Saturday, March 31, 2012

On Naming


Well, well, well I got some serious feedback (comments, emails, facebook, etc.) from those of you who are curious about the name we have chosen for our little lady. Well, I am sorry to announce that we are not announcing her name until after she is born (so if you already know it I thank you kindly for keeping it to yourself for a few months). However, I would like to talk about the tremendous pressure that comes with choosing a name for someone whom you haven't exactly met.

Perhaps it is better to choose before birth because I don't know if I could choose a name for someone I knew well. Actually there is one exception; I have a friend who is already named, but I truly want to call her by a different name.

When we name our animals we feel a lot of freedom to call them whatever we feel. Our animals are Ophelia Jaguar Devouring a Hare Putti W., Mia Angle Booty W., and Bumblebee Thundra Photon W. Generally we just go with it, but when it comes to naming humans we really have to consider the name as something that will follow our kid throughout their life.

We generally felt that boy names were a bit easier. We chose names (that will never be used) that were just off the center of traditional. Names that people have heard before, but not names that you hear called out regularly. We don't want our children to have to share their name with several classmates.

When it comes to naming girls we found it much more difficult to decide. We felt a lot more freedom to choose names that were a bit more creative, but we didn't want to hand out crazy names either. We don't want to stick our girls with names that are difficult to wear throughout life. When we chose Cordelia we were happy to settle on a name with lots of options. She could go by Cordelia, Delia, Cordy, Cora, Dell, Lia, etc.

With the naming of our newest family member we made a few rules:
  1. The name couldn't end in ia or a as we seem to have a lot of those names going on
  2. The name couldn't be a reference to a well-known/famous artist...we are art historians and it would just be weird.
  3. The name couldn't be too popular.
  4. We wanted a name that would be just for her and one that linked her to her family history (same as we did for Cordelia)
  5. We both had to love it, obviously.
So, we went through a lot of names. Each of us coming to the table with ideas and personal preferences and biases. Perhaps we had a weird third cousin with the name, a mean kid from our past, or it reminded us of something negative. Finally there we were with a name all picked out. We told my parents and it seemed settled, mostly. Then, a couple of weeks before the ultrasound we kind of cooled to the name we had chosen. It was a beautiful name, but we ultimately decided to go in a different direction. When we made the official choice and revealed it to Cordelia (the point of no return) it just felt right!

We had a similar close call with Cordelia. We had one name chosen and at then decided to go in a different direction. I know my parents considered naming me Joy and Eric was nearly named Dwayne (can you imagine?!). What about you? Did you almost have a different name? How did you settle on the names of your kids or animals?


Kate said...

I am obsessed with names. I think they're so terribly important. We now get so many comments on our daughter's name most people hated before she was born, but now it's well-liked. My son switched to on of his middle names, and it happened to be my favourite of his names! We gave our kids more than one middle name, and we, too, wanted one name that was theirs alone, another to link them to family, and one that embodied the spirit I felt of them in utero. I wanted names that were unusual but not made up. They had to "go together" {you know what I mean, right?}
Having renamed myself, however, I know I could only give my kids the names that I felt were best for them at the time. I won't object or balk if my babes choose other names for themselves.

Anonymous said...

My son was named for his father's late brother. He was in a forest fire and died in the hospital when only a teenager. My son's second name is his father's first name.
I was anxious to hear the name you chose, but I understand that we have to wait until she's born. I respect that!

Kate said...

Susan said...

Just for the record, only one of your parents considered naming you Joy. I think Dad was firm with Maria from the beginning. I still like the name Joy, but realize that it just wasn't a good match with our last name.

Funny thing, at this moment I can't remember the first name you were considering for this new baby girl... the one you chose is beautiful!

Voom Voom Veda said...

I find naming to be extremely difficult. I loved this post. So, although I have no pets, we do have two VW buses and as you may know, a bus should have a name. First up is out 74 blue bus named Argyle. It works, I love this name. Our second bus a 79, doesn't have one. Usually names just pop out at me. I am waiting.
My kids were much harder to name. Finding that balance between something that you like to say, that's not to popular and just fits was challenging. We went into it with a few names & then waited till they were born.

