Thursday, August 25, 2011

Social Security

The Social Security Administration lists the name Jackson at #42, Wyatt  at # 84 and Maxwell (Maxwell was the first name even close to Maxfield)  at # 134 and just Max at # 148 of top boy names for the 2000's decade. The SSA lists the name Henry at #102.

Last weekend Lauren, Max, Wyatt, Jackson and myself went to a Camden River Sharks minor league baseball game with some friends of ours, including their 9 year old son Henry (who is also my Godson). The game was not sold out and our two families spread out over two rows of seats along the third base line.  As is typical for any type of event like this there is always some type of parenting in public (PIP) that involves the repetitive use of the children's names and at an above-normal volume.

"Max, let those people through."
"Max do you have to go to the bathroom?"
"Max, do you want a hot dog or a burger? Max? Max? Hot dog or Burger? Max are you listening?'
"Max, stop hitting your brother."
"Max do you have to go to the bathroom?"
"Max, sit down so the people behind you can see."
"Max do you need to use the bathroom now?"
"Max, stop... feet...the chair... front of you." You know because sometimes as a parent you just cannot form a proper sentence.
"Max, can you please keep an eye on your brother."
"Max, I am going to the bathroom, do you need to go?"

It was the bottom of the third inning, I was leaning back to ask my friend in the row behind us a question when I heard the woman in the row in front of me say "Max, you really need to stop doing that."

I snapped my head around.  First I wanted to see what Max was doing that required a total stranger to correct him and second, to see who was the person that was correcting my kid. Max was sitting quietly eating his fruit snacks. I realized that the lady in front of me was talking to a 4 year old little boy sitting beside her also named Max. I chatted with the lady and her son for a minute or two and we chuckled at the name coincidence. I mean if the kids were named Mike, or Jim, or Jacob, or Matthew I would get it. But two Maxs so close together was weird and cool. I then felt sorry for the little boy, figuring he probably was freaked out thinking that the guy behind him kept asking him if he had to go to the bathroom.

I told my friend behind me that there were two Maxs. He and his wife laughed. They just had the same kind of conversation with people in the row behind them who also had a son Henry.

The next day my family was at a birthday party for one of Max's friends. The adults at the party consisted of a mix of parents of kids from different aspects of the birthday boy's life, like from swimming or school or neighbors. All of the parent's kind of knew each other or knew of one another but rarely interacted with each outside the common bonds of the birthday boy and his family.  It is these types of parties where people may or may not be introduced with an indicator of where they are from. A point of reference for each other  in the social situation. The point of reference that provides a bit of security during conversations, you don't feel like you are talking to strangers. This point of reference sometimes becomes a last name.  Like "Bill, this is Diane Fromthepool. Diane this is Bill FromLittleLeague." Or "Lauren this Alexa Christian'sMom. Alexa this Lauren Wyatt'sMom."

We all chatted in the kitchen as the kids ran around playing. I positioned my self in a perfect spot in the kitchen, near the food and drinks, with a view of  the TV (Phillies game) in the family room to my right, and to my left a view of the dining room table (kids eating).

To my right, with a view of the family room was Diane Fromthepool. To my left was Lauren, Amy Fromaroundthestreet, and Janine Afamilyfriend. The host and her husband fluttered in an out preparing food and what not. At some point I was introduced to Janine's 4 year old son Nicholas. I made a mental note that Diane's son was also named Nick or Nicholas. Nicholas is the 14th spot the SSA top names for the 2000's which makes it more common for there to be a couple of Nicks together at the same party.  We all made small talk trying to get to know one another with out embarrassing ourselves, or in my case embarrassing my wife.

Janine's Nick, somewhat shy and not familiar with most of the other kids, needed the security of his mom in the social setting and hung out in the kitchen for a while. He eventually discovered that there was a dog in the family room and he went in to pet and play with the dog. At some point Diane's Nick also went into the family room to play with the dog. There was a commotion, laughing followed by growling, followed by a small ruckus.

Diane, had the best view of the situation. Her eyes went wide. She tried to say something but sometimes as a parent you just cannot form a proper sentence and she hollered, "Nick! Come!"

To my right Janine's jaw dropped and her head snapped around towards Diane. I am sure first to see what her Nick was doing that required a total stranger to correct her kid and second to see who it was  that was correcting her kid. The kitchen fell silent. There was an awkward moment. Janine's face was full of shock and surprise. Diane turned toward the rest of us shaking her head in that way a parent does to silently communicate to other parent's What can you do? Diane saw the look on Janine's face and realized that Janine thought Diane was barking at her kid. Diane's face turned red as she tried to explain she was yelling at her Nick.

The two Nicks entered the kitchen. The older one with his head down knowing he was in trouble, the younger one seeking the security of his mom because some strange lady was yelling at him.

Parenting in Public is often entertaining.
I laughed for a good five minutes.


mrtl said...

Reading blogs that get mentioned in my twitter feed. Wish I could find the wherewithal to write more.

Melissa said...

but have you come across another Wyatt? i think sweet boy is ONE. OF. A. KIND.

lol...even if they aren't your kid...i'm sure there is something the mean ol' stranger needs to correct them about...LOL

SFD said...

Both my kids are in the top 25, yet I have never had a situation like you describe.

Esther said...

I have an Ethan (#8) and an Emma (#3)--I soooo understand!

Anonymous said...

What number was William?

Muddy Road said...

Name popularity seems to be highly regional. My daughter's name is in the 200s on the SSA website, which would suggest that almost no one has it.

First doctor's appointment, a receptionist called out "Evelyn" almost immediately. It was intended for another kid.

Eight kids in her preschool class, four girls. There's a classmate with her name.

Anonymous said...

hilarious :)
Nick's mom

Wendy said...

I know two Max's, three Jacksons, and one Wyatt! I have three sons also; their names are Chase, Ryder, and Turner. When I chose Chase, there were they are everywhere thanks to the superstardom of Chase Utley. Once I went to a birthday party and my older boys were assigned favors first name, last initial because there were two of each there. That was the exact thing I was trying to avoid when I chose these names. Oh well, we are only as different as the moment.
Turner is only 2 and I have yet to meet another but a magazine I read a year ago said it was an up and coming name.....for a girl?!

the other amy m said...

What a funny post! My favorite parts were when you mentioned your abbreviated admonishment (b/c sometimes as a parent you can't form the words... so true!) and the last names ( Diane Fromacrossthestreet), etc. Very funny and also true. I was giggling quite a bit as I read this. You have a great sense of humor and writing style. You described a parents plight at a children's birthday party perfectly.