Jen Warman: New Freakin' Mummy


Name Thieves


I love names. Names. Names. Names. Names. Names. 

I've been obsessed with names my whole life. When I was little, I gave names to the bunnies in my wallpaper border. In University, I wrote a whole essay about the importance and power of names. I've even named my reproductive organs: Eggnes, Eggelica, and Carrie — my uterus.

See, I'm obsessed.

I also have an ongoing list of names on my phone, and like to practice pairing them up with my son Cole's name:

"Cole and Raya"

"Cole and Lily"

"Cole and Claire"

As you can see, I'm convinced that our next baby will be a girl. I've had a few serious conversations with Eggnes and Eggelica and they're on board with this plan. But, if they decide to throw me a curve ball (or curve egg? sorta? well that's okay too because I have a long list of boy names to choose from as well:

"Cole and Dylan"

"Cole and Cohen"

"Cole and Myles"

I personally like all of these names, but the last name on my boy list is my new favourite and it might make the hair on one of my friend's neck stand up. Because you see...that is her name. I mean, that is her "If we decide to have babies, and if it happens to be a boy" name. It's always been an un-touchable name to me...until recently.

Because recently, I got thinking: How does name ownership work? Is it like calling shotgun? Whoever says it first, gets it? Is there an expiry date on the name claim? How many names can you claim at once? Do you have the right to be mad if a friend or family member "takes" one of your names? 

Ultimately, what are the rules and regulations in this competitive and often vicious sport of baby naming?

People are SERIOUS about their names. (See? I'm even using language that implies ownership "their names." Sigh.)

But to a certain extent, I get it. I really do.

Cole had always been "our boy name." For eight years before we had him, we knew if we had a boy that we'd name him Cole. If one of my friends or family members used the name before us, I would have been heartbroken. I would have had no choice but to re-name their child.  "I'm sorry, but I will not call your son by his birth name. I will only refer to him as Their Flesh Child (while pointing to you)."

Good luck finding that name on a toothbrush or pencil case at the dollar store, Ha! In yo' face Their Flesh Child. 

But do you see where I'm going with all of this? And now I feel like such a hypocrite, because I really like my friend's future if-we-have-a-baby name!

Of course if we do have a boy again, I would talk to her about this name issue. If it was going to be a real problem for her, I'd choose another name. But what if she said "No, that's my name." and then never had kids? Or had kids, but never had a boyThat amazing name would be lost in the land of could-have-been-names, and would ultimately end up as some shih tzu's moniker, because that's where all good names go to die. 

"Meet my dog, Charlotte."

Fuck. Scratch that one off the list.

I guess when it comes down to it folks, I have a lot of questions and few answers, but I do know this for sure...


1) Pee on it

2) Lick it

3) Tattoo it to your forehead

Now spill it — what are your thoughts on name claiming? Any day-time-soap-opera-ish stories you'd like to share surrounding this issue?