Monday, November 26, 2012

Diary of an Incubator: What's in a Name?

With only seven and a half weeks to go, I realised Duncan and I needed to sit down and have a serious discussion about what to name the baby.  We didn't find out the sex at our 20 week scan (much to the astonishment of so many people - it must be a given that everyone finds out these days), so we need to have a list of names for each.

We first discussed baby names waaay before we considered having kids, and we discovered that we didn't agree on anything.  I thought some of the names Duncan suggested were downright bizarre, or sounded like old man names.  He thought names I liked reminded him of people he knew at school who weren't very nice.  Or he'd say, "No, we can't have that name.  My cousin's kid's dog has that name."

It took a while to name Maya and Gypsy because we couldn't agree.  I thought if we were that bad with dogs, what are we going to be like with kids?

This time, we both made a list of names, exchanged lists, and crossed out names that we definitely didn't like.  I felt a bit sad that Duncan was whittling away my reasonable list.  But then I practically massacred his much shorter list haha.  However, I was surprised that we were actually agreeing a lot more.  Our tastes had changed a bit and moved more towards each other.  Some of my suggestions which Duncan had rejected a few years back, he decided he quite liked now.

A few days ago, Duncan had a rare day off work and we sat down and reduced the list even further.  We now have a short list of four girls' names and two boys' names (with middle names to go with each one).  We decided to leave it at that and just wait until we meet the baby.  I've always been sceptical when people say, "Oh I had this name picked out, but then I met the baby and he didn't look like a John; he looked more like a Sam."  I thought, how does a baby look like anything?  He/she just looks like a baby.  When I meet people and they introduce themselves, I don't think, They don't look like a Bob.  They're just Bob.  All Bobs look different anyway.  But at least our child won't go weeks without a name.  If one of us changes our mind, then we have backups.

Choosing a name is fun, but also hard.  You have to make sure it goes with your surname and the middle name, and that it rolls off the tongue.  People have told me they're intrigued at the sort of names I might like.  They've said, 'We're not sure if you'd go for hippie names or normal names."  One person thought I'd be likely to go for weirdo names, and Duncan for Matthew/Mark/Luke/John type names.  Haha if only they knew.  I keep things close to my chest.  I don't want to tell people our list of names and have them try to change our minds.  Plenty of friends and family have chosen names for their kids that I think are hideous, but I keep my mouth shut.  It's none of my business.

Anyway, here's what you can expect when we announce the name:
  • NOT something starting with B.  Our surname starts with B.  Some double-barrelled names do sound good, but generally most B names didn't sound great with our surname (which was annoying since I like a lot of boys' names starting with B).
  • NOT a weird Biblical name.  I know some Christian couples LOVE these kinds of names because of the meaning.  Why is it that so many Christians seem obsessed with the meaning of a name?  Surely the sound of the name has to be taken into consideration as well - the kid has to live with that name, and I'm sure the school bullies aren't going to ask the meaning of their name when they're picking on them.  I've been told, "You need to pick a name with a good meaning (i.e. God with us, God is our light etc) so you can pray it over the child."  Meh!  As long as the name we choose doesn't mean 'spawn of Satan' or something, I'm not fussed.  Don't expect any Obadiahs in this household.
  • NOT something in the Top 10 Most Popular Names.  I'm Sarah.  There was always more than one in my class at school.  Enough said.  Something a little more original would be better.
  • NOT a one-syllable name.  Our surname has one syllable.  I think you've got to have a first name that's at least two syllables when you've got a short surname.
  • NOT a family name (i.e. naming the child after a relative).  I'm VERY glad that Duncan doesn't come from a family where we're expected to carry on names.  A friend of mine comes from a family where the first male is always called John...her grandfather, father and brother are all called John.  I couldn't stand that.  A child needs to have their own identity.  Nobody should be forced to carry on a tradition, or name their child after a dead relative with a hideous name.  My whole name is family names (Sarah is my great-grandmother).  I think often people name their child after a much-loved relative with an underlying expectation that the child will be like who they're named after.  Those kinds of expectations are unhealthy.  Then, if you do it for one side of the family, the rest of the family expect you to name the next child after them.  We might consider it for middle names, but definitely not for first names.  You might have fond memories of a loved one, but if their name was Gertrude, it might be better NOT to pass that on!
There you go.  When I announce the name in late January, expect the unexpected. :)

How did you go about choosing your children's names?

Is there a story behind why your parents chose your name?


Janine Ripper said...

Well, I've never had kids, but I know I always struggle naming animals, so can just imagine it would be so much harder!

Wendy said...

We just kept looking until we found names that we both liked. My husband is a teacher so he had a whole bank of names that he didn't like. Neither of us wanted "popular" names like Sarah or popular Biblical names like Joshua or Matthew or David.He's taught too many of those. He also had a problem with all the variations on "Ch" names for girls: Christine, Christy, Christa, etc.

We ended up going for a name (for our first born) that was along the same criteria as my name, Wendy. Known but not all that common. We gave our first born his father's name as a middle name. No expectations that that will become a family tradition (it is not a family name). We declined to pass my husband's middle name on (it is a family name): Rupert!

As it turns out, it was a Scottish name (for our son). For our second son and then third son we decided to go with the Scottish theme first names (and Biblical middle names, like Peter). It's worked pretty well, even though we're living overseas.

Just a tiny bit sad that I never got to use our girl names (we had two sets prepared).

Iris Flavia said...

Gertrude :-)))
The Aunt I like most is named Gerda, btw.

Names really can do a lot of bad to a child.
Many east Germans gave their kids typical American names.
So when you talk to a Ronny, Mandy, Cindy... you can be pretty sure they grew up "behind the wall".
My Niece´s first name sounds like you talk of yourself, like the German word for "me", confusion is there from time to time.
But, as you, I keep my mouth shut.

Well, looking forward to learn the name of your child :-)

Gombojav Tribe said...

All our kids have both a Mongolian name and an English name. We try to pick ones that sound OK together and/or have meanings that sort of go together. Mongolian names are VERY literal. Not "John means 'beloved of God.'" Rather, Mongolians straight name their kid "gift" or "bold." Not figuratively...they straight call the child Gift or Bold. So, it can be challenging.

btw, I got my name from my mother's initials. My dad, the hopeless romantic made it up. :-)