his top 2 before we even met. After she was born we named her Page and I didn’t really think it fit her. It always felt “off” but she is 13 almost 14 now and she has definitely grown into her name! Now when we named our son Luke I never looked back!!

Susan 3 months ago

My Mother wanted to call me Jody. Thank God my Dad stopped her because that is definitely not me!

lauren 3 months ago

When I had my son I named him just so I could have his initials TNT, but he came into the world such a beautiful boy. When my little tanhyn was so commonly referred to as tanya, I had his name changed. He was 2 when it was legalized. Now my pretty boy is Dayden. (But I liked Tanhyn so much I kept it as his middle name.)

Stephanie 3 months ago

I personally prefer Summer. My Summer is 5….nice choice! :)

Jodie 3 months ago

9 months is NOT long enough!!! Here is the thing, the 9 months of pregnancy, there are so many ideals- what kind of parent one is going to be, planning delivery, when to go back to work- the baby is going to be perfect and sleep through the night, your body is going to be in such a better shape after delivery- When I was pregnant with my daughter, I didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl- so, I picked out names- Griffin Jay Henry or Raven Nichole- I loved the names and that is what they were going to be- the first time I held her, she became Stephanie Angel- and all I heard, she will grow into her name- she is almost 18 and I call her “Bug”- one of her baby nicknames because she is still not a Stephanie, nor is she a Raven- she is bugg

Rhiannon 6 months ago

Awww! Naming babies! What fun! I got to name all 5 of ours. My husband said, “You’re the one that has to carry them for 9 months and you’re the one that has to deliver them. You get to name them.” Due to a long, difficult last name, three of the five use their middle names simply because the names I liked didn’t work as first names.

It’s OK, though. In addition to my mother and brother, my grandmother as well as a number of siblings on my grandfather’s side all used their middle names. Don’t know why they did, though!

Alaina 7 months ago

When my son was born we gave him a name I never really wanted. I called him by his middle name from the day he was born. Luckily his Dad did too and so everyone else did as well. We had it legally changed when he was 4 so he could start school without confusion.
The process for changing it was easy though(10 years ago), I just filled out some paperwork, had it notorized and submitted it to the court clerk. We had to publicly post the requested name change for 30 days, which consisted of pinning it up on a bulletin board inside the courthouse. 30 days later we came back took it down and the clerk gave us our official name change paperwork. Then we had to submit that paperwork to the vital statistics office. But we waited 10 years before actually doing the second part and just kept the court documents with his birth certificate. Then since he was almost 15 and going to be be getting a permit soon, we submitted the birth certificate change, to make it less confusing/difficult for him. I am not sure if you’re all sensing a theme about when I finally get things done? I might, maybe be a procrastinator?

Summer 7 months ago

My ex just had to name our son Alan. He actually wanted him to be a Jr. I pitched a giant fit about it. I didn’t want his name to be Alan, let alone a jr. In the end we compromised by throwing an extra middle name in. So now he’s AJ. He’s only 8 but he’s asked me multiple times about changing his name because legally he has to use Alan on forms and official documents. He refuses to answer to Alan and has gotten into trouble at school for just because he hates it that much.

Meranda 7 months ago

My 2 year old is named Charlea. It’s pronounced Charlie but EVERYONE who reads her name says “Charlie-uh” ! I hate it. To make it worse I didn’t particularly like the spelling from the beginning. (my husband chose it and I figured since I chose the name he could choose the spelling) I decided when she was a year old that I regret naming her Charlea. (just think how annoying it will be for her. All her teachers calling out charlie-uh during roll call!) My husband still doesn’t know how I feel about it. I’m still hoping it will grow on me.

Bianca 8 months ago

Despite being born 11 months later, my parents called me the same as my brother: I.e. Erica. My aunt rescued me when it came to the papers and added a “Bianca” to the form. I’ve gone by that almost ever since, except for when we moved to London and my primary school teachers insisted on calling me by my “real” name. Only in postgrad did I reclaim my rightful name. Be CAREFUL what u name your kids: or at least be able to defend your choice of name., for crying out loud!

Lyla 10 months ago

Growing up Melissa Anne I had the number one girls name the year I was born and to add insult to injury, the number one middle name as well. I hated it. LOATHED IT. Every year in school I was one of three, four, sometimes FIVE Melissa’s in class. I think Melissa is a pretty name, but it’s not me at all. When I was 30 years old I was invited to a get together with 3 other Melissa’s. None of us knew each other and the grand total of women there was five. Four out of Five. That was the straw that broke the camels back. I realized I could either hate my name forever or do something about it so I spent a few weeks trying out different names and decided on Lyla, it too was popular, but it ‘fit’ me.

When my daughter was born I spent forever coming up with the perfect combination of not at all popular but not too weird. Ivy Quinn. Back then Ivy was in the 400 range of baby popularity and Quinn was completely unheard of. Then Glee came out with the cheerleader named Quinn and Beyonce named her daughter Blue Ivy. Oh well, she’s almost 7 now and she adores her name.

Loleet 11 months ago

I feel the same way about my son’s name. My husband, however, thought I was crazy when I mentioned that I wished we could change it. My son was three when I finally said something. He’s seven now.

