Saturday, October 24, 2015


Naming the baby. I swear it’s a more stressful job than birthing the baby. 

You’ve got to find a name that you and your spouse can agree on, a name that the baby will like, a name that will grow with them, a name that can’t be turned into a taunt, a name that doesn’t have inappropriate initials, a name that others can pronounce and spell… 

And that’s not all you have to think about. 

Is the name you are considering too popular? Too strange? Anyone’s ex or enemy?

Are you naming the baby after a grandmother? Well, what about the other grandmother? What if she’s offended? What if she figures out that you think her name is hideous? Or that she’s not your favorite after all?

And is it true that a child’s name can influence his/her personality? What if the name you choose today ends up being the name of the psycho killer in the next big horror flick? Or already was the name of a psycho killer in a flick you’ve never heard of but others will reference for the rest of your sweet child’s life?

The task is daunting.

And then, after you’ve considered Aaaaaaaallllll the possibilities and implications, when you’ve finally, finally, FINALLY landed on a name that you absolutely love and think is PERFECT, it is absolutely guaranteed that SOMEONE will tell you how much they hate it

I am currently in the midst of this hideous name-finding process for the fourth time. But rather than getting easier, it has gotten harder. 

For one, when you choose a family name for that first child and another family member gets offended that you left him/her out, you have an excuse: “Oh, this is just our FIRST child’s name! But we are going to have more children, so we’ll catch you next time!”

This justification does not work on Baby #4 when you’ve told everyone emphatically that this is most definitely the LAST baby you will ever birth EVER, EVER, EVER. Now, everyone knows that this is their LAST CHANCE to get their name in. And unless you intend to be one of those crazy people who give their kid 15 extra middle names, you are bound to leave someone out. And you will never live it down.

When we branch out of family names, we run into a new problem: name associations. After being a student for 16 years, then teaching for 7 more years, plus the hubster’s 20 or so years as a student and 7.5 years of teaching, we now have a grand total of 50.5 years worth of names that are potentially ruined for us for all of eternity. So while I understand that you are trying to be helpful when you throw out the name fill-in-the-blank, which you think is a perfectly lovely name, please understand that in my world, fill-in-the-blank is a smart-mouthed bully with equally obnoxious parents, or a snobby cheerleader that steals everyone’s boyfriends, or an adulterous drug user, etc.

We could, of course, try the creative route where we make a name up completely out of thin air, but then you end up with something like Lemonjello (leh-MON-jell-oh). True story. 

Or we could be those people who use random objects as names, like River, or Street, or Apple. I even know someone named Talon. I wonder if his mother understands that a talon is a claw, and therefore, her child is named Claw. Maybe she does know this and is simply an avid Inspector Gadget fan, so she named her son after Dr. Claw. Maybe. 

Perhaps we could do an adjective or descriptor name instead: Blythe, Precious, Rebel… My favorite of these type names is Brazen. Seriously, do people bother looking up the definitions of words before branding their kids with them? Brazen, if you don’t know already, means “shameless or impudent” (I realize you might not be familiar with “impudent” either, so here ya go—it means “impertinent”, AKA RUDE). So, in a nutshell, your child’s name is “Jerk Face”.  Good job, parents. 

See how I judge these names? That’s what people do! No name is good in the end. Someone, somewhere will think it is the stupidest, most gosh-awful thing they’ve ever heard. And they’ll tell you all about it. Or they’ll laugh about it in front of their kids, who will, in turn, taunt your sweet baby on the school playground. 

You know what I miss? I miss the days of the Bible. Where moms and dads just told it like it is. Sure, to us, it just sounds like a pretty name (or a not-so-pretty one…), but it was so much more! A full description of your mental state at the time. So you were having some preggie cravings for corn? Name = Abib, AKA Tender, green ear of corn. Feeling rashy? Name = Adummim, AKA Red spots. Think it’s funny that you’re preggers? Name = Isaac, AKA Laughter.

If only I knew the perfectly consolidated Hebrew word for “Oh, goody! more stretch marks” or “I’m scared of this girl”. Perhaps we will just name her “Heartburn” and be done with it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure I don't know ANYONE who would give you grief over ANY name you chose. Not even "that" uncle with no manners or filter ;)