what's in a name?

This is AN INTERESTING STORY. An unmarried couple expecting a baby could not agree on what last name the baby would have. The mother wanted the baby to have her last name - also the name of her other children. The father wanted the baby to have HIS last name, and especially objected to the baby having the woman's last name because it wasn't her birth name, but her ex-husband's last name. The court finally had to step in to decide.

I kept my ex-husband's last name after we divorced, and also after I married Jon, because it has been my name since I was 22 years old, and because I want to have the same name as my children. This seemed important to them as well (really, I wish I had never changed my name at all. I will strongly encourage my daughter to keep her birth name should she ever marry).

Interestingly, JON ALSO CARRIES A NAME FROM HIS EX. When they married, he legally changed his middle name to her birth name, and she legally changed her last name to his. I think this was a very sweet way to do things. Anyway, when they divorced, he decided to just keep his ex's birth name as his middle name. I assume she dropped his last name, but I am not sure.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I have my ex's last name as my last name and Jon has his ex's last name as his middle name. And of course, all three of my kids have their father's last name. Around our house, the children often jokingly combine Granju and Hickman and refer to us as "the Hick-Ju" bunch.

So now we are expecting a little "Hick-Ju" offspring, and I would really like the baby to have some nominal connection to his/her Granju siblings. I suggested making the baby's middle name "Granju," but Jon gave this the big thumbs down and the few other people I've mentioned it to seem to thin I am insane for suggesting such a thing.

Anyone else got any bright ideas?


Anonymous said...

I agree with the people who think you're insane...Granju has nothing to do with this baby. Start fresh and leave the ghosts in the past.

How about giving the baby your birth name as a middle name and Hickman as his/her last name?

jehu said...

Why does the child need a nominal connection?

lcreekmo said...

jehu-Such "nominal" connections really, really matter to kids. And to all of us in ways you might not imagine at first glance.

When I got married, I kept my own name. When my daughter was born, we gave her my husband's last name. It was never a big deal....but now I'm divorced and I have adopted a baby, who of course has my last name. My daughter had a really hard time understanding why I did not either:
A. give the baby her last name [my ex-husband's name] or
B. allow her to change her name to my last name. [I'm thinking this would not have gone over well with the ex. :) ]

Nonetheless, we've worked past the name issue and it's all fine...but it's awfully hard to send mail to us or to easily say "who" we are. I know all blended families have this challenge....wish there were a good answer.

Anonymous said...

Its middle name could be Hej, for Henry, Elliot, Jane.

Peter Hej Hickman sounds great to me. Or Jeh, Patricia Jeh Hickman.

Or, Henry, Jane and Elliot could pick out the new baby's name and he/she would always know the older siblings had a 'name connection.'

Anonymous said...

What about "Granju" as a second middle name - i.e. Esmerelda Hyacinth Granju Hickman. (first and middle names not real suggestions, just for illustrative purposes, particularly if it's a boy).

It connects the baby to the other kids and also connects the baby to *you*, since that's your name.

Alternatively, what about adding Allison as an additional middle name to *everyone's* name? Then you'd have a connection with your birth name in all of your family.


Anonymous said...

I agree with the suggestions to let H, J and E choose the baby's first (and maybe middle) name (s).
Also like the idea of them all having Allison as middle name.

In Portugal you always get your mother's plus your father's surnames. You can even get your maternal grandparents surnames plus your paternal grandparents surnames. Our names are usually composed of one or two first names (like Ana Maria or John Henry) and then 4 surnames. Patricia Bridget Anderson Allison Something Hickman is a typical Portuguese name.

Sorry if this doesn't help a lot ;P

Marta from Lisbon

Anonymous said...

Correction: Patricia Bridget Anderson Allison Something Hickman could be a typical Portuguese name.
A typical Portugues name is Ana Maria Carvalho Silva Santos Cardoso! ;P

Mia Storm said...

Or, Henry, Jane and Elliot could pick out the new baby's name and he/she would always know the older siblings had a 'name connection.'

It could be really nice to let your children pick out the baby's middle name. Siblings can be a big help with names sometimes. A cousin of mine saved her younger brother from a terrible first name by suggesting a more felicitous alternative that had special meaning to the circumstances of his birth and he's been grateful to her ever since.

Leslie said...

You probably don't want to do this at this point but if I were you I would add Jon's name to your own, and then you, at least, would share a name with all your children. You could continue to use the name you now have professionally, since you are already known that way.

Would Jon agree to a hyphenated surname for the baby, Granju-Hickman?

If you don't want to let the kids actually choose the baby's name, you could give them the choice of a nickname if you plan to use one. A friend of mine had a sister nameds Elizabeth, but he was the one who got to choose to call her Betsy.

Anonymous said...

