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.

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.

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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.


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  1. Amy - Funny is Family says

    I know more than one family who decided they didn’t like their baby’s name and just started calling the baby something else. Usually Baby. In two families, the parents can’t agree, so they both have names for the child, and haven’t decided what the kids will be called when they start school.

    Good for you to save your daughter so much hassle in the future by making her name change legal. Also, mad props to your husband for going along with it!

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  2. jasbeeray says

    This is my first! I am sorry but I find this hilarious! For 9 months you have been calling her everything else but presley! Poor baby. I’ve known friends who changed their given birth name at a much of older age. How would you feel if after 18 years, Summer changes her name? By the way, I love Summer over Presley ;-)

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    • Debbi says

      My mom’s name was Patricia Jones before she got married. Her legal name was Baby Girl Jones until she was 3, that’s when her parent’s decided it was time to name her.

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        • Sharon Tomas says

          Parents should have a name for their newborn baby very shortly after birth. It boggles my mind that anyone would procrastinate for up to 3 years to do so. We named our daughter Carol Michelle but ended up calling her my her middle name. That creates enough problems later on. Her first name, maiden name and married name are on her drivers license while her first, middle and married name are on her college degree. We did her a disservice by calling her by her middle name but would never have gone in a actually changed her name entirely.

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  3. Ashli says

    My legal name was always Ashli but from before I was born I was called Nikki. My mum had 6-8 (probation)teenage girls in the house and boy or girl they wanted to call my mums bump something. My dad got to name me and I already had a cousin across the country named nicole so I got ashli. I went by nikki till I was 20 then just work was ashley and now at 27 only ppeople from my childhood and close family call me real confusion till my mum adopted her 8th child and her name is ashley haha.

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  4. Cathy says

    In Maryland it’s much easier. Only a little paperwork and some cash, as long as both parents agree. ANd in the first year it is free to change your child’s name. We changed our daughter’s name legally when she was about 8. We named her one thing and called her something else since the day she was born. Lead to all kinds of confusion. Finally she said, “Mom, i’m a Millie inside”. So we went to court, got the papers and now she’s a Millie on the outside too.

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    • Charles says

      I think Maryland’s got it right. I’d even suggest going a step further and imposing a mandatory waiting period, until the first birthday, to designate a legal name. That way, children could be given names based on who they are, rather than according to some fleeting whim. Of course, some parents would still insist on following the Procrustean method, which is kind of like buying shoes and then trying to make your feet fit them.

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      • Chelsea says

        I’d rather not add yet another paperwork session after a mandatory waiting period, if you please. From the day I knew I was first pregnant, I said, “if it’s a girl, her name is Raelin.”. The grandmothers threw fits, lectured me against it. But when she was about 9 months old, my mom came to me and said “You know, she really IS a Raelin. That name is just perfect for her.”

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        • Rebecca Rose says

          My mom threw a fit when we picked out the name Piper for our youngest. She told me “it’s not a real name.” Now she wouldn’t have it any other way. She is definitely a Piper.

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          • Strategsister says

            That’s why we stopped telling the family. They have a lot less to argue about when the little one’s already arrived and the ink is dry.

            Now we tell them “We’re waiting to meet the baby to name them” which is never true, but they don’t bug/offer their own obnoxious ideas. And they only fuss a little after the birth.

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          • Jill says

            I wish I would have asserted myself. We chose or son’s name right away, he is named for his grandpas, but I wanted to call him Robin for his nick name. Husband and grandpa he is named for don’t like Robin, so I said fine, but he is a Robert and not Bobby. I still regret not seeing my foot down. He is such a Robin.

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  5. Amanda says

    You definitely have a very understanding husband! I like Summer-it sounds sweet & fun. Presley sounds a bit mean. I’m not sure why, but that’s my morning feeling.

    Great post!

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  6. Jenn @ Mommy Needs A Martini says

    So funny! I desperately wanted to change my first daughters name but just didn’t have the nerve! 3yrs later, no other name would fit her but I still don’t use her name lol Good for you! And kudos to your hubs!

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  7. jessica o says

    We wanted to name our daughter after my husband’s mom who had passed away. Decided to match middle names. So… we have a Sophia Magdalene, come to find out a year later, his mom’s middle name was Madeline. (Apparently an accent kept some family from speaking clearly.)

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    • susan says

      I’m the same! I’m Susan Christine after my Mum’s Mum and her Auntie. No one ever called Auntie Teen by her proper name and when I was about 25 my Mum was talking about me being called after Teen and my Gran and Auntie Teen said “but I’m a Christina!” My Mum was horrified but Teen just fell about laughing :-D

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