I've always been quite fierce about guarding my children's names and keeping them a secret. It is something I first started doing when I very first started blogging. I guess to some degree I've always been pretty wary of the internet, and I felt that I didn't want my baby son's name to be "out there". I'm honestly not entirely sure what it was that made me make that decision, but once it was made I went with it.
He went by a variety of pet names that avoided me ever needing to use his real name; "beautiful boy", "little man", "son", "him", "little dude" and so on. As my blog grew and my readership with it people would occasionally ask his name in comments, which I always just ignored them. I thought maybe it was a bit creepy that people wanted to know my little boy's name so much... what was it to them anyway?
And as time went by I did wonder why was being so secretive about his name. Especially considering how from the very start these pages were all about sharing his story and lots of photographs... of him! His face would have been ridiculously recognisable to any blogger who had ever seen my blog. And I also really liked knowing the names of other blogger's children. People who read parenting and lifestyle blogs are inherently nosey I guess.
His sister came along and I carried on with the whole "anonymous" thing, simply because that's what I had always done. It was hard when she was born actually, because a massive part of announcing a birth is generally announcing the name too. People were so excited to hear she had arrived and I was actually quite bombarded with questions about her name. I felt weird and ridiculously secretive as I would say "I'm not telling" to people who had followed the entire pregnancy story. This happened all over again when the littlest was born. And I actually spent a large majority of her pregnancy wondering whether we should just announce her name when she was born.
Add to that the fact that during my second pregnancy I started attending blogging events, and try talking exclusively about your kids without using their names when you're talking face to face with people. It's impossible. And I never have done that. Meet me in the flesh and I talk about my kids using their names, because I would look a total idiot calling them "my beautiful boy" and "my beautiful girl" and "my beautiful littlest".
The thing is, my children aren't anonymous really. Because anyone who has read my blog more than a couple of times could probably pick them out of a line up with no trouble. Their faces are all over this blog, all over instagram and twitter and facebook.
For a long time now I have thought about "outing" my children's names.
There, I said it.
I'm not sure why it's ended up becoming such a big thing in my head. I guess because it's a change from what I've alway done, and change always feels weird.
It just seems like over time some of the reasons I didn't share their names have become obsolete. I wanted them to be able to deny all knowledge of this blog if they wanted to when they grow up... but could they? Has it already gone too far for that really? And have I ever written anything that they would really want to deny? If you did a good google I'm pretty sure you could find their names if you really wanted to (although please don't because thats just weird!!!) so I just being silly attempting to keep that one last thing that makes up their identity - their names - a big secret.
I did it to protect them, although I'm not sure how much it really does protect them really. I guess our nightmares as parents often revolve around the idea of stranger danger and not wanting a load of people to know all about our kids... but I blog, so my kids are out there, people know their faces, we've been recognised when we've been out for the day on more than one occasion. And I don't think twice about shouting their names (occasionally like a total fisher wife) when we are out at the park in front of lots of people I don't know, who are actually in physical proximity to my kids.
The reality is that I think a ton of people reading this blog probably already know what my children are all called. (Hello family, real life friends and anyone who has ever met me at any blog event ever!)
So is it really such a big deal to keep it a secret...?
And basically the answer is that I really don't know. Rich and I have talked about it on more than one occasion over the years, and he's happy either way, and I think I am too.
There are actually a lot of times as a blogger when not using their names annoys the hell out of me. We have toy boxes with their names on, they have big name signs above their beds, and on their bedroom walls... all these have to be carefully edited or cropped out of photographs. And as my children talk more and more, and we vlog more and more, I have already lost count of the amount of cute clips I've had to mute or not use because they either say one another's name, or we say their names to get their attention, or there is something with their name on in the background.
When we are already sharing so much of their lives, is it a big deal to share their names too? Or is that not for me to decide? Will they hate me later?
Basically my ramblings are heading towards asking all of you lovely people reading this what you think. I know bloggers are pretty split on this; some use real names, some use nicknames, some use initials. And I would really like to know your reasons why.
Why do you do it the way you do? Do you wish you'd done it differently? And why? I just want to know your thoughts really, to add to the swirl in my own brain.