So Your Kid Has a Weird Name

So Your Kid Has a Weird Name | Twin Cities Moms Blog

You’re not going to spell her name right —you might as well just call her “the baby.”

Confession: We gave our daughter a weird name.

It’s not, like, celebrity weird. It is not a cardinal direction or a common fruit. But it’s just quirky enough that she will never, ever, find her name on a gas station keychain.

The name could have been relatively normal, but we spelled it wrong. On purpose.

When I posted it on Facebook, I could almost feel the judgment behind all of the likes. But you know what? We had a reason, one that means a lot to us. And I bet you do too, whether you turned Haley into Hailee, pulled Archibald out of the vault, or named your twins Lemonjello and Orangejello.

I may be new to parenting, but I have 31 years of experience with weird names. Hi, my name is Daci, and I’m positive you just pronounced that wrong in your head (you’re not alone). But you know what? I’m over it. I’m used to being called Darcy, Dawson, even Dynasty that one time. I would even go so far as to say that it made me a more interesting and easy-going human.

So if you’ve got a Padraig or a Camryn or a Lightbulb at home, and you’re feeling judged, here are a few thoughts from someone who has stopped telling Starbucks baristas her real name—and resigned her daughter to the same fate:

  1. A unique name is a built-in conversation-starter. Congratulations! You’ve saved your child from that awkward silence that comes after “nice to meet you.” From now until eternity, she will spend the first few minutes of every conversation explaining her name. Some people choose to look at this as a bad thing —I say it’s helped me with my people skills.
  2. The grass is always greener. Nearly every Jennifer, Megan, and Sarah I’ve ever met has told me they were jealous of my unique name. Which is funny because on the first day of school every year, as I waited for the teacher to mispronounce my name, I shrunk into my desk and prayed that my name would suddenly change to Jennifer. My point: you’re not necessarily making your kid happier by forgoing the unique name.
  3. A name can tell a story. My daughter is the child of an immigrant, but on first impression nothing about her tells that story—except her name. In the assimilated society we live in, a unique name can be a badge of pride. If that’s something you’re considering, one day that will mean more to your kid than a personalized keychain. (Although I imagine finding your name on one of those racks of keychains is the equivalent of being handed a litter of puppies and a winning lottery ticket by Oprah. I guess I’ll never know.)
  4. A normal name doesn’t exclude you from bullying. Internet moms like to claim that if you give your kid an unusual name, they’ll get teased. Here’s the sad truth— Every kid gets teased for something, at some point. This one episode of Full House that I saw approximately 20 years ago always spoke to me: The kids at Stephanie’s school are making fun of her [extremely normal] name, calling her Step On Me. She wants to change her name to Dawn. Danny Tanner, in his infinite wisdom, calmly tells her that if her name were Dawn, the kids would think of something else to call her, like “Dawn”-ald Duck. The comforting music played in the background. They hugged. Comet wagged his tail. I learned a life lesson. And I hope you did, too.

44 Responses to So Your Kid Has a Weird Name

  1. Kate April 15, 2016 at 6:50 AM #

    I agree! I have a very common name and it’s ok but when people hear our unique named daughter they all love it. The name sounds pretty, it’s got a fantastic legend and she has never been teased about it because it doesn’t really rhyme bad.

    My sister is a nurse and gives a nickname to patients because she might only have 5 min and 3 should not be about her name.

  2. Leigh April 15, 2016 at 9:50 AM #

    As someone with a hard to pronounce hard to spell name, all four of mine have super classic names. George is in the carrier as I type. Not the Jennifer with four in a class, but on one will miss pronounce and spelling is easy (Catherine with a C)

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:32 PM #

      I love George! Although there may be so many Jorjes soon he may have to clarify his spelling, too 😉

  3. Myndee April 15, 2016 at 11:39 AM #

    As a Myndee, who is the mother of a Kadence, I can’t tell you how much I love this post. 🙂

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:34 PM #

      Thanks! The world needed to know that all of us kids with weird names aren’t doomed 🙂

  4. Paula Ugelow April 15, 2016 at 1:27 PM #

    My daughter is named Brianne. No one can ever get her name right. She has been called Brian, Brianna, and countless other wrong names. I love her name. That is why we chose it.

    • Daci
      Daci April 15, 2016 at 2:56 PM #

      exactly! 🙂

    • Breanne April 17, 2016 at 6:19 PM #

      Paula! My name is Breanne and my parents named me Brianne at birth. I love my name, two birth certificates and all :). My mom ended up changing the spelling to avoid countless comments about Brian, the cute little boy (I was a very bald baby for a LONG time). It’s true that I’ve never found my name on a keychain, but I don’t lose any sleep over that! Cheers to fun, quirky names!

  5. Rabia @TheLiebers April 15, 2016 at 1:54 PM #

    I’m Rabia. It’s a unique name I’ve always loved because of the story behind it. I often have to correct people when they mispronounce it, but that really helps weed out the telemarketers!