Jenna Strollo-Caramanica 11 months ago

I wish I had chosen a different spelling for my child’s name. But she’s 6 now and it doesn’t matter anymore.

Wendy 11 months ago

My youngest is named Bodhi. I was a huge Point Break fan. I asked him a few months ago (he is 15) if he wanted to change it. He gave me a look only he can give and said “Why? I am the only Bodhi “last name” in the country, and possibly by the world. I’m seriously unique”. I just stood there and laughed. Yes, he is seriously a unique kid!!!

loa 11 months ago

My mother found out when she got married that the name on her birth certificate was baby girl Hirschi. ….
He parents had just forgotten to file papers after choosing a name.
She said it was awful feeding it fixed

Also my grandmother had to change her name from Harriet to rita…
Her birth certificate said Harriet but she’d been called rita all her life
She found out when the priest at her wedding was performing vows

Daniela Hoffman 11 months ago

It was very hard to decide on my son’s name but we finally came up with Avi Joseph (we call him Avi Joe sometimes) and it also worked that we named him after two special men… My daughter’s name we picked out right away, Evelyn Rose… I love both of them, fits them perfectly. In Jewish tradition you don’t announce the baby’s name until it’s born and I like that because it keeps all the opinions at bay until its too late

    loa 11 months ago

    My daughter’s name is
    pheonyx evelynn rose
    It is a beautiful name

Courtney Whener 11 months ago

Benjamin Jack is our first and we knew it immediately. It fits him perfectly. This new baby cooking? Not so much. 2 months left and I have no idea what her name is. :(

Karla Manus Kuepker 11 months ago

We liked last names as first names, unusual but not weird or hard to spell/pronounce. For our twin girls we started with Avery Hayden and Presley (can’t remember), and my mom was a little disappointed. If I had felt strongly about it I would have stuck to my guns, but we mixed it up a bit and went with Avery Grace (for my dear great aunt) and Hayden Lenore (Lenore is my mom’s middle name). I love the names and wouldn’t change them. They have more regular, feminine middle names if they don’t like their unusual ones.

Jennifer Maugel 11 months ago

We named our daughter “Harper.” We also live in New England so you can imagine the accent. “Haapah.”

Wilma Rodriguez-Linton 11 months ago

My daughter’s name is Hadyn. Turns out it means “wild” …and she does live up to it. 😮

Lisa Fox Mills 11 months ago

My 8 month old’s name still sounds strange coming out of my mouth!!!

Kate Cahill-Scarpena 11 months ago

I have one who we gave a name to… and everyone “warned” us boys with that name were tiny blasts of endless reckless energy – real naught list material. Didn’t heed – now I have one of those of my own. But It fits him… or he fits it. LOL

Cyril Gabriel 11 months ago

tell him its a family name

Jessi Lauritzen 11 months ago

I still like Journey better lol

Priestess Danaca 11 months ago

Raven Mikayla. My boys picked Mikayla and wanted it for her first name but I was intent on Raven since she was conceived around Halloween. She’s got jet black hair, is very laid back and incredibly interactive so her name definitely suits her

Chrissy Fieler Harris 11 months ago

Annie never hear it and classic and my middle name.

Penelope never hear, classic also

Neve change

Maria Featherstone Baisley 11 months ago

Misty – waaayyy easier at ten months, than thirty years old, to get people to accept it 😉
(P.S. I loved both of her names ♥)

Nicole Gabriella 11 months ago

I realized early on that my daughter, Brittany, should have had a different name. However, I never changed it. She is now 18, & has complained a thousand times about her name not suiting her. “WHY did you give me a fluffy, prissy, cheerleader name?” I have apologized & told her that I blame the drugs they gave me during my c-section. Honestly, I was prepared for a boy, who would have been Wyatt.

Christina Grimm Coulter 11 months ago

I loved the name Beckett for my son, but my husband did not. I settled for Jesse. He looks like a Beckett and nothing like a Jesse…

Misty Blue 11 months ago

I also legally changed my daughter’s name when she was 10 months old. I remember that cringe, and the inability to call my child by her given name. It was certainly challenging to explain to people. The looks were priceless. But I have zero regrets and remember, people DO get over it.

Summer 11 months ago

Totally sounds like something I would do! And I love the name btw. :)

Michelle Alves 11 months ago

Addie after my great grandmother but now there are so many Addison’s who go by Addie. It’s annoying but I love her name Addison Olivia. Our next is Elizabeth Blake. We will have Addie and Ella :-)

Kimberly Garcia Abner Rodriguez 11 months ago

Alexander Jarrett for my son..wanted an A name since my hubby is Abner..he didnt want a lil Abner (thank goodness for that)..since we both liked Alexander, thats what stuck…Jarrett is after the youngest boy on my side..(Im 1 of 4, being the ony girl) & he was upset bc he has a few handicaps & wont have a wife & a son named after him (like the 2 other boys have) so we did Jarrett to give him a kid after him…my daughter is Juliana Charlotte..Juliana after my husbands aunt Julia & Charlotte after my maternal grandmother..

