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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

How to Name a Child

Here's how I name a child:


1. Create a Google Doc and start listing names I might like

2. Add to the list by noticing names as I read, watch, and go places

3. Dig through my family tree

4. Discard names when I realize they've been taken by close friends and family

5. Maybe add the names back on again because, let's be honest, will we really know those "close" friends and "family" in 5 years?

6. Check the Social Security name index and discard any names that are in the top ten or look like they will be in two years' time

7. Curate an impressive, eclectic list filled with classic yet unusual, interesting, but not common, names

8. Agonize whether to place certain names on the list (are they TOO unusual? "Eclectic" meaning weird? Hipster?)

9. My husband rejects every name on the list completely and offers no alternatives

10. Start building the list, again



Suggested Steps from Readers:

1. Find the perfect name, the balance between unique and non-weird and you're feeling very proud of yourself, then you go to the park and hear not one, but TWO little children being called that perfect name. The shine is off the rose, my friend. - Barb

2. We finally did NCAA style brackets and chose that way. Still didn't get the name I loved. -Megling

3. I told my husband that until he comes up with an alternative (ANY ALTERNATIVE) I am naming the baby what I want. -Kim

4. Temple cards. - Vanessa

5. Hire a focus group and advisory board - Aimee (via Pregnant in Heels.)

41 comments:

jennie w. said...

Feeling your pain. I have been through this many, many times.

Aimee said...

Longtime lurker... but this post made me laugh out loud. Totally been there, and I only have 1 child. Check out the first episode of "Pregnant in Heels" on Bravo. I think it premieres tonight. One of the couples she spotlights gathered an advisory board and a focus group to help them choose their unborn's name. Hilarious!

soybeanlover said...

Dealt with this for #2 and #3. He won't even think abou names until a month away from go time, and won't commit to one until I'm past due. Feel your pain all the way.

I won this last round though by using his love of Star Wars. Good luck.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Somewhere in there you're missing a step. You find the perfect name, the balance between unique and non-weird and you're feeling very proud of yourself, then you go to the park and hear not one, but TWO little children being called that perfect name. The shine is off the rose, my friend.

Tamsin said...

That's probably because you haven't suggested "Tamsin" yet. Jussayinisall!

Megling said...

I hate naming children. My husband has a laundry list of rules to abide by, including the most annoying: "no names belonging to immediate family members - aunts uncles cousins included" and because I have over 200 members of my immediate family that knocks a whole slew of names out of the running. We finally did NCAA style brackets and chose that way. I still didn't get the name I loved.
BAH! BAH I SAY AGAIN!

I'll add that my son's name, though it was not my very favorite, turned out to be perfect for him. sigh.

Kim said...

The last two sound VERY familiar. I told my husband that until he comes up with an alternative (ANY ALTERNATIVE) I am naming the baby what I want.
I never knew about the SS index. Just typed in my 2 favorite names. One has been in the top 50 for the last 5 years, the other in the 500-300's. I'm going for the latter.

vanessa said...

love going through family trees to find names. also browsing through temple name cards has worked for me too.

Sell...Party Of 4 said...

Whoa I wish I would had this a year ago. It could have helped me in trying to name our baby.

Brinestone said...

Sounds a lot like our process. Luckily, this time my husband, out of the blue one day, suggested a name and asked what I thought of it. I think it's a fabulous name is what I think. So we're over three months away from meeting this child (our third boy), and he has a name. I can't believe it. May you have such a lovely experience soon. :)

Also, may your husband never suggest in all ernestness the name Xerxes. I know a guy who did.

Michelle said...

Please pass your discarded list on to me, we're in baby naming hell over here. It took us four days after he was born to name our son and I'm guessing that is where we're headed again even though we keep talking about names.

sarah k. said...

Some of my favorites were Ulysses, Atticus, and Zeeb. Not really girl names, though. If #2 had been a girl, I was set on Zinnia. Sometimes, you just have to wait until you see them.

Melissa said...

My children have last names as first names (Delaney and Emerson), so go through the phone book.

