Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baby Names

This might be a slight exaggeration, but all women love to talk about baby names.

I feel like I missed out with my older daughter. We decided to name her after my husband's mother, whose name starts with M. Once we knew we were having a girl, I made a list of all baby girl names starting with M that were acceptable to me. I gave my husband the list, and we both picked out our top three favorites plus our #1 favorite.

We both had the same exact #1 favorite name. And our middle name discussion went something like this:

Me: "Can her middle name be _______?"

Husband: "I don't care. It's just a middle name."

It was a little harder with the second baby. We decided that we were going to name the baby after one of my grandmothers. One's name started with L, the other with E. Before we knew if we were having a boy or a girl, we immediately agreed on Lauren for a girl. But we had more trouble deciding on a boy name. And I wanted to pick one, despite my husband's insistence on waiting till we knew the gender.

I really liked Elliot for a boy. That was my top choice.

Husband: "Elliot is SO NERDY."

Me: "Oh, come on."

Husband: "That's what you like about it, isn't it?"

Me: "Maybe..."

Then I started pushing for Evan. Evan seems like such a perfectly nice, normal name.

Husband: "I don't like the name Evan."

Me: "Why?"

Husband: "Because I knew a guy named Evan and he was a jerk." (Except he didn't say "jerk.")

The L names presented more of a problem for me. I didn't like Laurence because Larry would always remind me of that guy Larry from Three's Company. I dated a guy named Leo so that would be weird, and anyway, Leonard was too old fashioned.

Although I hate to be a slave to trends, I finally got taken in by the trendiness of Luke and started pushing for that name. After all, there was a really cool boy in Mel's class named Luke. And Becky's love interest in Shopaholic is Luke. Except...

Husband: "I don't like the name Luke. It reminds me too much of Star Wars."

After much more debate, we finally tentatively agreed on Edward. I had reservations because of the whole Twilight thing, but when I checked the baby name charts, the name Edward was still surprisingly unpopular. And we weren't crazy about any of the nicknames for Edward: Ted, Ned, Ed. But I supposed Eddie wasn't too bad. I knew an Eddie who was a nice enough guy.

Then it turned out we were having a girl.

And then Lauren got scrapped for a very stupid reason. But that's a whole 'nother story.


  1. When pregnant I have bizarre and specific naming rules for my offspring, when not pregnant I find my pregnant self insane :) They have to have one name that starts with a T, one name that starts with an M, a family name, and one name that is a medieval occupation (I'm not even kidding about that one... I have no idea why it is a requirement, it just is). But, because they only have 3 names plus our last name at least one name has to fulfill multiple requirements (Ex: Oldest child is Mercer, which starts with an M and was the job title for a merchant).

    Luckily my husband is pretty laid back about everything and my friends and family were really good about keeping their negative opinions to themselves* so we didn't have a particularly hard time with our kids.

    *Everyone thought the youngest child's name sounded nerdy but they loved the nickname (Myles/Milo).

  2. My husband is like yours and was vetoing perfectly good names when it came time to name our daughter. They boys were pretty easy except when he decided to complain about the middle name of my youngest son on the way to the hospital to have him. I told him he had until we got there to come up with something he liked better... he didn't.

    My naming rules were pretty simple, we had to have at least one family name and I wanted to be able to find the name in a book that I enjoyed reading. My rational behind that was to give them people to look up to with the same name. It will likely not work out but at least I can be content that they are not scarred for life because I named them something crazy and that their names are spelled correctly.

  3. Proper spelling of names is really important to me, because my name is misspelled and it drives me nuts. But even though my kids have the preferred spelling of their names, they still get misspelled a surprisingly lot.

  4. I have a clear memory of writing different girl's names on the labor bed sheet. My husband wasn't willing to consider girl's names until then, this was in the old days when you found out the sex at delivery. Turns out she was a girl, and I was glad we had a name for her. Only naming rules was they had to be diginified so they wouldn't be ashamed of them in the nursing home.

  5. I had a family member whose pregnancy brain made her absolutely crazy about names when pregnant. Options included Pomegranate, Marshmellow, and Bingo. (The celebrity baby names, like Apple, didn't help our protest case much)

    Thankfully, once the baby was born her and her husband decided to wait a few days to figure out a name and came up with something a bit more sensible, like Jack!

  6. I got into onomastics (the study of names) when I was 10; my the time I was 15, I had a database of over 10,000 names, their origins, and their meanings (most of which were, unfortunately, utterly bogus. Most baby name books have no scholarly scruples!). I started doing real, reliable onomastic research when I hit college, and have in the last 10-12 years published a number of articles on naming practices in pre-1600 Western Europe.

    So one of the first things my husband brought up after we got over the initial shock of a pregnancy was that he recognized the importance of choosing the right name. We had a girl's name that we'd long agreed on, Margaret, and we figured we'd wait for the 20 week scan before we started coming up with a list of boy's names. We found out we were having a girl...and both of us realized that the name we'd had for such a long time just didn't feel right. Every few weeks or so one of us would ask the other, "So, what do you think of Margaret?" "I'm not so sure..."

