Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Name Game

Upon hearing of the impending birth of a child, the average couple would probably start their search for the perfect name. Not so here. When I found out I was pregnant, I simply pulled out my pre-created, sacred list of favorite baby names. For some reason, I have been into baby names ever since I got my first baby doll, and I've been keeping a running list since long before I knew where babies came from. Fifteen-and-some-odd years later, I'm still keeping track of this same list. Of course, many names have long-gotten axed - Tracy, Catelyn, Clayton and Nathan. But amazingly, a number of them have stood the test of time - Leah, Macie, Ethan and Tad. Of course, in those days coming up with a baby name was much easier. At the time, I wasn't considering one very important factor when naming a child - the father.
The following is our list of stipulations in choosing THE name:
1.) It has to sound good with our last name. Marriage truly changes everything. Since getting my new last name, I've had to cross of all the favorite names that end with the "n" sound - Colin, Ethan, Evelyn - simply put, I just can't handle the double "n" suffix when paired with our last name.
2.) It has to be unique enough that their teachers won't have to tack the first letter of their last name to the end of it, but not too crazy that no one can pronounce or spell it. (In my class I always felt bad for the Michaels and Megans, or should I say the Michal B., Michael P., Megan E. and Megan D., at the same time I also felt bad for any Sacagawea's or Melchizadek's).
3.) It should start with a "J." This is NOT my rule, this is my husband's, and I'm not too keen on it. Not only has it greatly reduced my options but I am also having a hard time picturing family Christmas cards and keeping everyone's initials straight.
4.) It should have a good meaning. This one is much harder than I first thought. It seems like all of my favorite names have the strangest meanings. Part of me just wants to say "forget it," but another part of me is forced to acknowledge the importance of a good meaning. As a Communication major in college, I once had to do a presentation on a particular theory entitled "Coordinated Management of Meaning," in short, it was a very long way to say "your words create your reality." I would say this is a fairly Biblical principle as well. In the Bible, your name was your destiny. When someone said your name, they were repeating your destiny, reputation, character, etc. Talk about your speech creating a reality (no pun intended)! You wouldn't call your kid "ugly head" over and over again, but when you name him/her "Kennedy" (a former favorite name) that's essentially what you're doing. To attempt to get around this issue, I've been looking for alternative spellings, different origins, different websites with different meanings, or at the very least, have tried to come up with a unique way to twist a bad meaning into something good.
That said, it should be no surprise then that our list of favorite baby names is quite short - 3 names to be exact, and zero middle names. So you've probably read this far assuming that I would tell you these three names. Well, sorry to disappoint you but you'll just have to wait a little longer. I'd hate to put our ideas out there without them being settled between us, and despite what my husband may say, we are not sure of the name!!
Tomorrow we'll find out if the baby is a boy or girl, which should help narrow down our already skimpy list. Maybe then I can convince Handsome Coastie that my favorite middle name is best.

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