Oops: On Naming A Child

Four months ago we were patiently waiting to become parents and one of the final preparations at that point for us was choosing the name that would be our baby’s.

I had liked Emerson. Jon had ALMOST gotten on board with that name. But, at the last minute it was completely off the list.

I had wanted Georgianna. Or Gray. Or a host of other names that I kept trying to convince Jon to like. Maggie.

We knew at that point that we wanted her middle name to be Leigh. Jon’s middle name is Lee, mine is Leigh, baby girl’s would be Leigh. So that was settled.

And then, Jon really liked Emma Leigh. I didn’t want Emma because I thought it was too overdone and because I knew an Emma and the name was just-right for her, and I didn’t want to risk the comparisons. So Emma was out the window.

I knew I wanted something that would look nice and professional on a diploma or business card one day, but one that would also work to be little-girly too.

When Molly’s baby was born, they hadn’t settled on his name yet. It wasn’t until the final days in the hospital when his name was ultimately chosen. I knew I didn’t want to wait to that point and told Jon that we were going to have a name selected by the time we got to the hospital, even if we chose on the way, because I just wanted the name to be settled.

One day, I said “What about Elle?” and remarked that she could be Elle Leigh or even just spelled Elle folks could call her Ellie; that it was chic and sophisticated on a business card or diploma, but it was also cutesy enough for a little girl in pigtails.

Jon liked it. So did I. It was settled.

So we went about the business of naming our daughter and completing the paperwork in the hospital.

The clerk who came to take the information the first time did the paperwork for us. She asked what the baby’s name was.

“Elle.” I replied, “E-L-L-E.”

“No apostrophe’s?” the clerk asked. I was confused but told her no, no apostrophe’s.

I gave the rest of her middle and last name information.

The clerk returned later that day so I could look over the paperwork and make sure everything was correct. She had messed up the way we were presenting the last name, didn’t have Jon listed on the birth certificate at all, and our daughter’s name at that point was: Lelle.

Elle, E-L-L-E.

The apostrophe question made a lot more sense at that point.

No, I tell her, Elle is her name, not Lelle.

Oh, she says, I thought the first ‘L’ was silent.

Really?

Really.

Ok, we get that figured out.

The doctor’s office continues to call her ElleLeigh as though it’s her name (in people’s defense, we thought we’d call her Ellie/Elleleigh all one word, but that’s just not the kind of girl we got. She’s just Elle). Whatever, they keep calling me Mrs. Mason which is annoying and bothersome because we’re not married, but it’s more of a pain to correct it. And that’s a story for a different blog.

We went to a different doctor the other day and I was giving her information to the clerk.

“First Name?” she asked.

Elle, I reply, with a long pause, E-L-L-E.

She looks in her records.

“Last Name?”

Mason, I re ply. Now I’m nervous they’ve lost our appointment.

“Oh, here it is, it’s not Lelle?”

No. It’s Elle. That’s spelled E-L-L-E.

I’ve now added the ‘that’s spelled’ into the explanation so there is a definitive line between Elle and its spelling.

The clerk corrects the spelling.

“Middle initial?” she asks.

Oh crap, I realize. This is going to be good.

“L,” I say. “Just the letter, though.”

The clerk gets it all into the system and we’re set.

Only I’ve had the realization that we really screwed up Elle’s name for her, for the rest of eternity.

She will CONSTANTLY have to add ‘that’s spelled’ into any conversation about her name.

But perhaps worst of all, my daughter is Elle L Mason, like she’s some long lost relative of L.L. Bean.

Love her name and it’s the name for her — but…oops.

Sorry Elle.

 

 

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