    In the last month we started trying to come up with a list of alternatives, but because he and I both know a lot of people, are extremely wide read, and have certain TV predispositions (my other favorite girl's name, Stella, was nixed because of The Simpsons), we had a very hard time finding names that didn't have any problematic references or associations.

    In the week before she was born, we had three possible names, one of which was a nickname of another, and two of which I wasn't so enthused about. The one which was the long form (and which I wasn't so keen on, to be honest) was the one my husband was pushing for, and so when we finally had a baby in our arms, and we were forced to make a decision, I decided that because I really liked the nickname form, and it would be sort of cool to tell my daughter that dad picked out her name, that's what we ended up with.

    Of course, after that, everyone, knowing my history with onomastic research, wanted to know the significance of her name, and I felt a bit like a fraud having to admit that we only finally decided on it after she was born!

    And even though I was lukewarm about the name to start with, I now totally love it and couldn't imagine her with any other name.

  7. Our rules- no family names, no names of ex boy/girlfriends, nothing from the top 10 most popular names for the last 10 years, no "individual/creative" spellings, no punctuation. I came up with a list and was done. The scientist father analyzed long lists, pored over name frequency data, looked up meanings, had a multicolor highlighter system that I ignored. Worked out- he analyzed, I napped. We accidentally ended up with a name that is a mix of 2 aliases for a character in one of our favorite books. It suits kiddo perfectly.

  8. Our rules:
    - No names of ex boy/girlfriends or people either of us hated
    - Nothing from the top 10 most popular names for the last 10 years
    - No creative spellings
    - My husband and his family had to be able to pronounce it (they're Italian, and that was harder than you might think)
    - My husband and I both had to like it
    - Nothing that made us think of a dirty word or product
    - The last name was his name, and I wanted my last name as a second middle name for the baby
    - I wanted the first name to be somewhat unique (but not nutso), and the first middle name to be vanilla in case he/she didn't like the first name.
    - No nicknames as full names
    - We liked unisex first names for girls, but this wasn't a hard and fast rule

    I came up with lists and lists of boy and girl names, and my husband would approve/veto my choices and occasionally add his own -- VERY occasionally. We came up with a short list of 5 boy and 5 girl first names to take to the hospital, and 3 middle names for each sex.

    Ultimately the name we picked was one my husband suggested. The name has personal significance to me, and satisfied all of our (my) requirements. Go honey!

  9. mamadoc: The nursing home thing is why I didn't want to use a trendy name.

    Sara: OK, now I really want to know what your kid is called...

    OMDG: The nickname as a whole name thing ended up being a big point of contention for us because one of my favorite name choices was sort of a nickname. It wasn't a nickname like Andy or Kate or something, but there are some names that can be nicknames or entire names, like Alexa can be either a full name or a nickname, in my opinion. We ended up using the full name version, mostly because I wanted her to have a name that sounded respectable on a resume. I initially didn't want a recent "top 10" name, but I think we may have failed that one. She's still the only one with that name in her daycare class, meanwhile there are two girls named Hadley.

  10. My husband Ed wanted to name all of our children Ed. Seriously. We came up with a pretty good compromise.

  11. We didn't have rules so much as guidelines:
    We like family names
    We like fairly old-fashioned names
    We loathe trendy names
    We like unusual names but not so unusual that it is problematic
    We want names that won't preclude being a senator someday

    We ended up with "Zella" after my husband's grandmother. I actually don't understand why this name has not totally taken off because I think it's awesome. It took me a while to get used to it even after she was born, though. For at least 4-5 months I kept looking at her and thinking she looked more like a Natalie...

    My son ended up wit Tristan, which we decided on after he was born. I have a clear memory of driving to the hospital for my scheduled c-section and saying to my husband "Seriously? We are going to have a baby in like TWO HOURS! we need to get on this name thing!"

  12. We accidentally named our son (first and middle name) after a family member (first and last name) who died when I was five (and it was my grandmother's brother, guess who is favorite great grandchild?). I've had the first name of my first son picked out for years...even when I didn't want kids.

    My husband is Jewish and naming after dead family members is very common. So we're going to stick with at least one name being a tribute to someone close to us.

    We're currently trying for our 2nd and while we have a girl's name picked out...the boy's name is SO much harder because I got the exact name I wanted for my first kid.

  13. We did not find out what we were having, but we were quite convinced we were having a boy. We had our girl name picked out for basically my entire pregnancy. We decided on our boy name about 2 weeks before my due date and we still weren't totally sold on it. She came out a girl, though, so it all worked out! We wanted a biblical name that wasn't weird for the first name and family name for the middle name. My hubby listens to this radio show called Garage Logic and they talk about "foghornable" names which are weird names, so we couldn't go with anything weird. I also have a pet peeve about common names that are spelled in weird ways, so that was out. Picking a name is really hard! I still don't really like the boy name we had, so whenever #2 comes along i have no idea what we would name him or her!


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