Annette Lyon said...

As long as you don't pick Renesmee, I think you're good. :D

Heather Johnson said...

Gosh, I can relate to this. We are having a little girl in 8 weeks and it doesn't matter what I come up with or how long my list is, my husband doesn't like any of them. And might I add, my list is really really really good. filled with a number of perfect names. Unique but not weird.
Let's just hope that by the third week in May we can solve this somehow.

Amy said...

Okay, the Renesmee comment made me laugh out loud and I rarely do that. And Zeeb? Good Lord, that sounds like another word for fart or something.

I tried so hard to keep my names unique by choosing what my husband calls "Old Lady Names." I named my first Emma back in 1999 when NO ONE was an Emma. Only Emilys and Mackenzies and Madisons. No luck. A short time later the "Friends" baby was named Emma and I think Gwyneth Paltrow's movie came out and now there are a billion Emmas running around. And look at me, I'm an Amy, the third most common name of the 70s and I'm not TOO dysfuntional as a result. So maybe we project too much worry on these tiny babies. Maybe it's just the fact we love them so much and want to emphasize what we see as their total uniqueness.

But yeah, no Renesmees.

Laura--The Balanced Housewife said...

My sister-in-law and her husband were going to name their firstborn "Topher" had she been a boy. My in-laws talked them out of it, thank heavens.

Hubby and I are going the boring route. And yet, I'm not even pregnant. Although middle names are another issue altogether.

Polly said...

My method- Steal a name form a college roommate- what are the chances they will ever meet? Of course I spelt it better. And now I have 4 patients with the same name. I thought doing newborn physicals for a job would help me avoid the pitfall of the common name.

I dislike made up names, my husband likes German, Russian, or Ebonic names. So if it were up to him we would have a Svetlana, Dieter, and LaTosha. Our compromise- last names for first names. Enter Coen and Beckett (dieter).

My all time favorite patient name is Lemonjello. And if you pronounce like it looks the mom is very offended. She should have thought of that before she named her kid after a food. And thanks to Gwenyth we have several children who have fruit names.

Polly said...

Oh and because I haven't said enough yet- My husband also has the no family member names rule (in his defense there are 2 or 3 of every name in my family). But really we can't use a name because of his cousin I have never met in our 10 years of marriage!

La Yen said...

Marry someone named Waldo, after his father, uncle, great uncle, great great uncle...

LT said...

Remember that conversation we had eons ago about how our names were "just right?" Not weird, but not common, either?

The world could always use another frosty... Bwah.

Becca said...

I'm sure you've been on the babynamewizard.com but that provided hours of entertainment for me. Good luck!

Carrot Jello said...

I thought everyone in Utah used the Utah Baby Namer.


http://wesclark.com/ubn/

Carrot Jello said...

I say you name her Magnolia.

Just try yelling out "MagnOlia!" in your best southern accent.
It's fun.

Holly said...

One night when I was pg with my 1st daughter, my husband and I were lying in bed discussing names. I said, "Oh! I've had an epiphany!" He said, "I like that one!" I said, "What one?" He said, "Epiphany!"
(We didn't use "that one," so feel free...)
P.S. I don't remember what my epiphany was.

AzĂșcar said...

I had to look up "Renesmee."

I hope you're all happy now.

~j. said...

Ask me, I name lots of people, duh.

Amy said...

Having the same issues over here, only husband insists that our children all be named after band members in Metallica.

Shannon said...

I've never commented, but these are just too good!

And it begs the question, how does one pronounce Lemonjello?? I'm trying different emphasis (emphases??) on syllables and I'm not getting it.

Good luck on the naming thing...maybe one of life's hardest parenting decisions??

Perhaps the word verification would offer insight? Mine is Pethet...

Hilary said...

I like to scream each name at the top of my lungs to see how it sounds when I'm yelling.
My uncle was Randall Maynard. It's that type of name I aspire to. Seriously, yell it right now.
It's good, right?

Trish and Greg said...

