Friday evening I had the kids in the tub and was going through my normal evening ritual when my phone rang. It was Chrissy. I love Chrissy, but neither of us are phone chatters, so we rarely call each other. When I answered, she started with, “I did a bad thing! I didn’t know whether to be intrigued or horrified or sympathetic. I did wonder why she was calling me with her confession.
“I just left a comment on your blog and I USED [mackerdoodle]’s REAL NAME! You’ll have to delete it RIGHT NOW.” I was simultaneously touched at her concern for my daughter’s well being and very relieved. With WordPress I can edit comments, and I frequently edit my children’s blogonyms into comments. I use the little names here and here alone. We don’t call them mackerdoodle or cheesedoodle at home, or at church. People know them and love them by their given names, so it is natural for people to use those names when referring to my children.
There are a lot of reasons people use nom de plumes when blogging, so I thought I would address my reasons for using the titles “mackerdoodle” and “cheesedoodle” for my children and other titles for my nieces and nephews.
When I first employed the name “pomegranate” as the fetal name for my mackerdoodle it was because we weren’t announcing her name until she was born. The world referred to my unborn daughter as pomegranate so much that there were pomegranate scented and flavored gifts sprinkled through her baby shower. It was a fun way to celebrate her as a living human before she was born.
As her birth approached I thought seriously about how to refer to her after she was born. I read all the arguments for not using your children’s names on public blogs, I read blogs by mothers who used their children’s real names, and I weighed it all. In the end I decided to not use my children’s names for completely different reasons.
This internet thing is relatively new, and we don’t yet know how long these blogs will last. What if my blog gets tucked into some backwater off the web and one day in 2020 an HR director or college admission director plugs my daughter’s name into a search engine? I know that now I’ll come across something on the internet and it won’t be until it mentions “president Clinton” or some other anachronism that I’ll realize it was written in 1996, not last week. Context is everything. When I write now that the cheesedoodle drank too much and threw up on the floor it’s a story about the digestive system of an infant. In 17 years the same sentence would sound like frat boy debauchery. I don’t want my children to suffer in the future for a cute story today taken out of context
Additionally, as my children grow up they’ll want more privacy. Providing I’m still blogging, I will adjust the way I write about them, but the blogonyms will stop little school friends and casual acquaintances from finding their names while still allowing me to share cute stories with family and friends around the world.
So it’s not really the here and now with which I am concerned. If you slip up on a comment, I’ll fix it when I read the comments next and it will be okay. My children are so blessed to have biological and church family who love them so much and care about their safety.