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:34 PM #

      Ooh, I forgot about that perk!

  6. Cardell April 15, 2016 at 11:35 PM #

    My name is Cardell and my son’s name is J’den. I never got a personalized keychain or cup, and neither will my son. We did receive personalized coke bottles from my brother tho. Anyone can order those directly from the company. Made us smile. ? and yes our names are always pronounced incorrectly.

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

      haha, someone made me a “personalized” Coke bottle by taking one that said David and getting creative with masking tape. He also bought me a backup one that said Fabiola (because that’s a common name!)

  7. Mindy April 16, 2016 at 7:33 PM #

    I completely understand this, I have a pretty normal name and so do my two sons, but daughter has a very unique name and we even spelled it different then the normal spellinf. No one has every for her name right, my husband and I and her older brother. Most convenient start with how do u pronounce her name and how did u come up with it.We liked her name, so that’s why we picked it.

  8. Joanna April 16, 2016 at 8:00 PM #

    My baby is Ziva. We originally heard the name on NCIS, but were determined not to name her after a TV show alone, so we researched the meaning. Score! She was due on April 22, the first day of the Hebrew month Ziv (the male form of Ziva); the meaning of her name is the same as my husband’s (Luke: light, brilliance). So, yes…she’s named after a show. But, there’s so, so much more to it than that.

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:41 PM #

      I love that name! You had to hear it somewhere first, right??
      My daughter’s name is Hebrew too 🙂

    • Giovanna April 24, 2016 at 5:44 PM #

      I love that name!

  9. Koren April 16, 2016 at 11:03 PM #

    Ha! My name is always pronounced Karen- I’ve even had people try to correct ME on my own name. It does start a lot of conversations though!

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:35 PM #

      Yes! All the time, people think my name is Darci and I’ve just left out the r.

  10. Amy April 17, 2016 at 10:36 PM #

    So what is your daughter’s name??

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:37 PM #

      It’s somewhere between Archibald and Lightbulb 🙂 Since she does have a fairly uncommon name, I haven’t really decided how much I want to put her full name out there in the world. I’m struggling with that!

  11. Crystal April 18, 2016 at 10:48 AM #

    Did I miss what you named your daughter?
    I have a Talan, Olivia (Livi), and Savana (Savi)

    • Daci
      Daci April 18, 2016 at 1:39 PM #

      I love those names – and they’re all really cute together! You didn’t miss it – since she does have a fairly uncommon name, I haven’t really decided how much I want to put her full name out there in the world. I’m struggling with that…because I really like her name and think everyone should know what a good name-picker-outer I am 😉

    • Allison April 19, 2016 at 6:17 PM #

      I have a Savi, too! My kids are Savanna and Connor.

  12. Shelley April 18, 2016 at 1:17 PM #

    Although my name is not that unusual the spelling is. No keychains for me! But we named our daughter Karlyn. We didn’t really think it was unusual at the time but she has come to learn that if her name is announced for something and the person is struggling with Karie Lynn, kart-lynn, carol-lynn; it’s probably her. We laugh about is and it is definitely a conversation started. She is happy to pronounce and re pronounce her name any time she meets someone new.

  13. Grae April 18, 2016 at 4:06 PM #

    Totally agree with your first point that it’s a conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve introduced myself as “My name is Grae, like the color.” Then get to tell the story of why my parents gave me my name. Now I have a son named Brigham-like the University! 🙂

  14. Ann April 18, 2016 at 7:29 PM #

    My name is Ann and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called Amy…? You just can’t win! ?

  15. Andrea April 18, 2016 at 10:26 PM #

    I love this… my name is Andrea… pronounced Ondrea. The variations that come from it are quite comical since it really shouldn’t be that hard to say. It is a great conversation piece, though!

  16. Renja DeGroff April 18, 2016 at 10:38 PM #

    I can tell you from experience that having a different name –! And I would never do that to my children. My name is Renja and I guarantee that most of you just said it wrong or thought wth? My name is FORGETTABLE! I have been vet tech for 19 years and it has interfered with my professional life- clients don’t remember my name and that alone is a self confidence downer! I’m so sick of new acquaintances not remembering my name! I would love to be named Jessica or Sarah or anything just as common just so people could remember ME and get past their anxiety of not remembering my name! And by the way, I named my daughter’s Savannah and Kaitlyn. Common yet, unique 🙂

  17. Cinella April 19, 2016 at 12:15 AM #

    I LOVE MY NAME! And my daughters love theirs too (Marlise, Eliada and Annaleah)

  18. Jenny Oldenburg April 19, 2016 at 12:43 PM #

    I love this post! We named our daughter Calliope, which we knew was uncommon but did not consider “weird.” But then we started introducing her to people and a lot of them didn’t recognize it as a word much less a name! I don’t have name regret or anything but I wish I’d been more prepared for having to repeat it a million times and saying, “No, really, it’s real, it’s Greek, I didn’t make it up.”

