Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Naming the Baby

My wife went to a fortune teller a few months after we got married. The first thing the old lady told my wife was, "Oh, you're going to have a baby boy!" This surprised me since, um, we were not attempting to conceive.

My wife did get pregnant two years later. She wanted to be surprised about the baby's gender, and I went along with that. We both agreed quickly on the name Matthew a few months before the due date. Of course, we thought it would be a good idea to have a girl's name just in case, but we couldn't decide on one.

The thing is that when you start thinking of names for your child, most relatives' names can't be used. Because then at gatherings, people will be confused about which John you mean -- Big John, Jonny, JJ or Mary's John. Also, the names you mull over invariably will remind you of the kids you went to school with. I didn't know anyone named Matthew. But I did know a Craig (he was a prick and a bully), and a Lisa (the one with the big breasts? or the one with all that lip gloss?) and who can forget Jeffery (the skinny kid with the braces, speech impediment and an overwhelming desire to get real close to you when he talks, who now probably makes more money in a year than I'll ever make in a life time).

You also have to consider all the possible nicknames. Elizabeth is a terrific name, but people can't seem to resist turning it into Betty, Beth, Liz or Lizzy.

So is it any surprise that we ended up with a girl -- a girl for whom we had no name? Of course not. That's the way the Universe works. But we called her "Peanut" or "Honeydeer" or "Cutiepie" for a couple of days while we read a book of baby names and considered nick names. And we found something that we liked and that gave our daughter the same two initials as my mother and the same three initials as my sister and the same middle name that's been used on nearly every woman in my wife's family.

But guess what. Now that she's eleven, our daughter hates her name.

This post was inspired by Eric's "Naming Our Upcoming Baby!!". Thanks, Eric!


Eric said...

Thanks for the props my friend.. :)

Great story..

Kerry said...

Fun topic. Baby naming been on my mind too, ever since I found out we're having our first grandbaby in a few months. I started thinkin up names I like as if I had any input in choosing it. Had to remind myself that parents name their kids, not grandparents.

My son and daughter-inlaw found out it's a girl and have chosen a name. Fortunately I don't know anyone with the name, so no preconceived attachments to go with it! I think its lovely.

Rummuser said...

You have got a fantastic topic to write on. My nephew, the only one now in the clan who can keep our line going, became the proud father of a second son just two weeks ago. My father, the great grand father that is, wished that the boy be named after my grand father. I promised to convey the message and when I did, it turned out that the child had already been named something very unusual and rather strange for our family. My father is yet to recover from the disappointment.

Lynne said...

This is a fun post! I love names:) I am a name kind of gal:) I kind of collect them and so does my son (who likes his name but doesn't like the spelling).

My son uses names for his characters in his stories...I use them to make stuff up about people in my head :)
Lots of fun!

Square Peg Guy said...

@Kerry: That's so exciting about your granddaughter!

@Rummuser: Maybe your father will decide to call him by your grandfather's name, anyway? In the USA, the middle name can be a grandparent's name to please the family, while the first name can be chosen to please the parents.

@Lynne: I wonder if you love that B52's song "52 Girls" as much as I do?

Thanks, everyone!