Like Jenner my parents struggled with my name as well - GulfToday

Like Jenner my parents struggled with my name as well

Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner

Rachel C. Weingarten, The Independent

This week, Kylie Jenner revealed that her newborn son with rapper Travis Scott is no longer named Wolf Webster.

“FYI our son’s name isn’t Wolf anymore,” Jenner wrote via her Instagram stories. “Just wanted to share because I keep seeing Wolf everywhere.” A month ago, she’d announced her son’s ex-name the same way.

There was a mixed reaction to Jenner’s announcement. Whatever the reason for the name change, I’m all for changing a baby’s name if it doesn’t suit them. In fact, I have several birth certificates highlighting my own parents’ journey to choosing my name…well, at least one of them.

My parents agreed on my first name almost immediately; it was my middle name that gave them trouble. So when pressed by hospital staff for a name, they said they needed more time. I spent the first few weeks of my life legally known as “Baby Girl Weingarten.”

Many observant Jews have two sets of names. There’s the Hebrew or Yiddish name used mostly by relatives or close friends, and there’s the legal name, which for Americans is generally easier to spell and pronounce in English. I’m a bit luckier than most. I have a Hebrew name, a legal name, and a constantly fluctuating name.

My Hebrew name is also Rachel, though it’s pronounced differently (add a guttural ‘ch’ sound and you’re on the right track). Since I’m named after someone who died young — my aunt Rachel was a young girl when she was murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust — my parents added the name Chaya (which means life) to that Hebrew name. But they didn’t think that name was a great fit for my easy-to-pronounce legal name, the one that would be used in schools and on passports (kindly reference the aforementioned guttural ‘ch’ sounds). And so, they continued to mull it over.

In the end, my parents came to an unusual solution. They added the middle initial ‘C’ to Rachel on my birth certificate, and figured that I could choose my own middle name at some point. “Rachel C. Weingarten” really is my full name, with nothing in between.

I strongly believe being able to choose my own name has shaped a lot of my personality, creativity, and independence. It continues to do so on a daily basis — because I play around with that ‘C’ as often as I can.

Indeed, I’ve gone through so many names starting with the letter C that I don’t remember most of them. There was Cassatt, for the artist Mary Cassatt, the first American artist and woman who was part of the French Impressionist movement. There was Caoimhe, when I was a columnist for a Scottish newspaper. My editor wasn’t a fan of a middle initial in place of a name, so I let my readers choose my middle name.

There was also that time I told a bank officer my middle name was Cai — a name I’d developed a fondness for that month — without realising she subsequently added it to all my documentation. That took years to straighten out. I’ve even had TSA officers try to get me to confess my real middle name when they look at my passport with confusion at airports. “It can’t be that bad,” they say, trying to get me to “admit” the supposedly terrible name my parents gave me that I couldn’t even stand to print out fully on my legal documentation. “It isn’t,” I respond. It really isn’t!

As for Kylie Jenner and her baby — whoever Wolf ends up being next — I love the fact that when his name didn’t fit, she and her baby daddy were brave enough to make the change.

Whatever name this baby ends up with, it’s the right fit for him alone. And if they decide he should simply go with the letter W, I can vouch for the fact that it’ll work out just fine.

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