I think all of you should agree on a name in common and then each of you should add the same name to your names. In Tennessee you can either get your name changed legally, or you can just begin to use the new name, as long as you have no intent to defraud anyone.

Vol Abroad said...

I agree with the first anonymous commenter.

My mom changed her name when she got remarried (I was 19 and my brother was 11) and I was only pissed off because she had gone my whole life regretting that she had changed her name - wishing that she had given us her surname as our middle name, blah, blah, blah. It seemed hypocritical to me when she took her 2nd husband's surname.

When I got married, I kept my original birth name. Now I'm expecting, the kid will definitely have my husband's surname. If it's a boy it will also have my surname as a second middle name. I can't decide if I will do this with a girl or not. Truthfully the main reason I'm doing it is that the middle name I'm using for a boy is Carson and:

Carson + Husband's surname = well known East Tennessee Baptist college

But my husband has his mom's maiden name as his 2nd middle name and he said he was surprised when he found out his sister didn't have the same.

Anonymous said...

I think you should pick up the Hickman too, KAG, so you can transition from the Granju eventually to Hickman, and drop the first husband's name.

I like the idea of letting the kids pick the middle name (but not Granju, which is your ex-husband's family name and I can see why Jon would be insulted by the idea of having another man's surname as part of his child's name).

My cousin let his first born name the next child, and so he became "Joe" (after G.I. Joe, no less).

Kizz said...

I once knew a couple who didn't want to hyphenate or to have either one use the other's last name. So they just picked a third one and both changed to that. You, John & Baby could do that and the HJE could have the option to hyphenate it with their current surname.

Anonymous said...

Insane?No.Seriously confused-yes.It must be the pregnancy brain-melt syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Your kids are old enough it might work but I have heard absolute horror stories about parents who "let" siblings name the new baby and they were stuck with what the kids picked. I just look at the names my kids have given their stuffed animals and pets and couldn't imagine letting them name a kid who will have to live with that forever. I mean what if your kid decided to name his sibling "Napoleon"??? You can take suggestions but I would leave the final naming to the parents.
And I defineatly can see your husbands point about having the ex husbands name in there.

Janice said...

Katie, I wouldn't say insane, exactly, but I do think it's a very bad idea to saddle this new baby with the name of your ex and his family. He or she will be connected with Henry, Jane, and Elliot in a million and one ways. That one isn't necessary and I think sends the wrong message to everyone involved. It's a nice name, don't get me wrong--but it has nothing to do with this child.

In our family we had great success with my older children taking a role in naming their younger brother. (They were 5.5 and 9.5 when he was born and are pretty sensible kids, as yours are, and wouldn't have come up with something stupid like "Dogfood" or "Spongebob.") I reserved the right to make the final vote but took their input very seriously as we were narrowing down the list. I kept wanting to scratch "Xavier" off the list, in favor of more ethnic names that went better with "Paganini," but the kids kept begging me to keep it. They loved the idea of calling him Baby X, X-Man, Mr. X, and so forth. My husband and I were 99% sure the baby would be Nicolo or Nico for short, but agreed with the kids to wait to see the baby. Xavier was fifth on our list of finalists and a pretty distant fifth!

Their little brother was born with a head of coppery hair and looked nothing like a Nico or all the other names on our top-five list, with one exception. We all agreed that he looked just like a Xavier (Xavy), and so it was. Zack and Gina have always been very proud to have had such a major role in naming him.

Of course, that's really just the cherry on top. They are connected to him in so many ways and it wouldn't have mattered if he'd been Nico and I hadn't involved them in the name.

Anonymous said...

You have named three kids, and your children should stick to naming puppies and other pets. Since this is your husband's first child (right?), why not let him have the final say? This is a whole new experience for him. I don't think he should take back seat to your children in naming his own child.

Anonymous said...

Speaking from experience (I have siblings from my parents' previous marriages) it would feel TOTALLY weird to have the name from my Mom's previous marriage as a part of my name. A few years ago I met my mom's ex husband and (this may sound weird) afterwards I had a freak out moment where I thought "This man could have been my father. What would my life have been like then?" To have his last name, and not that of my actual father's, would not be fair to my father or me. And it would be just plain creepy, regardless/especially if my Mom and siblings had that last name! That's my opinion at least.

jon said...

You have named three kids, and your children should stick to naming puppies and other pets. Since this is your husband's first child (right?), why not let him have the final say? This is a whole new experience for him. I don't think he should take back seat to your children in naming his own child.

I like this advice.

Anonymous said...

I think this is VERY good advice.

Anonymous said...

Katie, Do you have a common sense?
How insulting to Jon to even think your ex husbands name belongs given to his child.
You are having a child named "Baby Hickman".
Or add your family last name Baby Allison Hickman.
Your other kids will survive the difference in names. They have enough sense to know the kid is not related to their father.