We have Milo Christopher. Milo because we liked it and he actually responded to it. Christopher after my husband. I wanted to call him Pablo, after Pablo Neruda, but we thought it might be funny to have a red headed Pablo. Milo works. In retrospect, I should have named him Milo Neruda, which I think sounds great. But my husband is a worthy man and is fitting too.

Our youngest son is Nathaniel Charles, we just liked it, and it felt right for him.

Our little lady is Ophelia Jane. I also call her Dove, Dovey Jane, Lady O, Lady Jane....and on & on. Jane was for my husbands grandmother, a lovely woman who was a nursery nurse for all her life.

Thanks for letting me indulge.
Love your blog and many blessings on your little one coming!

Anne Marie said...

I love Cordelia, so can't wait to hear what you've chosen for your new little one!

I don't exactly remember the discussion leading up to the decision, but we agreed that Chad would choose a boy's name, and I would choose a girl's name. The names were open for discussion, so if either of us chose a name the other didn't like, we wouldn't be stuck with it. So Chad decided on Tyler Wayne (Wayne is is middle name), and I just knew I had a Megan Rose (Rose being obviously for Grandma Rose) growing inside of me. The names were chosen very early in the pregnancy, and we didn't find out what gender we were having until she was born (not from lack of every ultrasound she was not cooperative!!), so for months, my belly bump was called Megan Tyler. So, we got a Megan Rose (ha, I knew I was right!!), and she has been called many things over the years. When she was little, Chad called her Rose most of the time. She's often Meggie or Megs, now that she's a teen. But mostly I still call her what I've always called her; Meggie Rose.

Clare said...

Oh dear. I believe I started the name game! I will be excited to hear your big reveal! My girls are Alyssa & Chloe owing to my husbands Greek heritage. Alyssa we have decided must always be written with an upstanding A, not the soft cursive one. Chloe's great grandmother is Cleone, and I am Clare,so it seemed natural. Our pets are: Epic Allen, Glory Rose Pistola, Shugga Panooni, and Tractor Pontabee.

Rachel said...

Naming your child can be a stressful job for sure. We had such trouble picking out a girls name (boy, not a problem) but we just couldn't settle on a girls name. Then it just kind of hit us one day, Velda. Velda is my dad's mother (my grandma) who has lived with us since I was about 2. She is so dear to my heart and a woman with such character, it made me realize I would want my daughter to follow in footsteps like hers! Though we did keep her name a secret until she was born, in case we ended up having a boy! (We didn't find out what we were having.) I'm glad you two have found the name for your belly full of baby!!

sophie said...

It sure is an important job. I felt that my girls needed names that were timeless, and names that were beautiful for a baby and also for a woman. I love my kids names, but Siena is starting to not like hers, she wants to change it. I hope she decides against it as I cannot image her called anything else!

AKM said...

Had I been a boy, I would have been Eric David (David being my dad's middle name). I think that would have worked.

My Jackie came to me with that name, and I was perfectly happy with it, because I love that name (big fan of the class and style of JKBO since childhood, for one thing). Her formal name is Jacqueline Isabelle. We always give our animals human names and middle names. My family also has dogs named Toby Joe (sometimes called Toberton or Tobias), Casey Joe, and T.J. (Theodore Jefferson).

If I had a child today, the names I'm leaning towards are Samuel Patrick/John/Frederick and Iris Kaye/Elizabeth. (I can't decide on the middle names, clearly, but they're all family names.) Who knows what I'd pick tomorrow, though. That's why the idea of naming a baby human terrifies me...what if it's the wrong one?! ;-)

elizabeth said...

for our madelaine elizabeth i had loved the name madelaine forever. and elizabeth is my mom's name and my grandma's middle name. it's also my husband's mom's middle name and his grandma's middle . . . and on and on.

benjamin isaac (isaac) has his dad's name and then his own. (the other way around didn't roll with our last name as nicely.) he was almost benjamin luke, but ben decided he liked benjamin isaac better - and it's just right. benjamin means "favored son" or "son of my right hand" (he's our only son) and isaac means "cheerful" or "laughter" and that is so. so. fitting!

names are tricky, but really very wonderful! especially when so much thought goes into them. what a gift to give your little one!

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