Jaymie Praught 11 months ago

I don’t regret my daughter’s name…exactly. I kind of regret the spelling but I don’t know how I should have done it. The only name we could agree on was Raehlyn. I was worried people would pronounce it like a hyphenated name Rae-LYNN (which they do anyway). So I added the H in the hopes that people would say it all as one word and put the emphasis on Rae. I guess for proper pronunciation I should have spelled it Raylin, but I thought that looked weird and she’s named after my middle name which is spelled Rae :

Alissa Gabriel 11 months ago

Yes! 14 weeks early so we picked Jacob sort of randomly. 10 minutes after filling out the form, Al Roker comes on the tv and announces, for the 10th year in a row, the #1 US baby name – Jacob. Oops.

Kilee Zeman 11 months ago

Yep, I think this all the time, and my kids are almost 4 and 14 months! I hate picking names. It’s so damn hard, right Morgan !??!?!??

Amanda Jewett-Mathis 11 months ago

I LOVE my boys’ names: Alexander (Alec), Liam and Cameron (Cam)!

Carly Mainwal 11 months ago

I chose Reagan Grace Justine and I love the two middle but I didn’t realize how strong of a name Reagan is. It’s a great name and I still love it but it puts a lot of pressure on her to be something strong and outspoken

Rebecca Zoretic Sward 11 months ago

So, I never actually had to go through the process of changing my kids names but I can say that I 100% couldn’t even entertain names until I met their sweet faces. My daughter wasn’t named until almost 48 hours after we had her. Some lady from the hospital kept hounding me to file paperwork and I was like “dude, can’t we just call her baby girl???”

Kel Collins 11 months ago

My daughter is kortnie & I wouldn’t change it for anything

Lucille Auchmoody 11 months ago

Not me.

Opichi Miller 11 months ago

I chose Kara (K-air-A) and Raven for my girls :)

Rachel Rudden 11 months ago

Them: “what’s your daughter’s name?
Me: Marley.
Them: Miley??
Me: Nope. I named her after the artist that CAN sing.

I now introduce her like a pirate: MARRRRley.

Laura Sevilla 11 months ago

I am contemplating changing my daughter’s middle name. Her name is Eliana Bethany – I never liked the name Bethany much, but my mom asked me to give her a middle name starting with “B” to honor my late grandpa Ben. I couldn’t find any B names that I liked and the only one that sounded semi-decent with Eliana was Bethany. But she’s 14 months old now and it still hasn’t grown on me. She’s so not a Bethany, even though it is a middle name and it’s not used on a day to day basis, I still don’t feel it fits her and I really just don’t like the name. Taking name suggestions that start with B that go with Eliana if anyone has any…

Jennifer F Turner 11 months ago

I thought I was the only one.

Gina Marie Muse 11 months ago

Finally just started calling my 7 month old by his name instead of babyman or mr. man. He is Alexis the 4th and because it’s a family name I had no choice and wasn’t thrilled since it’s such a feminine name. We decided to shorten it to Lex since daddy is already Alex. Still not sure I love it but it suits him

Matt Dyck 11 months ago

My wife and I picked our kids names before we got married and 6 years before our 1st was born. We had a list for boys and girls and ended up using both #1’s, Sydney for our daughter and Xavier for our son and they fit perfectly! To us it’s more about the match with the last name and the meaning behind their names and why we picked them.

Annieke Wessels 11 months ago

Should have called my son Hurricane instead of Noah…

Amanda Avery 11 months ago

I have two boys my oldest is tucker and youngest boy is Dylan. Dylan named after Matt Dillon on gunsmoke and spelt like bob Dylan tucker is in old folk song old dan tucker.

Desiree Bovero 11 months ago

My son’s name is eli michael. Id been calling him eli since i was 10 weeks pregnant, long before i knew he was even a boy! haha never thought of changing it!

Lindsey Nicole Elstein 11 months ago

I knew before kids were even a thought that I would name my first son Noah. And we did. He fits it’s perfectly! My girls names were not names you typically hear and while we came up with them early in the pregnancies, it wasn’t until they were born that we knew they were the perfect names for them. My middle daughter, Fallyn, was named after actor/comedian Jimmy Fallon and just like her name she is unique and silly and boy does she fit it we. My youngest, Graesyn, came about after a character on my favorite tv show. But we thought she was a boy for so long and had already considered her a Greyson when we found out she was a girl, that we just stuck with it. We call her Grace for short and she is such a grace!

Stephanie Watkins 11 months ago

We went through names like crazy but I think I picked wisely. My Cassidy loves her name and my Melody loves to sing.

Melissa Bye 11 months ago

I wanted Anthea for my daughter, but her dad hated it, so we agreed on Angelina. Her middle name is Vincent and I love her name!

April Easterwood 11 months ago

I named my daughter Chandler( and NO. NOT because of FRIENDS) and as I was wondering on middle names I arrive at a baby shower to find everything monogrammed with Chandler LEIGH because she is the 7 th generation LEIGH. I get it. It’s tradition but I hate hearing her name out loud. Leigh just doesn’t sound right with Chandler. I’ve told her to feel free to name her children whatever she wants. Lol


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