Monday, December 17, 2007

What's in a name?

Apparently, a lot--but only if you're a girl.

When I was pregnant with my sons, we would get the "have you picked a name" question as soon as people found out we were having a boy. Except for A--, whose name we picked out within a week of finding out he wasn't a girl, the other two didn't have names until about 2 weeks before they were born. When we told people that we didn't have a name picked out quite yet, they would respond with something like, "Oh, okay." Nothing else.

The responses have changed dramatically this time.

I should have clued in at Thanksgiving when we told my family (at least those who didn't check their e-mail) that we were, indeed, having a girl.

"So, have you picked a name yet?"

"Well, nothing's set in stone yet. We have one we've liked for a long time, but we're not positive that we'll use it."

I should have just said, "Yes, and we're not telling."

We were suddenly inundated with a flood of girl names. I didn't like even one. Each time I said, "Ummm, I don't think that one would work," we'd get even more. It was like some contest to come up with something bigger, better, trendier--we have to name this child NOW, before the pumpkin pie is served! Her parents are obviously incapable of coming up with a suitable name, so we MUST take over!

I couldn't believe it. My family has never weighed in so heavily on a name.

Now, I'm more of a traditionalist when it comes to picking names. The cutesy, trendy, McWhatsit type of names are just not for me. And we have to be careful with our last name, something I assumed my siblings were cognizant of. (We can't use Rob, Robert, Robin, or anything that is synonymous or that could be derived into something synonymous with thievery or dishonesty. If you know my last name, you'll understand why.) So when one brother suggested Maya, I couldn't believe it. Maya? Am-I-a (insert our last name here)? No. Absolutely not. Then we got trendy name after trendy name after trendy name. I had no idea my siblings were so into pop culture names. When I tried to stem the flow by hesitantly suggesting the name we've had picked out for a girl since we knew A-- was coming, we got a stony silence, followed by more suggestions. (sigh) I know that girls are a rarity in my family, so I could chalk it up to the novelty, but my hell. If you like these names so much, use them for yourselves or save them for your grandchildren!

I thought perhaps this was an isolated incident.

Not so. I mentioned to a girl who used to be one of my Young Women, who asked the name question, that we sort of had a name but nothing certain yet, and she did it too, along with more than one of my current Young Women. Granted, the names they were suggesting were somewhat more in line with my traditional taste, but my goodness! I never once got suggestions for names when I was expecting my boys.

Isn't the naming of a child sort of a personal thing? A right reserved for the parents? I never give suggestions for names unless I am asked specifically to do so, and then I usually loan out my favorite baby name books. But when people find out I'm having a girl after three boys, I get suggestions I never asked for. (Granted, not everyone has responded that way. But I'm shocked at how many people have.)

Perhaps I should come up with a really awful name to tell them and watch the shocked expressions on their faces. Maybe that would stem the flow. I know! I could resort to the name we joked about giving one of our boys.....

Jack Ashby
(It's almost as good as Jack Schitt.)


Samantha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth-W said...

We didn't find out what we were having til the baby came so we got it double.
I love the names of my girls so much I don't want people to think they're cute and start using them, so before they could talk and strangers would ask their names I'd just say Jane.

Sue said...

Snerk. I'm not into the Md names either. I always just told people I was going to name my girls Sarah. Everyone seems to like that name, it's not too anything, they really had nothing to say about it ever, other than, "Oh, that's nice." I didn't use the name, but it was a good conversation stopper.

NOBODY said...

you know, I never made the connection myself, but you are absolutely right! And the whole making up a hideous name thing, totally worth it. It really shuts people up. I guess they think there's no helping you if that's the kind of name you consider.

What do you think of Mickaylah?
Or LaMickaylahrina? Just a suggestion.

NOBODY said...

I've always loved the name Angela.

NOBODY said...

How about Callie-Anne?

NOBODY said...


Julie said...

LaMickaylahrina is hilarious. I've also thought of borrowing ~j's use of Atchafalaya....

Jane and Sarah...hmmm. Plain and tall.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has experienced this.

Geo said...

Didn't anybody ever tell you it takes a village to name a child?

Carrot Jello said...

Howsa 'bout "Tapioca"?

elasticwaistbandlady said...

You do know I'm a name nerd and I'm sitting here dying, DYING to write down a few. :)

All traditional, of course.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Can I please? Please, please, please?

I'm like REO Speedwagon. I can't fight this feeling any longer. Don't read past this point, I'm going to drop a few of my current favorites.


suburbancorrespondent said...

Odd - I've never had anyone ever suggest a name to me - and I've had six kids.

~j. said...

My sister-in-law's sister, when pregnant with her first, would reply with a smile, "Buttkiss."

And Buttkiss it was until the day Avery was born.