What’s in a Name?

My least favorite thing about preparing for a new little one is picking out a name. I wish babies came with their name tattooed on their foot. For some this may be the most favorite part, but for me it’s a unique form of torture. I’m responsible for choosing a name which this child will be stuck with for the rest of his or her life for better or worse. And some parents can be downright cruel in their naming choices. If you want a good laugh (or cry) check out this site of some of the craziest baby names ever chosen.

I’m pretty particular about names. I want a name that’s classic and classy, one that will still sound good 40 years from now, one that is adorable on a baby and dignified as an adult. I have this crazy list of mental rules I follow when choosing a name. First, a name cannot rhyme with anything. For school/family survival it’s best if nothing rhymes with the name and there’s nothing ridiculous that comes to mind when you say the name. It can’t have a common nickname, i.e. I like the name Joseph, not Joe, Joey, etc..but I believe in naming children what you’re going to call them and because I know people will use nicknames, I could never use a first name with an all too common nickname. Then there’s spelling/ pronunciation…My child should not need a PhD to spell his name properly or be inflicted with a grammatically incorrect pronunciation/spelling. I don’t want people to constantly ask “how do you spell that?” or “is it a boy or a girl?” …Told you I was particular…

My husband, on the other hand, thinks naming is pretty simple. Pick someone you admire and name your baby after them. In his book the most important thing is that the child’s name has significant meaning. Fortunately we had 3 boys so it wasn’t terribly difficult to find names throughout history of people with decent names who did decent things. This is much harder with girls. There are very few women who are mentioned and half of them have names either too plain or too unique for my preference.
With our boys we miraculously came up with names that I liked and that he was able to apply meaning to. Each of our sons has a Biblical name and an American patriot name. Then we found out we were having a girl…I had a list of unused girl names I ever since we first started having babies six years ago. There were only three names that remained on the list through all six years, Olivia, Kate and Abigail. Olivia and Kate were my favorites and since this will be our one and only girl, I wanted to use both names. But my interfering well-meaning husband was insistent that she be named after someone important just like our son’s were. I figured since Olivia was a root of Olive which means peace (and heaven knows our wild little hoodlums could use a little peace), that would satisfy him. But no. We couldn’t find any Biblical or American history reference to any Kate’s and that just wouldn’t do. As a last resort to appease his demands I mentioned the name Abigail.
Several years ago I watched a documentary about Abigail Adams and admired what an amazing woman she was and how she shaped early American history. And of course there’s an Abigail from the bible. Two birds, one stone. As much as I love Kate, I had to give her up. And as awkward as Olivia Abigail may sound, it has MEANING. My husband is finally happy (he even went so far as to suggest we give her 2 middle names so I could keep Kate).

Is anyone else this obsessively crazy about picking out names??? 


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