Wednesday, September 22, 2010


My Bubbaboo is really friendly. I mean reeeeally friendly. He smiles at complete strangers and they all have to comment on his smile or his eyes.  Well he does have a gorgeous but cheeky smile and his big blue eyes with long eyelashes are pretty amazing, ok maybe I am biased. But he demands attention from strangers, for eg. we walk into a shop and if he notices someone in there while I am doing whatever I have to do in the shop, he will yell out to them AAAH!. Which is his way of saying HELLO! and if he doesn't get their attention he will yell it at them over and over until he finally gets their attention. Once he gets their attention he gives them his cheeky smile. His mission accomplished. One time he was driving me nuts whilst waiting in a queue with his constant AAAH!, AAAH!, AAAH! I actually told the lady that was totally ignoring him that he was in fact saying hello to her just to shut him up, so she would say hello back and he would be happy. I must say it is pretty cute though. He does have the knack of getting the attention of the strangest people and I end having to have a chat to them when really I just want to get on with I need to do, instead I am left listening to a complete STRANGEr telling me about her, sisters, brother in law, dogs owner, neighbour, son how many teeth he had.

So when he gets their attention and they have said hello and acknowledged him, they usually ask two questions.
How old is he? and What's his name?
I am fine with them asking how old he is but what's his name? What's it to them ? It's not like they are ever going to see him again to call him by name. They usually comment and say what a wonderful name it is once I tell them... but I am never quite comfortable with telling them. I don't tell complete strangers my name, well come to think of it I don't tell them how old I am either. I have been thinking lately I may make up some bogus name for him for strangers, like Bubbaboo but then I thought I would have to stay and chat longer explaining where that name came from, perhaps I should call him John, nice and simple. I realise I can only do it for so long because once he understands and can say his own name well I am sure he will step in.

So I have two questions.
How do you feel about people asking you childs name?
Do you ask strangers children their name, knowing you will never see them again?


Miss Ruby said...

I ask "what's his/her name" - not only of humans but of dogs as well.

Why? Well if I'm conversing with said child/adult/dog/animal I prefer to call them by their name rather than just use him/her/it - I think doing the latter is actually quite rude, it's not an "object" we're talking about here rather a living breathing thing.

IF I had a child, I'd have no problem offering up their first name, after all that's what we have them for, so people can identify/with us.

But now you have me thinking....maybe I shouldn't....oh dear....

Vee said...

I agree that is what we have names for. But most of the time we don't have full conversations and it wouldn't bother me at all if they referred to him as him/he considering we are strangers. Most of the time they take his name and run. If we had some kind of a relationship then that would bother me.

I suppose I feel it is a bit like "stranger danger" and that is what makes me feel uncomfortable about it.

Bea said...

Hm... I've never given it a second thought... and I've asked myself, to others.

I agree, it's a sort of politeness, instead of saying "he/she/it". In fact, sometimes you need to know the name of a young child to sort out the hes from the shes from the its. Otherwise you get stuck using the wrong pronoun.

The name gets chosen also because it's one of the simple things that kids can understand from quite early, so if you say the kid's name you are more likely to get more interaction. Then when they start to talk it's one of the few (or only) questions they can answer for themselves, hence the reason people ask it even though they are not planning to remember it for more than five seconds.

And possibly also because there's not as much to know about a young child as an individual compared to an adult, especially true for an infant. "What do you do for a living?" "I wail incessantly, and sometimes I dirty my nappy." Fascinating and original.

So yeah... I haven't given it much thought when people ask, and I have asked myself, mainly either a) to sort out the sex of the child before I put my big foot in it or b) because I often feel like I should ask one more question to round out the conversation and there doesn't seem much to choose from. And also to get a good reaction from a child, but Leo seems to provide that one for free!


Delenn said...

I never had thought of it like that. I usually have no problem's telling them their names. One name is a very common name, so I guess I don't worry about it being "used" later on (stranger danger type). The other name is so unique, I kinda get a kick out of saying and hearing people's reaction.

Alex said...

I ask names. And I offer the kids names up as well when asked. I think its human nature to be curious and its part of polite society I think. We make small talk, names, weather, ages etc. And like an above commenter I also ask dogs names. I find children(mine and others) like when an adult remembers their name and usually they compliment it and use it when they(we) say goodbye. I think it makes kids feel special and noticed.

But then I'm a big small talk in line person. Had a 4 minute conversation in line up at teh grocery store with a woman about recycled bags. I started the conversation but she kept it going.

Now what I DO have a huge problem with is people touching my child on the cheek or head or infants hands taht they stick in their mouth. Get your germy paws off my kids!! Or mall/store Santa's kissing my kids on the cheek. During the winter...THANKS for that gift of that cold Santa...are you and Rudolph going to come look after the kids when they're coughing at 2am? me there are a lot worse things than someone asking my kids name and age ;)

Alex said...

Oh an like Delenn I also love peoples reactions to my oldest childs name...

Lut C. said...

My daughter can be very friendly with random strangers too. I'm not quite sure how to teach her that not all strangers are of the friendly sort, without giving her a fear of ALL strangers.

Chatting with strangers is not something I often have the opportunity to do. So it rarely comes up.

Vee said...

Thanks everyone. It must be just me then. I must learn to relax about it a little I suppose.

Jules363 said...

I've certainly never given it a second thought to give my children's names when asked. I have four daughters named after American states, so it usually gives someone their laugh for the day after I rattle them all off! I am very chatty when out and about though, and I absolutely love it when people enjoy my girls and comment on how lovely they are :-)

Anonymous said...

Vee, i get it. It is a bit of a privacy thing, especially because you are so used to guarding his privacy on your blog. Plus names are intensely personal, in that we chose it ages before we had kids, it holds special meaning for us, and to disclose it to total strangers opens yourself up to having to go into explanations of why you chose the name, which in turn can lead to other unwanted discussions. Totally rational reaction. Now that DS can answer for himself i can't do anything about it!
Leez xx

Anonymous said...

I feel it's almost a daily occurance for us!
It usually dosen't bother me, but I remember one day on the bus and and this lady kept asking all these questions and asked what D's name was and I told her 'I don't think that is any of your business' and she subsequently mouthed off to the person next to her about me! I even told a lady once A's name was 'Bob' (instant reaction!) and she looked at me puzzled and asked if it was short for Bobbie LOL of course I agreed!
It's totally your call though. If you're not comfortable, then go with an alias or nothing at all.