"I didn't really see the harm in respecting her desire to be unique."
AJ McLean's daughters are swinging into the new school year ... and one of them's doing it with a new name.
The 44-year-old Backstreet Boys alum and his wife Rochelle took to Instagram to share photos of their girls ready to start their first day of school this week. In the pics, their daughters smiled big for the camera as they held custom balloon arrangements with their names on them.
"After two and half years of homeschool, these two beauties are back to school! Lyric is starting kindergarten and Elliott (Ava) is in fourth grade! I can't believe it!" Rochelle gushed in her caption. "I'm so proud of these girls. As much as I am going to miss them, I'm excited to watch them spread their wings and fly!"
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The 9-year-old's balloon quickly led fans to speculate why the McLeans' eldest child had seemingly changed her nam from Eva to Elliot.
Rochelle later took to her Instagram Story to explain the situation.
"For those asking … not that it's anyone's business but Elliott's name change is not a gender thing," the 40-year-old clarified. Rochelle explained that her daughter had gone through a series of name changes since she was 5-years-old before the name Elliott "stuck."
The mom of two revealed that her daughter asked her parents to start calling her by the name last year. The fourth grader wanted "something unique that no one else had," because apparently, "There are so many Avas."
"I didn't really see the harm in respecting her desire to be unique. Come to think of it, it’s a little odd that as parents we choose names for people we haven't even met yet and expect them to forever [identify] as that person!" she continued. "Anyway… so that's how Ava became Elliot."
Rochelle concluded, "I knew once I put it out there people would have opinions, but be kind. She's just a kid trying to make her way in this crazy world! I just want her to know she can always be whoever she wants to be."