Preparing for a baby means making lots of decisions. And many of those decisions start out being fun to make (“how cute is choosing this adorable nursery bedding?”) but soon become exhausting (“ugh… I need to be finished decorating this #*%@ nursery”). One decision that often starts out fun is choosing a baby’s name. You begin by feeling like the world is your oyster, with every name up for grabs. This will be awesome! But you soon learn that’s not really the case.
First, there’s always some guilt trip about a relative who should be commemorated with your child’s name. “You know, no one is named for Grandma’s sister Belinda and it would be a really nice thing to do.” Suddenly your oyster has shrunk to the letter B.
Then you have the not-so-subtle input of family and sometimes total strangers. Relatives would call me often during my pregnancies to offer names that would be great for my child. These relatives were usually adamant, offering stories of a wonderful man named George or the historical roots of the name Daria.
Those massive books of baby names don’t help either. The last thing you really need when you can’t decide is 18,000 more options.
And once you have decided on a name, you need to choose whether to tell people or not. With our first 2 kids, we told the world their names before the kids were born, and we were sometimes met with “What kind of a name is Jonas?” Which just made me feel really bad. I mean, your child will be labeled for life, and unless you’re Metta World Peace, there’s really no changing it.
So with my next 2 kids, we didn’t tell anyone the names we chose, which curiously didn’t stop the comments. I was asked “Who names their kid Hudson?” and “Like the river?” an obnoxious amount of times. The clear upside of not telling anyone the name you choose is you can return more gifts, since they won’t be monogrammed.
And then there was my husband, who was really content to let me choose everything in preparation for our kids… except the name. He had a list of rules for the name.
The name couldn’t remind him of anyone he’s ever known who he either didn’t like or who was weird. “Honey, I know you love the name Daniel, but there was a Daniel in my 4th grade class who had a pimple on his forehead the whole year and I’ll always think of that.” And just like that, Daniel is eliminated.
Our sons’ names had to sound like they’d be good athletes. So each name would be tested by my hubby shouting “GO (insert name)” and “Nice touchdown (insert name)” to see how it flowed.
The initials in the name couldn’t form any weird words, the sounds in the name couldn’t repeat in a strange pattern, no trendy baby names (there goes North West) and the name couldn’t even come close to any word that could be used to tease him or her during early school years. Sorry Daria.
But eventually, parents come up with something they agree on and you hope your little one will grow to love their name. And if they don’t, just remind your kid that sticks and stones may break their bones but a name will never hurt them. And if they still complain, tell them to blame your grandma’s sister Belinda.