Guest Post: Playing ‘The Name Game’ with a Three-Year-Old

Guest Post: Playing ‘The Name Game’ with a Three-Year-Old

I’m thrilled to welcome another guest blogger to the Mr. Full-Time Dad roster. Friend, fellow father and admitted accountant, Kevin Teigen shares the story of what it’s like living with a creative thee-year-old who’s about to become a big brother and has strong opinions about baby names. Kevin and his wife, Danielle, are welcoming their second child sometime in April.

My son, Dominic, is about three and a half years old. This is kind of a golden age. For starters, it means he’s old enough that we don’t have to measure age in weeks or months anymore. (I work at an accounting firm, and even I don’t have a desire for that type of conversion calculation.) It also means he has enough command of language to verbalize concepts, but a weak enough understanding of the world that these verbalizations often have hilarious results. In other words, my wife and I are regularly amused by the things that come out of his mouth.

Dominic will be getting a sibling in a couple months. Heeding warnings from family and friends, my wife and I have been working to prepare him for the upcoming changes. The process started as soon as we were ready to make the pregnancy known to the public. We sat him down and told him there is a baby in Mommy’s tummy. He looked at us with an air of concern and asked, “Is it me?” Spoiler alert: it isn’t.

As the due date approaches, my wife and I have been working to pick a name for the baby. We’re having a girl this time, so the short list from 2013 is not helpful. We won’t need to name her William or Henry for her to find plenty of reasons to dislike us during her teenage years.

Bullseye Sylvester McMonkey McBean?

Dominic’s feedback has been remarkably consistent. After our neighbors named their daughter Callie, he insisted we name our girl Cabbie. Then, after hearing us say for months that the baby is coming in April, he decided we should name the baby April. Neither name is in the running, but each is more likely than Bullseye Sylvester McMonkey McBean, which is what my oldest nephew wanted to name his brother some years ago.

We’ve found it amusing to have him share his name ideas. Evidently, we’ve overdone it with having him perform this parlor trick for family and friends. This weekend, my wife’s sister and her husband stayed with us. As we had supper Friday night, I asked Dominic to tell his aunt and uncle what he wanted to name the baby. “Dad, I’ve already told you sixty-nine times. April!” he replied.

“Dad, I’ve already told you sixty-nine times. April!”

Tonight, I decided to start preparing him for the likely possibility that we would not name our second child based on the counsel of a three-year-old. Telling the toddler he wouldn’t get his way went about as well as I expected. I didn’t need him to go into full-out tantrum mode, so I only mentioned it lightly before changing the subject. Then, a couple hours later, I asked him if he could tell his mom about the conversation we’d had earlier.


He still wasn’t impressed that we didn’t seem to give a hoot about his opinion. We mentioned several names to him to see if we could elicit a favorable response. We started with names that are on the short list. I don’t know if we were hoping he would like them and we could convince him that it was his idea (making him think our ideas were his ideas is a favorite from the parent’s playbook of deceptive persuasion) or if we were secretly hoping he would break the impasse in which we’re currently stranded. Either way, each suggestion was met with a resolute “Never!” which is, frustratingly, a fairly common response lately.

I think the plan is working, though. The “nevers” eventually gave way to a suggestion that, for the first time in weeks, wasn’t April. And although I doubt “Potato” will be added to the short list, it gave us a laugh and a little hope that he’s ok with other suggestions.

And if he isn’t ok with that, then I guess he’ll have one more reason to dislike us during his teenage years.

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