I heard of a lady from the South who named her two daughters Lemonjello and Orangejello. Pronounced "Le mohn' jello" kind of frenchy, and "O rahn' jello". True story.

I "climbed" the family tree for our #2 and #3 daughters, and found perfect combos for their first and middle names. Not so smart with #1 daughter. Caught the first wave of the Lindsay/Linzee/Lindsey craze. Needless to say, she's "one of a million", hyuckhyuck!

Polly said...

There is another Lemonjello in the world! My pt is a boy and it is pronounced Le Mohn jullo- I hope that gives you the idea. I am sure this is a much better story in person at a dinner party. I am good in those settings where I can do the whole accent thing. And I am not in the south- just CA.

celilo said...

Not until friends started having babies did I ever hear this concern about naming a child something a friend or family member is already called. I don't know if it's because my family is Catholic or because we're Irish, but in a family that includes about 45 first cousins, it seems like there are only about 10 names! Lots of Catherine/Kathleens, Annes, and of course many varieties of Marys: Mary Catherine, Mary Margaret, Mary Elizabeth, Mary Helen, etc. for the girls/women and Daniels, Patricks, and Williams for the men. Plus a couple "wild" names like Christopher. (Clutch your pearls!)

Like I said, I was well into adulthood before I ever heard of any such thing as "stealing" a name, or someone using a name first so of course you "couldn't" use it on your child. I don't think it's just my family; I think a lot of Irish Catholics turn those notions upside down and instead avoid names that aren't of the family to begin with!

Such a funny thing, this business of naming other humans!

Bea said...

this cracks me up--similar issues here. my first born is almost 15, and her name is now in the most popular lists which makes me want to yark. second born name was chosen before her birth, but then my husband changed his mind--7 days of nameless baby and discussion later, she got the name I couldn't shake as belonging to her--Tess. classic, simple to spell, and almost never heard around these parts. good luck! and don't forget that middle names make good fall backs.

Mary said...

Can I tell you how true #9 is for me right now? DH keeps vetoing all the names I like the most. Has he made a single suggestion? No.

I am 37 weeks and still have no clue what I am naming this little girl. Last night we joked about naming her "Maybe" ala Arrested Development. It might stick, that is how desperate things are.

dmarie said...

all of these comments have made me laugh. i am Catholic...so same thing in my family...a jillion of us with about three names between us. as a teacher, i must speak for the children with ridiculous names-that-are-not-names. don't. they are teased mercilessly and nobody knows how to pronounce anything. AND...as a teacher...teacher...there are names i can never use...

Bek said...

My husband has random rules too. His big one is no last names as first names, no names after TV characters and new that don't lead of assumptions about ethnicity ( I wanted Paige for a daughter- he said it sounded too white, and had my heart set on Theo for my boy-- too black (--lame right? and my daughter IS white and my son IS black) and also, I think that he might be the only person that thinks Theo sounds black. The Cosby show was a long time ago.

One child was named from a shoebox, my last child, I let the 10 year old have veto power-- we couldn't agree or decide. It's a special kind of hell

Bebe McGooch said...

Ha! Temple cards for sure!

Well if you're lucky, you'll choose a classic name that was gaining popularity quietly but surely. And then a bi-winning crackhead happens to have that name, so now you won't have to worry about whether or not there will be five kids with that name in his class. At least, here's hoping.

Elizabeth said...

I say stall...with our first we couldn't agree and when he saw me post c-section he felt so bad for me that he agreed to my first choice. #s 2 and 3 were decided in the hospital as well because we just couldn't agree...I don't think he was as overwhelmed with sympathy by then, but at that late point in the game his lack of alternatives meant I won by default.

Natalia said...

We started with a google doc, and then bought a book to try adding to the list. We got about 10 pages into the book and got bored reading the names. So we went back to our favorite names and that was it.

Supersonica said...

I empathize. Had a name that I ADORED and dh said no. Next pregnancy, twins! Okay, dh, we name one after your grandma and I NAME THE OTHER MY FAB NAME. Ha! WINNING!