  19. Carrie April 19, 2016 at 12:49 PM #

    I love this. My daughter is Evann. Pronounced just like Evan for a boy. She’s only 6 months and so people constantly call her a boy, or ask if it is pronounced Ev- Ann. It already starts conversations for me so I can only imagine her interpersonal skills she will develop at a child (she’s also the baby of 4 so that doesn’t hurt)

  20. kerensa April 19, 2016 at 2:12 PM #

    I love my name now that I am an adult but I hated it growing up. go figure.

  21. Kylene April 19, 2016 at 2:57 PM #

    My name is Kylene and I was just discussing names with my mom and grandma the other day. On the topic of liking our names I told them I hated it when I was younger but I love it now. They asked me why, and my reason is the same for both- I hated it when I was younger because it was so unique and now I love it because it is so unique!

  22. Ashley April 19, 2016 at 5:47 PM #

    I have a lovely daughter named Yasmin. Roughly 90% of the population think her name is (or should be) jasmine. I love that Y with all my heart. ❤️

  23. Megan April 20, 2016 at 2:34 PM #

    We named our daughter a very classic, normal name…Lily, spelled liked the flower, but people always want to add an extra “L” to it. Common or not, you can’t win, so you might as well just pick something you love! With my name being Megan, I didn’t want her to have a common name, but I loved “Lily” too much to choose anything else. It fits her so well too!

  24. Jaquel April 20, 2016 at 8:22 PM #

    Awesome! HELLO…my name is Jaquel (you would not believe how I’ve heard it pronounced). I can beyond relate to this! I named my oldest daughter, Avalahna and my youngest, Jorja. An entire family of names to mispronounce. Cheers to all the people who live life being called by the wrong name (at times)! 🙂

  25. Mary April 21, 2016 at 12:23 AM #

    I totally understand why you aren’t sharing her name, so don’t think I’m trying to bully you. But I actually only read the article because I was curious what her name was. Ha! It’s kinda like you told a joke, but you aren’t telling the punch line. 🙂 We have an long and uncommon last name that we have to spell for everyone, so we gave our kids easy first names. Emma, Julia, Andrew… We also have Molly and Isabel. Didn’t think we would have issues with their names, but we get a lot of Mollie spellings and Isabella. 🙂 Even Julia is mistaken for Julie sometimes, so even easy names get messed up too!

  26. Shawnna April 21, 2016 at 8:38 AM #

    Our daughter is Hyla 🙂 I love unique names, and do believe it will teach her to speak up in life.

  27. Allison April 22, 2016 at 9:15 PM #

    I think this is a great post , but their is a flip side to certain names that people choose because they are trendy and not necessarily long term implications .
    I wish you would share her name – it would make the post mean so much more .
    We have an Ansley – but people always want to say it with an Ai sound .
    I never liked my name growing up .

  28. Anna April 22, 2016 at 10:27 PM #

    We named our youngest Declan, my manager was like why would you do that to your child? Do you know how much he is going to get teased…..I do not know how that man lived! Declan’s or dec dec-he’s only two- name is said wrong alot when we go to dr offices, And spelled wrong when we tell it to someone and they write it down. Sad thing is it is in the top 10 for this year in baby names……our oldest name is Colton, slim chances on personalized items for either of them. Since frozen came out my name has suddenly changed too. From anna to ahna……im like uh no. My coworkers tell me to just let it go…….

  29. Holly April 23, 2016 at 8:21 AM #

    I love this I didn’t want my daughters to have common names although 2 of them did. I hated and still don’t care for my name I always wanted something unique. So I gave my daughters more unique names.
    Samara most people just call her Sam cause they can’t pronounce her name.
    Kadence most people mess her name up also
    Isabelle Arianna it’s more common but everyone wants to say Isabela. And then the most common name husbands fault lol

  30. Giovanna April 24, 2016 at 5:47 PM #

    @ Daci i hear you about not sharing your daughter’s name. My son has an extremely unique name (like probably less than 100 people have ever been named it) and I never share it in public forums.

  31. Sharon May 10, 2016 at 11:30 AM #

    My oldest name is Aubrianna. Pronounce Aubri- anna not auna. I read negative comments online statues saying the name is made up. Everyone I bump into loves my daughter name. Everyone still mispronounced my daughter name but thinks it’s beautiful. My son name is Seth not that commen but not different. Being pregnant again. This baby girl name will be Ameyaa. What’s great about my children names are not too weird. Me and my husband love my children name!

  32. Mary A May 17, 2016 at 8:07 PM #

    My name is Mary which is as boring as can be because my Mother’s name is Pucky. Her real name is Aurelia, but she’s just Pucky. Yes like Hockey Pucky. and it makes her awesome.

    My boys have boring, common, catholic first names and crazy Japanese middle names. (Their dad is Japanese). Best of both worlds.

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