I’m due with a boy in July. We have a name ready for him already, but I’ve recently realized a potential problem and I was wondering, now that they’re working again, if it might be possible to use your trusty polling to help figure out if this potential problem is something I should worry about or not.
I’m actually surprised I hadn’t needed to write to you sooner because my husband and I were pretty far apart when it came to naming styles. Like many husbands, mine was partial to the names he grew up with in the 1970s and 1980s (particularly the girls he had crushes on – what is up with that?!). For a girl, he would be very happy to use the name Jennifer. (Me? Not so much.) We were able to find a name for this child in the end but literally only one. (This is not a “take options to the hospital” situation.) The only name we’ve agreed on is Maxwell (nn Max). I think it’s great. My husband thinks it’s great. We’re both happy. So what’s the problem?
I know Max is on the more popular side these days, though I’m not aware of any in my group of friends with kids. Still, I know there is a potential for him to not be the only Max in class. And our last name begins with C. So he may be Max C. I was in the shower the other day when I suddenly realized that Max C sounds like “maxi”. So now I’m concerned about “maxi pad” teasing. So my question is this: Does the potential for “maxi pad” teasing make the name unusable? Or, rather, would it stop you or your readers from using the name? I don’t want to saddle my child with something he’ll hate. Of course, being pregnant and hormonal means I could be blowing this out of proportion, so I’d love the feedback. If we need to go back to the drawing board, we need all the time we can get!
If there is literally only one name you and your husband can agree on, then our task is to see if we can eliminate/avoid any problems with it, not to rule it out for something that may or may not be a problem.
For it to be a problem, ALL of these things would have to happen:
1. He would have to be in a classroom with more than one Max.
2. There would have to be only one possible solution: to call him Max C.
3. “Max C.” would have to sound like “maxi” to other people.
4. “Maxi” would have to make those people think of “maxi pad.”
5. Those people would have to choose to use that as a taunting nickname.
ALL OF THOSE THINGS would have to happen together. When even the first thing on the list is something that may never happen—and if it did, the second thing on the list is not true.
My kids have periodically been in classrooms where more than one kid has the same name. There have been VARIOUS solutions to this, and I believe it is always determined via discussion. That is, so far I don’t believe any of the teachers have said, “Right. So I will call YOU this, and YOU that.” Instead it is “How shall we handle this?” Sometimes the solution is Madison L. and Madison H. Sometimes the solution is Madison and Maddy. Sometimes the solution is Maddy Jane and Maddy Rose. Sometimes the solution is Madison Elridge and Madison Arthur. Sometimes the solution is Maddy and MJ.
Even if your Max is in a classroom with another Max, AND even if Max C. would lead everyone immediately to call him Maxi Pad, ruining his childhood—EVEN SO, there are so many options that avoid this path. He could go by Maxwell while the other Max goes by Max, or he could go by Maxwell C., or by M.C., or by Wells, or by his first and middle names, or by his first and middle initials, or by his first name and middle initial.
I will put up a poll. I am concerned, however, that this will bring us to the phenomenon where a hundred people can say a name is great, but it’s hard to ignore the one person who says “Bleah.” Or where an author/actor/screenwriter can get a hundred glowing reviews, but it’s the one negative one that sticks with them. I could put up a poll for ANY ISSUE IN THE WORLD, even an issue where you would think NO ONE would vote that it was a problem (“Does the name Emily make you think of strippers?”) and SOMEONE would vote that it was a problem. Still, if a poll would help, I will put up a poll:
Hi Swistle! You posted my question back in May. I’d held off sending an update because I felt as though “and we named him Max” would be the most boring update ever. I wondered if I should wait until he’d been through elementary school and let you know if he ever had to be referred to as Max C and the implications of that. But that seemed a little extreme. So instead I will tell you that we did name him Maxwell (nn Max) (probably not a surprise) and that your comments and those of your readers helped me feel MUCH better about choosing it. But I also have to tell you that I hadn’t been as excited about the name as I’d hoped I’d be (maybe because we came to it so early and had no other real contenders; I’m not sure), which was compounded by the fact that we were hearing the name Max a bunch after he was born (around in public places but also by a friend who had her baby a month later and also used Maxwell). But I was rocking him in the middle of the night the other night and the words “baby Max” went through my head. At that moment, a warm feeling came over me and I realized it was about the name. It took a while, but now I totally love it. (I still prefer that people not call him Maxi though. Ha!) Thanks again, Hettie