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You know, 9 months is a really long time to come up with a baby name. But apparently, not long enough for me.

Because when my daughter was about a month-old, I looked down at that sweet, scrunched up face and thought, “This baby is absolutely, definitely not a Presley.” Oh man. We gave our kid the wrong name.

But I said nothing. I just figured I would get used to it. Presley just needed to grow into her name. Or I needed to grow into it. Or something.

My husband, along with our family and friends, would call her Presley and I would just bristle in silence. Although in all fairness, you really can’t blame them because that was her name. I pretty much just called her “the baby” or sometimes tried out names like Lila or Harper when no one was around.

Months passed.

And then one day, I ever-so-casually mention to my husband, “Hey, what do you think about us changing Presley’s name?”

And he looks at me like I am CRAZY because our daughter is 6 months-old now. But he knew I was crazy when he married me so isn’t this really his fault?

After debating this issue for two MORE months, we finally start calling her a new name when she is 8 months-old. Yes, 8 months-old.

This kind of thing happens to everyone, right?

So that’s how “Presley” became “Summer.”

I totally stole the name Summer from the now-canceled Fox TV show, “The O.C..” Sure, some people name their kids after famous sports stars or silver screen legends, but I personally think characters from cheesy teen dramas are more the way to go.

Unless you’re a newlywed, legally changing a name is not easy in this post 9-11 world. At least not in New York City. They wanted to make sure my child wasn’t a terrorist or perhaps changing her name to try to avoid some kind of prison sentence, debt or IRS investigation. Now I can’t account for every moment when she’s napping but I think she’s led a pretty honest life so far.

It took six visits to civil court to officially change her name to Summer.

On one visit, I sat in the courtroom and each person got up to request his or her name change.

There was Woo Wo who wants to flip things around and change his name to Wo Woo.

There was a transvestite who wants a more feminine name.

There was an Asian man who wants to change the first names of his 5, 7 and 11 year-old kids so their first names sound more American.

And finally, a woman who wants to change her name but couldn’t tell the Judge whether her middle initial “H” stood for Harriet or Hazel. She simply can’t remember anymore.

And I suddenly realized two things…

1. Being a judge in New York City must be one hell of an entertaining job.
2. And it turns out, I’m not so crazy after all.

52 Responses to she just looks like a summer

  • Terra says:

    First, I love SUMMER I am glad you are making it official.  Second, If I had a whole day to blow I bet it would be entertaining to sit in that courtroom…but since I don’t and I am not changing any names, and I don’t live in NYC…guess I am out of luck. 

    Hmmm…On second thought maybe I should change Hailey’s name…lately HEY HEY HEY (followed by a few well placed NO’s) has been what I have been calling her a lot!

  • Abby Siegel says:

    Well, since I’ve known about this for a while it’s no shock but this post was so funny! When I worked at Stuyveant HS every Asian kid had a real Asian name and then they would say “call me Sue”. There is the cutest family in my bldg who are Asian and the kids’ names are Ashley, Courtney, and Tyler! I think Presley is great but so is Summer. She’s just the cutest so either fits her just fine. Next time let me know and I’m happy to come sit with you in court if it means we get to hang out!!!

  • Jordana says:

    Too bad you couldn’t have waited until next week when I have jury duty! We could have grabbed lunch…BTW, I know that Presley was really Madoff’s right-hand girl. You may fool the law but you won’t fool me.

  • sam says:

    THIS made me laugh so FREAKING hard!!!  oh my god you crack me the f— up girlfriend!  no, really not so crazy after all, so good to know!!  i think you can thank wo woo for that!  (or is he still officially woo wo ?)  ok, i am crying i am laughing so hard…

  • Pearl says:

    I love Presley and Summer as names, but I completely understand you feeling she was more one than the other.  I had this name change epiphany type of  moment as I was filling out the birth certificate for my baby.  Hormones anyone?  Now of course, we are glad I made the executive decision and couldn’t imagine anything different. 

  • Jessica Bern says:

    when my ex left, I wanted to change my last name back to my maiden name, i could not wait.  Went to the DMV and had to come back b/c I didn’t have the right paperwork.  I was like “ahhhh!!!  I want to be me again.!

  • calikim says:

    Presley?? Seriously? You are soooo the NY Celeb couple with the exotic names!! Were you thinkin’ Bob Dylan and Elvis? ; ) I see music has quite the influence on you. Is #3 gonna be Jager??

    Glad you went with Summer. Such a cute name….she will thank you for it.

    I on the other hand will someday am have to defend my future daughters name choice and deny that has anything to do with being the presidents daughters name. I chose it over 15 years ago DAMN IT!!!

  • Anna Lefler says:

    I had a friend in high school who legally changed her name on a whim to one she’d lifted from a cheeseball soap opera. 

    Come to think of it, she had fugitive from justice written all over her.

  • wa says:

    I always wanted to change my name when I was a kid. Good thing I wasn’t allowed or I’d now be known as “Laura Ingalls Aarons”.

  • Daphne says:

    Love that there was some serious thought given to Summer’s record before they gave her the green light.  And for the record, I think you are perfectly sane

  • magpie says:

    Yeah, imagine being the judge having to sit there with a straight face.

