You may remember me mentioning that when we moved to France, June decided to go by her first name, Flora (her full name is Flora June Blair, but we’ve called her June since birth).
We thought that sounded like a good idea and were fully supportive. So when we registered her for school here, and introduced her to people, we only introduced her as Flora, never June. We also started calling her Flora at home.
We’ve been here 8 months and I thought you might be interested in hearing how the name change has gone.
At school, she is still only Flora. No one knows her as anything but Flora and it would not occur to her friends or her teacher or anyone lese to call her June. In general they would have no idea that’s her middle name or that she was once called June at school.
But at home, she actually prefers June. It took us a minute to figure out why, and it turns out it’s an English-French thing. The words Flora and June sound different when said in French versus English. When Flora hears her name pronounced with a French accent, she turns her head. But if an American with an American accent says Flora, it’s like she doesn’t even hear it at all.
Basically, she discovered that she prefers the name Flora in French, and the name June in English. So at home, she mostly goes by June — though sometimes, she’s Flora if we’re speaking French. I should note here, my French accent is so poor, that Flora still doesn’t sound right to her when I say it, even with my best French accent. French Rs are so tough! : )
Now that’s she’s figured out her preference, one thing I’ve tried to do (in addition to practicing saying Flora with a French accent), is call her Flora June when I write her name on social media. That way, if her French Friends, or American Friends, happen to be following along, they’ll both understand who is being referred to.
I’m very curious to see if any of this will change the longer we’re here. Of course, we’ll always be happy to call her whatever she prefers.
Your turn. Have your kids ever changed their name preference? How did it go? Was it hard for you to say a different name? Was it a temporary preference or a permanent one? And what about your own first name? Do you like it? Did you ever want to change it? Have you ever lived somewhere and discovered you don’t like how your name is pronounced there?
P.S. — What if you give your kid the wrong name?