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Would a thorn by any other name be as prickly?

It all began when Mallory, who had been serenely eating a peach, suddenly threw the fruit down on the counter with a heavy sigh and said, "What's the point of it all, anyway?" and stalked away.

"Pardon?" I said.

She stopped and spun around and grinned. "Oh, nothing. I'm just practicing for when I become famous."

"Ah. Well, right now you are not famous, and right now you are not allowed to fling fruit."

"Someday I'm going to be famous," she said.

"For what?"

"I'm going to be a superstar and be on TV. In fact I want you to take me to the TV place right now so I can have my own show!"

"It's not quite that easy, honey. You can't just demand that they give you your own TV show."

"Well, maybe next year. I'm going to have my own show and be famous and I'm going to call myself Megan O'Connor."

"Why not Mallory K____?"

She gave me an exasperated look. "You can't be famous with a name like that."

"Why not?"

"And anyway, I don't even like the name Mallory. I want to change it."

"Oh, I don't think so."

"Mommy, I do! I've wanted to change it for a long time. I don't want anyone to call me Mallory anymore."

"What do you want to be called instead?"

"Megan! Well, no. Actually, I want to be called by my middle name, Claire."

"Claire is a beautiful name, but I like Mallory even better."

"I don't! I don't like Mallory at all. And Mommy, I've lived with being called Mallory for as long as I can, for at least seven years, and I can't take it anymore."


"Mommy, stop laughing at me, I'm serious!"

"Honey, you can't just change your name when you're seven years old. It would be very confusing for everyone."

"What, do you think I'm dumb, like Patrick from Spongebob? I wouldn't be confused!"

"But all your friends would be, and your teachers, and everyone who's known you all your life. You are Mallory, and that's just how it is."

"But I don't like it. I even made up a song about it!"

"How does the song go?"

She sang: "Claire is a beautiful name...and Mallory isn't."

"That's very concise, at least," I said. "Why don't you like the name Mallory, anyway?"

"It's trashy."

"It's not trashy!"

"I think it is. I want to be called Claire."

"But honey, we chose the name Mallory for you while you were still in my tummy. As soon as you were born, we started calling you Mallory."

"Yeah, that's why I was crying all the time when I was a baby."


"Mommy, stop laughing!"

"I think this is going to have to be something we think over for a while."

"But I'm not going to change my mind. I don't like Mallory. Everyone else in school has a better name than me. I don't know anyone else in the world named Mallory!"

"Yes, because it's a very special name."

"No, because nobody else's parents like it."

"I'm going to change my name too," Phoebe piped up.

"Oh really?" I said.

"Yeah. I'm not going to be Phoebe K____ anymore. I'm going to be Phoebe Fifi!"


So...assuming she seriously keeps asking...should we let her switch to her middle name? What would you do?


Chris said…
She stays Mallory. Seven is simply too young for this much angst. If we give in now, she'll want her own phone by 9, and to be emancipated by the time she's 12. Our lives are complicated enough, thanks. When she's 18 she can legally change it to whatever she wants, but we all know this is just a phase anyway, so why give it more attention than it deserves? She's a drama queen always has been. You never give the drama queen a stage and a spotlight when she's already got a microphone.
Anonymous said…
As a former teacher, I can attest to the confusion it causes when a child goes by her middle name. The first name is always the name that appears on "official" documents, so she will end up being called Mallory anyway - even when she tries to make a point to tell people that her name is something else. I do agree with Chris, too. Seven is too young for her to decide what she wants to be called. For what it's worth, most children that I have known have not liked their given name and wanted to change it!

MomofK9s said…
Some days I forget my own name so there is no way that I would remember to call her Claire even if she did change it!

Wasn't there a Claire in the Breakfast Club?
aimee said…
Yo! Mal-lo--ry!
--Nick Moore, Mallory's boyfriend on "Family Ties"

This had me in stitches, I was laughing so hard.

If she doesn't give this up, tell her fine--she can change her name if she wants to but that you and Chris and the rest of the family won't be calling her anything but Mallory. Believe me she will get so annoyed at having to tell everyone that she changed her name and why but that no one in her family is going to call her by her chosen name that she will give up by the 3rd day. (I mean, it is summer, how many people does she see in a day?)

Or would she give up that easy? I don't know. Maybe you should take the advice of the others.
Charisse said…
Hello there. I have followed your blog but mostly been a lurker. I think your daughters are adorable.

As for changing her name, my sister did that. Decided that she didn't like the name Chandra and wanted to be called by her middle name, Marie. She tried to pull it off...but it didn't really work. Of course, she was a bit older. In middle school, I believe. I do think that 7 is too young for that type of decision.

I also agree with the anonymous poster. I go by middle name because my mother knew she wanted me to be called Charisse but she could not find a name that she liked to go as my middle name. Therefore, she gave me a family name as my first name and Charisse is my middle name. I have been Charisse as long as I have been alive. And it is sometimes a pain in the bum to have to correct ppl all the time.

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We puzzled til our puzzlers were sore, but we still couldn't figure out the answer. I wrote a note beside the problem: "Mrs. G., this problem didn't make sense to either Mallory or her parents."

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