    The only person I knew that legally changed their child’s name like that was my shrink.  Somehow, that baffled me.  I mean, she was a shrink and all…

  • MN Mama says:

    Thanks for the laughs.  You think a NYC courtroom is a little crazy….  I took a class at Tulane where I had to observe a New Orleans courtroom for day.  Uh!  It was a little nutty. 

  • Rachel says:

    That is hysterical.  glad it went well 😉
    Classy Chaos wrote about this very same thing, so you are even more not alone and not crazy 😉 or something.

  • I had no idea that Summer’s legal name was something else! I know someone who had their baby “Alec” home for almost a week before deciding that he was really an “Austin.” But your story is much better.

  • Jen says:

    Love Summer’s name. Though she causes confusion in my house because whenever my kids want to wear something that is clearly a “summer” cothing item, I say it’s for summer time, they walk around saying “This shirt is from Summer & Dylan”…i keep trying to explain the different seasons but they prefer to talk about Summer and Dylan!

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    Why didn’t you just change it to PRINCESS SUMMERFALL WINTERSPRING?  That was the name of one of the most popular characters on the Howdy Doody Show…and we could just keep calling her ‘Summer’, but she’d know she’s a ‘Princess’.

  • Good stuff! I’ve been working on changing my name since Moira was born nearly 9 years ago. Me and my feminist ways . . . I don’t think taking my husband’s name is selling out, just making our family more cohesive and unified. At least that’s my view. But the actual legal papers were drawn up, oh about 4 years ago and I still haven’t signed them. Sigh.

  • Lanie says:

    I am glad that you got Summer is official (and legal now too).  Sorry that you had to wait so long but glad that you were at least entertained!  Great post.  🙂

  • christy says:

    My first daughter was born last August. Shortly after she arrived my husband and mom called all the relatives and friends announcing the arrival of  “Carys” one of two names we had been bouncing back and forth between. I signed her footprint doc as Carys. Then the next day Matt and I looked at each other, and at her, and said to each other – what were we thinking? She’s not Carys; she’s Fiona! Doh! So Matt and my mom called back all the same relatives and friends and announced her real name. I just wish her footprint didn’t have the wrong name on it. Luckily, no court visits for us, just a few papers to correct.

  • ursulina mercado says:

    i had twins and named them after there father . but realized i no longer want that name they are now going on 3 months. how can i go about changing their names

  • Summer Batte says:

    I’m a Summer born in 1977. The name has served me well — other people have to use their last names on the phone, but not me, I’m always the only Summer. Plus it totally freaked my Texan in-laws out when they discovered their only son was going to marry a California girl named Summer. 🙂
    Glad I found your blog!

  • anna says:

    sending this post to my friend with a one-day-old who is concerned they don’t have a name yet. she gets at least a few more days to decide!

  • Liza says:

    Hi! I’m a first time reader and just stumbled upon this post which I can totally relate to! We did almost the exact same thing! But, one difference in the end we did the legal name change but did not go before a judge – just had to fill out a court form and pay a fee, so our son’s birth certificate is still in the old name now with the “name change” attached. Were you able to actually change Summer’s birth certificate to reflect the change/legal name? Thanks and I am in love with your site already!

  • Honest Mum says:

    Wow well done you and what an experience that must have been! I am now more worried than ever as second son is due in Sept and the husband and I can never decide on names-my first Oliver was borne from my Dickensian obsession (I’m also a filmmaker) and suits him but I do worry about number 2. Girls names we ironically agreed on. Anyway, Summer rocks.

  • NEMom says:

    After listening to my sister regret her baby’s name for months, I researched the options for her and found and quick, easy way to change a baby’s name.

    Instead of going to court, petitioning a judge, having it published in the newspaper, etc., she filled out a “Application for Amendment of Name.” for our state, included two items of proof that she’s been using that name (asked her church to reprint the baby’s baptism certificate with the new name and opened life insurance policy in the new name), included a photocopy of her driver’s license (they needed a photo ID), and paid $17.


    Just do a search for “Application for Amendment of Name,” along with your state and you should be able to find the protocol. It’s basically saying, the wrong name wound up on my baby’s birth certificate, this isn’t what we call him, we need it corrected.

    Two weeks later, she has a new birth certificate in the mail. It was quite easy. No court appearances, no explanations. She then used the new birth certificate to file for an amendment to the baby’s social security card. Again, super easy. Hope this helps!

  • Danny K says:

    The name Summer automatically makes me think of my favorite Sci-Fi actress, Summer Glau.
    It’s an amazing name, and I would like to give it to my daughter, if I’ll have one, but I’m a Jewish guy from Israel and here it’s associated with Arabs and has an entirely different meaning…

  • RJ says:

    I want to change my daughter’s name but my husband doesn’t want to! I am trying to convince him since last 5 months. My daughter is 11 months already.
    He says everywhere she will have to carry her birth name (any other name used) like passport etc. Is that true? Please help.

    • Mom :-) says:

      Hello! I’m looking to add a new first name and add Current to her middle name.
      Three months! Freaking out but I think it
      Better for
      Her! My little one doesn’t like
      New sissys First name
      Making it
      Harder- does the birth certificate change ? Did your kiddo have confusion?

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kelcey kintner