Captain Maxwell Plautz

How DID Max's first name come about? I'm pretty certain it was Christian's doing
but am curious about the whole story.

When Christian and I decided that our first son's first name would be Captain, we had an idea of the reactions we were going to receive. We knew a lot of people would think it was strange. Even worse, we knew the puns would start and probably cease only after a very long time. But I'm starting in the middle; I should start at the beginning.

The beginning is sometime during the summer of 1996, when my mother-in-law was extremely pregnant with Christian's youngest brother, Alex. {It might have started even earlier than that, with the creation of my father-in-law's brain, but for the purposes of this story I'm starting in '96.} Christian's parents knew they were going to call their sixth son Alex, but they also knew it was going to be his middle name.

They needed a first name; one that sounded good with Alexander. During the ongoing discussion my father-in-law suggested Captain, but this idea was immediately rejected by my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law has very strong ideas about what makes a good name, and Captain does not fit her requirements. They settled instead on Benjamin.


Fast forward twelve years. Christian and I were engaged in early 2008, and one of my favorite conversation topics was baby names. I remember that pretty early on we decided that none of our children would have names that started with P, because that would be like the cheesiest thing ever. However, the exact series of events -- when we realized we both loved the name Max, when we decided to give our first boy Christian's same initials, or when he told me his father's unorthodox suggestion for Alex -- it's all mixed up in my head.

I do remember that after Christian related the story about his dad and Captain, I said, "That is an awesome name." And he looked at me and said, "Are you serious? Because if you're serious, that would be really cool."

The problem with picking out your children's names more than three years in advance {a few months into our marriage we had chosen ten, in total} is that family members have more than three years to make fun of them before anything is actually set in stone. In our case, our family members had three years to doubt that we'd follow through. "Are you really going to name your son Captain?" was a frequent question. My sister even said, "If you name your son Captain, then your kids can't play with my kids." But we had our minds made up, and endless iterations of "Aye aye, Captain" weren't going to stop us.

Honestly, I hardly ever think about the fact that my son's name is Captain. {I think about it a lot less than I ever thought about Maggie's extra thumb.} We call him Max or Maxwell 90 percent of the time. The other ten percent Christian calls him Buddy, and I call him my Maxi-Bear.


  1. If I have another son in the future, I'm naming him Major, for my dad. There's a long story for this, too, but I'm only going to reveal it if we ever are that blessed...

    I LOVE his name. It's wonderful.

  2. I recall a younger brother shouting out Big Bird for Alex's first name. If only ya'll had gone in that direction.