Poor parents! Not only do they have to deal with a kid for the rest of their lives (and let us speak from experience — 30 years does not a grown-up make), but there’s also the tricky, pothole-ridden problem of naming the little whippersnapper, because you get it wrong and, oh holy hell, start the therapy sessions now.
But like most tales of parenting and the numerous and seemingly insurmountable difficulties that ensue from the miraculous act of sperm meeting egg and creating howling human, this one strikes us as a little…well…overwrought and self-aggrandizing. We at the Voice like parents, we even have them, and some of us are them. But we are less fond of parents telling us how gosh-darn hard they have it. Because we (generally speaking) did not impregnate you, you know? And we all have our own crosses to bear. Like, some of us don’t even have boyfriends.
But now we learn (thank you, New York Times) that a percentage of parents are plagued — plagued! — with sorrow and despair over what they’ve chosen to name their newborns.
A 2007 survey by BabyCenter found that 3 percent of parents feel regret and would change their baby’s name if they could.
Oh, honey, we hear you, naming is hard. We once named a cat, and even though she’s long gone now (R.I.P. Patches), we still wonder: Should we have gone with Mittens? Or perhaps she was really a Fluffer-Nutter. Did we stunt her completely, or force upon her a gender-identification based in our own corrupt psychology? By naming her “Patches,” are we cat-racists… or did we actually infuse in her a sense of ownership regarding her calico heritage? (She seemed to end up okay, despite puking on the floor now and again — but what do we really know?)
Some of those neurotic concerned parents actually have changed their baby’s names, regardless of the paperwork required:
At the age of eight months, Presley’s parents started calling her Summer. It took six visits to civil court but now the government calls her that too.
We have on good authority that 3 percent of parents, by the way, have also had their brains slowly sucked out by aliens from another planet, but that’s neither here nor there. Also, downgrading to “Summer”? Bad move.
To the remaining 97 percent of parents who have bravely gone forward with their selected child names despite those niggling worries that keep them up at night — Can New York state balance the budget? Will an asteroid bash into the Earth and kill us all? Should we have actually named little Hannah “Gertrude… or “Tiffani”… or “Rainbow”? — we congratulate you on your fortitude and clarity of conscience. Once you stamp that baby, there’s no looking back, at least not that we want to hear about.
Oh, and parents? Restaurant-namers have it really hard, too!