That’s the question posed by the mum of a four year old girl called Esmée.
A mum’s question
The mum posted the question on parenting website, Mumsnet. She said that she had given her daughter the name as she believed it was very original and hadn’t heard another girl called it in a couple of decades. The mum goes on to explain that when she started nursery, another girl had the same name (though with a different spelling) but soon she is due to start school and there will be two classmates with the same name. She expressed her annoyance and said that it upset her as she was one of five with the same in her own class at school and she had “lived through this”. She changed her own name as soon as she could. The mum asked if she was being unreasonable to want to change her daughter’s name before school starts as she hates that it is so common now.
Changing a child’s name
Now I’m sure many of us have had second thoughts about the chosen name for our baby, and changing the name before registering the birth is not uncommon. But to change the name when the child is four years old, already aware of their given name, with friends and family who know her by that name … that’s a little more out of left field.
I can only recall one child with the same name as me throughout my entire childhood. My own kids have names that are very uncommon and it has taken until year 9 for one of them to finally end up with a child with the same name in their class. It has caused some issues with the roll call. So while I’m not that au fait with the issues that have obviously caused this mother such distress, I can see how it might be frustrating.
But, to quote Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, “That’s life”! Life is going to offer up circumstances that you will have to deal with; that will be frustrating, annoying or even disturbing. Having the same name as someone else seems to be pretty low in the bag of what life chooses to throw at you next! What happens when she chooses a different name, goes through all of the complexities of getting everyone used to the new name and a kid with the new name moves into town and joins her class? What about the following years at school with different classmates?
Some commenters suggested reverting to a nickname or using a middle name rather than going all out and changing the child’s name.
Sharing a name
In 2017, the most popular name for baby girls in New Zealand was Charlotte. In fact, there were 277 babies given that name. For boys, Oliver was the most popular baby name in 2017 with 314 taken on the name. Whilst there is a huge range of names every year – over 13,000 last year – almost 40% of babies had names within the top 100 of names chosen. So the problem is one that is bound to be experienced by many kids and their parents.
Is it really so wrong to share the same name as someone else? Maybe it gives the child a connection to someone else who may also be starting school and looking for a friend? And after all, your child is so much more than just a name.
Did you reconsider your baby’s name? Have you ever wished that you had chosen a different name? Join our discussion in the comments below.
This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.
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