Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
Naming your Child without Losing your Sanity
Thanks for stirring up the memories Judy. Naming my daughter was the most perplexing issue I faced as a dad pre-birth, or as we refer to it now, "the before time."
All of the physical issues my wife faced in her pregnancy paled in comparison for meâ€”even her gestational diabetes and pre-term labor. Sure, preterm labor is scary, but it’s a procedural circumstance. There are textbook ways to handle the situation.
But baby naming? Forget it. You have to identify a word that doesn’t engender gut-clenching bowel-releasing revulsion in your spouse. Oh, and this magical word will define your child for the rest of his or her life.
Books didn’t help me. The Internet didn’t help me. Friends and relatives tried to help me. Oh yes, they tried, but it was of no use. Simply being told names, and the meaning behind names, did nothing for me. And I had no direct pressure to choose an historical family name.
Looking at naming web sites filled with thousands of ideas was the most boring task in the world. I needed a word that grabbed me for some special, magical reason.
I relinquished the task to my wife. "Give me a list that you like," I told her, "and we’ll go from there."
My one direction was for her to collect unusual selections because our last name is too generic. The How Many of Me? web site indicates there are several thousand folks in my country bearing my first and last name. I even have a doppelgÃ¤nger in my community, and he was born here, so I can’t exactly send him packing on the next train out of town. When someone sees my name in print, I get an e-mail or call asking if I’m the same fellow that attended XYZ high school or college or who used to work at Acme Corporation. I did not want my daughter to be generic.
This fervor spurred me to inquire about the procedure of changing our last name to something uncommon. I turns out that it’s free for your spouse to adopt your name at the time of marriage. For both of us to acquire a new name today would cost close to $1,500 once you consider the double application fee, double court fees and double newspaper classified public notices. Bzzzt. Government bureaucracy nixed that idea.
So Future Mom drew up a list of 50 girl names. I looked through them and picked the one and only name I liked. It caught my attention because it’s also the name of a fictional character in my favorite defunct TV comedy-drama series. There are reportedly fewer than 20 women with my daughter’s first and last name.
There you have it; the task was accomplished. When people hear the name their reaction is generally one of pleasant surprise.
As for the nickname Little Miss, it was the name given by a family friend who drove five hours from San Francisco and stayed over helping around the house our first weekend home.
Now that I’ve had a few years to think about it, if we have another daughter, I’d fight to name her Cosette. And a boy? Huck. I’m a sucker for fictional characters. Mom seems to think Huck is a bad rhyming name.
We still have a brainstorming sheet my wife wrote up before we knew our baby’s genderâ€”not the final 50 girl names, but it’s still something. Here is that early list, which does include my daughter’s name.
Hye (Hi from Raising Arizona!)
Quincy / Quentin
I’ve love to hear what process everyone else went through, or is going through, to select a name.