Anonymous said...

I think the objections to giving the baby a middle name that connects them to their siblings is sexist. You are all hung up on "Granju" having originally come from "another man." I think naming the baby with the middle name "Granju" would be an awesome way to tie the whole extended family together. Men do not own their wives or children and people should not be so hung up on the name having belonged to some other guy who isn't this baby's father. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Well, last anon, maybe Katie should ask her ex-husband if it is okay to use his last name as part of the baby's name.

Her current husband apparently has already said it is not okay with him, but that must not be enough, as it has gone to a public vote on this blog.

Anonymous said...

lets see: Katie has already decided she wants to go against her husbands wishes on naming the baby (I am with the person who says she is displaying little common sense here. My husband was married before and had he had children and given me some drivel about including this womans last name with our kids so they would all be "connected"...I would have been seriously questioning my wisdom in having married this guy). She also has expressed a desire to have a home birth even though apparently Jon is wary of the idea it appears she is willing to give him a sales job on it. If this keeps long do you think it will take him to get sick of it unless he is horribly codependent or something?
I mean this is really selfish. Do her husbands feelings even matter to this woman? Or is it all about her?

Anonymous said...

There is a simple solution to this problem.

Jon could change his last name to Granju. Then, he would have his own first name, his first wife's middle name, and his current wife's last name!

Katie would have a seamless transition, and all the kids would have the same last name.

And, when the others go to their dad's, Katie could send the latest one, too, as it would have the Granju last name, and the father and his new wife maybe wouldn't notice.

Brilliant, eh?

Now, the Hickman family might be a little more complicated, but give them some time. In a couple of years, I bet the Hickman grandparents will be willing to switch to Granju as a last name, too.

You are welcome, my advice is perfectly free!

Laura Linger said...

Your children have a connection to their soon-to-be new baby brother or sister. It's YOU.

I agree that Granju is not only unnecessary, but entirely inappropriate.

What's in a name, anyway? What matters is that you all identify with each other in love and mutual respect.

Jane and Sydney said...

yes thats a great idea,and by the way to "jehu" (2nd comment) they need a nominal connection, because...I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW IM AM HIS/HER SIBLING!!!!

-♥ jane

Anonymous said...

How cute of Jane to be so excited about the baby.I am sure that the people who need to know the new littleone is related to her will already know because Knoxville is not a huge metropolis-and people talk.I lean toward taking your new husbands last name.Granju may sound cool but you divorced the man and the mans name is his and his childrens-not yours to use randomly.Your life history did not stop at Granju.That chapter is finished.Your book continues...Why would you want to deny your new child's last name?Don't you think that ,that decision would be disrespectful to the baby?Just a few friendly thoughts...JCB

Anonymous said...

I also happen to agree with Jon.I allowed my second husband to name our child because she was his first child and I had named her older sister.I wasn't particularly in love with the "strong" name that he chose but it was and is fine-and it makes him feel very proud to have named her.(she actually likes her name)It was just a little gift to him because he is such a great guy.14 years later,I am very happy that I made that choice.In your situation ,I think that the children should be left to name the pets.Sometimes giving kids too much power in a blended family is not the best idea.Perhaps the children can choose a nickname. It would be a very loving gesture to allow the proud new father to name his firstborn-most especially since you are not taking his last name...JCB

Anonymous said...

It's swell Jane wants the baby to have her last name but the reality is that children do not always have a vote in all matters. This is an issue where her opinion has no validity. It is for you and Jon (the adult and parent) to resolve about your new child's last name.

Katie if you did not make such a mess of the situation and make it public to the embarrassment of your ex husband and plant in Jane's head that it would be okay to name Jon's child your ex husband name, Jane would have never thought that Jon's child should or could have her dads last name.

I agree with the other poster that your ex would not want you using his family name to be given to some other mans baby. It would be a different issue if you had this baby on your own without a steady man in your life. However, that is not the case. Useless you truly view Jon only as a sperm donor and someone who could give you more children. You are treating him as a sperm donor if you include Granju in this baby's name.

Jon make you continue to stand up for yourself, Katie has no sense in this matter. That she has allowed her young daughter to get involved in this issue is ridiculous!
I hope you are not regretting getting married so quickly after meeting her and now making a child all within less then a year!

Anonymous said...

She's treating him as a "sperm donor" if she wants to give the baby a middle name that would connect him/her to his/her siblings? Some of you people are seriously sexist with this beliefe that it somehow offends a guy's manhood for a baby to carry a name that isn't his. Men do not OWN their babies. There is nothing offensive about blending family names to create a shared history.

jon said...

Y'all just need to take a step back and relax. I don't understand how such a nice thought as "I wish the kids could have a nominal connection" could turn into such a bickering mess.

