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.

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.

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. 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. 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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    • 6

      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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  3. 8

    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 nikki.no real confusion till my mum adopted her 8th child and her name is ashley haha.

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  4. 9

    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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    • 10

      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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  5. 11

    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. 12

    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. 13

    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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  8. 14

    Cathy says

    This cracks me up! My mom wanted to name me Monique but my dad didn’t like it, so as the story goes, she looked at me really hard and then said, “Hi Cathy.” Then my grandpa started calling me Katrina and she was upset because she like that better and was all, “why didn’t you mention that name before? I love it!” So I grew up as Cathy, with grandpa calling me Katrina. I very nearly changed my named to Katrina when I went off to college, fresh start and all that. I wish I had done it, I always wanted a “full name”. Having to always answer, no, it’s just Cathy. With a C. gets old :)

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  9. 15

    Sabrina says

    I was born in 1987, during Stevie Nicks’ solo career. Guess what my parents named me? I desperately wanted to change my name when I was a kid and would get my friends to call me by other names. I hated being called “Steve” and I hated having to find a way in emails to tell people I’m female without flat out saying it. When I was in school teachers asked me about my name and I’d say I was named after Stevie Nicks. The response was “That’s awesome!” “Were your parents hippies?” or “Who?” It happened every. single. year. So I legally changed my name to Sabrina when I was 23. My mom hates it and refuses to call me anything after I asked her to stop calling me Stevie.

    As for naming your kid after a character in a teen show, my 5 week old is named Willow. At least I didn’t go for Buffy.

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    • 16

      Robin says

      Wow! I first thought you were going to say your name was Rhiannon since that was a popular Fleetwood Mac name for a long time but probably a decade before you were born. (Also, your parents knew that Stevie was her nickname, right? Her real name is Stephanie.) Love Sabrina, btw. :)

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  10. 18

    Emilie M says

    I had a friend who at a young age, gained the nickname “nutmeg” which was shortened to Meg and then her parents legally changed her name (I think it was Sara or something) to Meg. I wanted to change my name to the traditional spelling for a long time because I got tired of correcting people’s pronunciation and spelling; but, now I love it. I must say that I like Summer better, but I have been traumatized by an MIL with an Elvis obsession so Presley does make me bristle a bit.

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  11. 19

    JamieLynn Bluett Lashbrook Walker says

    I have always wanted to change my 7 year old daughters name as soon as I wrote the birth announcements. Her middle name is used so much because it goes with practically and first name, Marie. I waned Louise or Denim. Wish my husband would let me change it. My daughter wouldn't mind either. Love my other two kids names though.

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  12. 20

    TJ says

    My grandmother didn’t have a name until she was 3 yrs old. They just called her “the baby” until her mom got pregnant again and they figured they’d better name her since she wasn’t going to be the baby anymore.

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    • 21

      Wendy says

      That’s exactly what happened with my mom! They just called her “Baby” until she was 3, and her little brother was born. A popular song at the time (1921) had the name Marjorie in it, so that’s what they went with, and it suited her!

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  13. 22

    Angela Killian Arsana says

    Our third edition to the family was our first boy, so my husband wanted to give him a name from his culture (as he did with the previous two) but this time for the first name. So he was baby boy Arsana for the ENTIRE hospital stay. the day I was discharged they came in and demanded he choose a name and threatened (jokingly(i think)) that they would name him baby boy arsana legally. LOL. So seven days as Baby boy, my husband FINALLY came up with a name.

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    • 24

      Daphne Hoyle says

      I think they were waiting to discharge us cause Tsisquaya's birth certificate wasn't complete. Woman kept getting aggravated cause we hadn't decided on her name. At 2 days old, she finally had a name. :)

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  14. 25

    The Next Step says

    You are not crazy at all. I keep toying with the idea of changing one of my girls names to Norah. Many crazy reasons why – but she’s already 3+ so, it’s probably never going to happen.

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  15. 26

    Kat says

    This is so awesome. I hope the story doesn’t end here. I can’t wait to find out what Summer thinks of the name change. For what it’s worth I think BOTH names are darling for a little girl. It was a win win! But at least you can sleep at night now, I would have hated to live with that regret!

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  16. 27

    Dorothy Campbell says

    I can relate to this completely. I never was able to feel comfortable calling my 1st son by his name, middle name, or even junior. When he was a couple months old I called him Charlie which is a nickname based off his middle name and it was an instant relief. I wouldn't legally change it but I know he will go by Charlie forever. Everyone that knows him says yep he is a Charlie!

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