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Help Me Stop This Bad Baby Name!

My daughter-in-law wants to name their baby Levanie. This is really upsetting me, so how do I deal with this? I know how mean children can be. And I have a hard time remembering and pronouncing it correctly. When I mention it to anyone they say "What???" Help me.

–Worried Grandma

Grandma, you may not like what I'm going to say, because I'm going to side firmly with your daughter-in-law (and your son, right? Where's he in all this?). Here's why.

Their baby, their decision. Unless your daughter-in-law specifically asks for your opinion or suggestions, you don't have much of a vote here. You are free to politely share your thoughts, if you like. But do so from a place of interest, not anger. A comment such as "I haven't heard that name before. Tell me more about it," or even "I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I'll respect your decision" could lead to a meaningful conversation about why your daughter-in-law likes Levanie. Maybe you'll end up liking it too.

Names have changed, and so have kids. Among today’s babies, uncommon is the new common, if that makes sense. There is a far greater variety in names given. Because of that, kids are much less likely to seize on an unusual name as a reason to tease each other. In a classroom with girls named Scarlett, Daleyza, Kennedi, and Braelynn, does Levanie really stand out?

What IS wrong with the name, anyway? You obviously had a strong negative reaction to this name, but you haven't said what you dislike about it. I'm not aware of any obvious negative or tease-worthy associations. And its rhythm, fluidity, and L- and V-sounds relate it stylistically with popular and up-and-coming names like Olivia, Delaney, Lila, Finley, Eisley, Eloise, Vera, and Avalynn.

So, how do you deal with this? Figure out how to move on. If your son and daughter-in-law do use this name (it seems like this hasn't even happened yet), your best response is to smile and nod. Please don't damage your relationship with your children and grandchildren over this. As with any unfamiliar word or name, you'll get used to how to say it—if you're willing to try.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

March 14, 2016 10:44 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You have a hard time saying it correctly. So, if you met a Levanie at work or something would you just refuse to call her by her name? My guess is no, you'd figure out a way to help you remember it-because that is the polite thing to do. Same applies here. Take some time out from your huffing about the name and practice saying it until you can get it right. I also like the idea of politely asking your DIL about the reasons they like the name.

Oh-and stop blaming all of this on your daughter in law. I seriously doubt she's name this kid without any input from her spouse (who would be your child). In fact, I'd suggest asking DIL and your child together why THEY like the name.

March 14, 2016 3:31 PM
By Jenny (not verified)

I googled Levanie and it seems it might be from Fiji. Is that your daughter-in-law's culture? If so, it's great that your son and DIL are honoring her roots. That may well be a name she grew up dreaming about naming her baby.

Step back and realize that you're only the grandmother. You and your husband named your children. Your son and his wife get their turn now.

March 15, 2016 2:37 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It will be your grandchild. You will love he or she no matter what their name endsnup being. You chose your children's names- and I hope then you weren't pressured by mother in law or mother or anyone other than their father...

Enjoy being a grandma and love that baby!

March 17, 2016 2:06 PM
By Sabby (not verified)

While I agree that the name isn't wonderful and I don't know how to pronounce it, there's nothing you can do about it. Saying that you hate it or throwing a temper tantrum will only pull your son's family away from you. You also don't want your granddaughter to ever find out that you don't like her name. I agree with the name lady. Ask questions about it in a polite manner. Practice saying it. Imagine a sweet and beautiful baby being attached to that name. I'm sure in a year you'll love it, because it represents her.

March 20, 2016 9:19 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Your reaction reminds me of a former colleague who told me disgustedly 'my son and his partner have only gone and given MY grandson a chav name!'. I politely enquired what the name was, expecting some made up monstrosity. Turns out the little guy's name was Tyler, which is not my favorite name but is markedly better than some efforts.

The biggest issue I have with a name like Levanie is pronouncing it correctly. I would want to say Lev-ah-nee. But a spot of searching soon tells me that Leh-vay-nee seems to be the preferred way. Otherwise it's similar to Sylvia, Olivia, Layla and other currently popular names.

March 22, 2016 11:13 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This is why we kept our daughters name a secret until she was born.
Now everyone thinks it fits her perfectly, although I think they were skeptical of our "old lady name" at first.
I think that some were right to point out that names are changing! I have a patient who cannot figure out where her granddaughter got the craziest name and cannot prounce it... Caleb. She didn't criticize it but was confused by the choice.
Good luck with your new grandbaby!

March 22, 2016 4:23 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This is how I feel about new fashions, new developments and technology in the world, new anything. I just have to take a step back, stop being outraged, and say maybe this will actually be a good thing. I remember for the longest time thinking that when other women gave a lift to their hair they looked like those weird dinosaurs. Now I love all the new hairstyles. I would only wring my hands over a negative connotation. Creative names? I take it this is the first time you've searched a naming website for help?

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