Several people obviously like to come on here just to stir the pot. If that's your thing, have fun with it, I guess. It doesn't seem particularly healthy to me.

To make it clear: while it would be nice for the kids to have a nominal connection, it doesn't seem to be possible. Just because there's a discussion about it doesn't mean Katie is going to use Granju "against the husband's wishes" or whatever. It’s just a discussion on the internet. You guys need to get a life.

And yes, it is "swell" that Jane is interested in the child's last name. But she's not an idiot, as the commenter apparently thinks. Nothing has been "planted in her head" as if she were a three-year-old. You need to give her credit for being more intelligent than that.

There is no need for me to "stand up for myself." Katie and I have a wonderful relationship. I am continually reminded of how lucky I am to have met her and to be in her life. And just because she posts something here doesn't mean you're getting the whole picture of our lives or how we discuss things or make decisions at home.

Believe me, we have a good life at casa Hick-Ju.

Les Jones said...

Totally agree with Jonathan about not having Granju in the baby's name. It's inaccurate and isn't going to make anyone happy.

Since the babies from the first marriage of houses Allison and Granju were Allison-Granjus, this baby could be Allison-Hickman, with the Allison being the connection.

Anonymous said...

you know..thats the first intelligent thing I have heard said in here.....

Anonymous said...

I don't think that this has anything to do with offending a guys manhood.There are many good reasons to adhere to convention in this instance-honoring the father,his family and his geneal history being one of them.There is no Granju blood in this childs bloodline.If anything the name Allison would be more appropriate-but then again it sounds like a girls name-just as Lynn did for Jon.
(Changing a middle name is fairly benign,anyway.)My choice would be to embrace my baby's fathers name.Many professional people hyphenate their names.The Allison and Hickman names are more important for this baby,so why not insert Allison into the other childrens names?Why should this baby have some strangers name?It is just a little too weird-but damn good fodder for a blog.Blending family names is fine- when it is done with respect for all involved(also thinking about the ex in-laws here)Maybe I am not looked upon as being very progressive here,,but I think that there should be some truth in our history. In regard to men not "owning" their babies,Yes Anon,men do not "own" their babies,but neither do women.However, doesn't it take both parents to create a child?Come to think of it,our names are the only true things that we own.We are born with them and we die with them. It is funny how people get so worked up about some of these posts.I guess everyone needs to feel like they can be heard once in a while-which is a good thing.JCB

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar position. I have two children and an ex husband with the same hyphenated last name - we are all W-E. My fiance and his ex are having a baby which will probably bear the hypenated name of Z-M. My fiance and i plan to change our names to W-M when we marry, so that both parents and the older two children will have W in their names, but the baby will not, though the baby's name will be similar to my fiance's. We are sad that there seems to be no way to have all the children have a common element in their names, despite our willingness to embrace hyphenation. There is the possibility of changing my two children's names from W-E to W-M, which would accomplish that, but I have not brought this up with their father and do not know the legalities (who must give permission if we were to try to legally change minors' names, etc.). When the children are older, or marry themselves, I will certainly encourage them to choose the names which resonate most with them. I don't suppose I am offering much of a solution, but still wanted to express understanding of your desires and your impulse to use nomenclature to symbolically unite the family.

Anonymous said...

I suspect some organized manner of name passing evolved because of just this sort of dilemma. I never thought about whether I would change to my husbands name because I despised my maiden name. It was the sort of name that lended itself to just all sorts of bad jokes. I was very very happy to be rid of it. I think people who make a huge deal of this, I don't know..maybe they are trying too hard to prove a point?

Anonymous said...

the connection will be the fact that they are siblings. a little strange to add the ex-husband's name for the current husband, ex-husband, ex-husband's new wife & if they decide to have kids and eventually the new tot

Mary C said...

My 80 year old father is still known as "Uncle Bug" because his older bro wanted to name the new baby Peter Rabbit- until he saw the baby. His exclaimation- "he looks like a bug" became a nickname-be careful in letting the kids do the naming!

Anonymous said...

I think naming a baby is something for the parents to do. Letting the kids in on this seems like it could set up a VERY strange dynamic. They will be parents themselves someday and then they will have that privilage.
It seems like this is rife with the potential of setting Katie and her kids up against Jon which is a VERY bad way to start off a blended family. Telling the kids firmly but gently that she is going with Jon's opinion and not theirs seems like it would get everything off on the right foot. I am sure this could be done in a way that doesnt seem like it is minimizing the kids feelings. Part of being a kid is that sometimes you have to go along with what the adults want and sometimes they know better than you and when you too are an adult you will understand. Of COURSE a kid is not going to encourage mom to cede over something to the new stepdad. But when that kid is an adult..they will surely appreciate that their mother did something to smooth over what could have been a most touchy divisive situation.