Motherhood Uncensored‘s Kristen Chase has made peace with the fact that her own first name will regularly be misspelled by strangers. What she can’t ever accept, however, is that her mother-in-law consistently misspells Chase’s daughter’s name.
The girl baby name in question is Margot, the silent “t” made invisible by Nana’s pen (or, in this case, keyboard).
It turns out Nana’s not the only careless grandma out there. Just mentioning Chase’s blog post to my colleagues, I was hit with a deluge of MIL missteps, from misspelling a grandchild’s name to renaming a daughter-in-law. I also have been in the uncomfortable position of correcting how a grandchild’s name is pronounced. Or, you know, the actual name of my son.
My eldest child’s name is Beatrice and for the longest time a number of her blood relatives called her either be-AT-trice or BEE-trice. Your skin just crawled, right? I blame the long distance and the fact that they heard her name once or twice on the phone right after birth before we switched to emails and birth announcements, where their minds were left to invent personalized ways of saying it.
My 1-year-old son, whose name is Earl (stop, it’s cute!), gets cards and gifts addressed to “Errol.” Not from his grandparents, mercifully. But some other relatives. I blame my in-laws’ mid-Atlantic accents, the ones that make “bury” rhyme with “furry” and “water” rhyme with, well, no known word in the English language. When they say “Earl,” it has two syllables and does sound an awful lot like “Errol.” Still, the kid is almost 2 and, like Chase, I feel like this name thing should have been settled by now.
I know this is the part where I should counsel parents to think twice about what they name their kids, how it’s spelled, etc. But the thing is, you can’t really anticipate this kind of thing. Earl? How should we have known? Beatrice? Those alternate pronunciations are, if you ask me, totally made up.
My own name gets all kinds of extra e’s and substitute y’s. And something I noticed, too: about a dozen years ago, people started pronouncing the final syllable to rhyme with “fine,” which is the Americanized pronunciation of the little French girl who lived in a house covered in vines. Nobody actually goes with the pronunciation, do they?
Anyway, since misspelled, mispronounced, misunderstood names are apparently all the rage, perhaps you’re going through it too. What’s getting messed up in your family? And what do you do — especially after you’ve already called them out. Should we just let it go?
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