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Mom to Mom: What's In a Name?

Posted by Becca on 4/1/2013 to Mom Madness

We are about five months pregnant with a boy—our second child and our first boy. It's exciting, to be sure, though we're finding that lots of very pink things must be exchanged for more boy appropriate gear. In fact, I already raided my daughter's old clothes—she had TONS of them—and only found about 5 outfits from all the different first year sizes that would be appropriate for a boy. Thankfully, we painted my daughter's room with a gender neutral mural so she'll exchange that room with her brother and get a big-girl room. But honestly, though, despite the fact that we have a couple of pink and princess themed baby gear, we won't need to be buying much. We won't even need more cloth diapers (though I doubt I'll have the restraint not to buy and sew more). A couple of friends have already promised us their hand-me-down clothes and I fully plan on sewing more to supplement the little man's wardrobe. Besides, if he ends up wearing a purple diaper or eating out of a princess high chair, it's not going to kill him. So we're all set, really, for the advent of this little one's birth.


Except for one thing.


We can't agree on a name.


*deep breath*


We both agreed that had it been a girl it would have been an easy choice. In our opinions, girl names are easy. You can come up with a pretty, unique name without too much effort, or so we feel. Our daughter's name came to us quickly and without any argument and it meets all our requirements—a good, preferably Christian meaning, something that isn't common but isn't too weird, and something that's difficult to make into a nickname unless it's a nickname we approve of. And let me tell you, when people hear her name, without fail I get a reaction like, “Wow, that's so pretty! That's so different!” I rarely get, “I have a cousin with that name,” or my friend so-and-so named her daughter that.” I did get “I wanted to use that name for my daughter!” once and a friend's sister named her daughter the same name a couple years later though I don't know if it was because she had heard of my daughter or found the name elsewhere. In any case, we had already chosen a second girl's name when we discovered the gender of this little guy, but we only had a couple of possibilities for a boy.


Well, once we knew it was a boy and we started really needing to consider using one of those possibilities, they suddenly all ended up disappearing for one reason or another. All but two—my husband has his heart set on one name and I have my heart set on another which means that for now (and for who knows how long), this baby remains nameless. Unfortunately, we're at an amicable stale-mate because neither of us will budge. And I try to help my husband budge. Both of our names happen to be Bible names (though a Bible name wasn't a prerequisite, believe it or not), so I send him text messages with all the scriptures I can find with my name in it. I also just text him the name followed by a question mark or smileys all the time. Or, I'll bring it up…like a couple of times a day. Our three-year old daughter thinks it's a game and she's thrown in her choices into the ring too. She's given us options as sensible as Jonathon and as far-fetched as tree. My husband is much more adult about it than either I or my daughter, quietly and unobtrusively considering options and not pushing his choice on me, while standing firm in refusing to give in to the name I HAVE TO HAVE. I'm definitely the stubborn, outspoken one in this relationship. My daughter looked at me one day and said, “Mom, I think if you want to name the baby that, you should just do it!” Dave shook his head and said, “Wow, dear, how very empowering of you!” and then looked at me as if I'd prompted her to do that. I hadn't. Ultimately, though, I'm not going to force him to name his son something he doesn't love. If we both don't love the name, then we won't be choosing it. I just hope that by frequent mentions of the name I prefer, my husband will grow to love it as much as I do.


We've broken a pretty big cardinal baby-naming rule throughout this whole, frustrating process. Most parents I know just keep the names to themselves, but I'm quite the extrovert, and my husband doesn't mind, so we haven't. I know why they do keep it close to the chest, and it's smart—you don't get any naysayers or name-stealers that way and you get the surprise reveal when the baby is born. It makes sense. But I had more than just my extroverted nature to thank for the open sharing of our name possibilities with some family and friends. We're pretty desperate and we want some input. Of course, all of my blunt, Italian family members hate my name and have told me as much in as many different ways that they can say it, and they love my husband's choice. Whatever. I still love my name and continue to fight for it. In fact, I even told my high school students about our name dilemma and they also boo-hooed my name. Whatever, it's still my favorite, which is another reason I don't mind telling people. Other people's opinions have never dissuaded my choices. But some have brought up a very good point in regards to naming our child—you need to keep grade-school bullies in mind when choosing a name. Figure out if there are any offensive nicknames that can come of it, or what other words may rhyme with it. It may play a part in whether or not you go with that name. It may not. My name is Rebecca—it's as common as they come and nothing offensive rhymes with it, but grade-school bullies still found ways to butcher and make fun of it so on the one hand I'm sensitive about how a name I love may be “tweaked” so to speak and on the other, I figure that bullies aren't going to stop just because a name isn't suitable for teasing so I should just go with what I love and teach my son that his worth doesn't lie in what others think of him.


There's another somewhat common baby naming rule we're breaking here too—naming the baby definitively before he's born (or at least trying to). We did it with our daughter as well and that turned out great. There are some cases, though, where parents are sure of one name and then the baby is born and the name doesn't suit. That's cool. I'm prepared for that. Honestly, though, I just feel that I can bond better with my little guy if I can call him by a name. In a weird way it helps me to figure out his personality—not that a name can do that, but when I give him a name it helps me to get to know him better. This is why, at 22 weeks pregnant, I'm pushing so hard for a baby name as early as possible. Ultimately, though, I realize that this time, it's just not going to happen as easily as it did the first time and my adorable little unborn baby who I'm falling in love with rapidly despite his nameless state, will have to remain un-named until my husband and I can both get to a point where we agree on and love a name together.


For now, I'm pulling trick from “I Love Lucy” and taking turns calling him different names we've considered. One day it's Bobby and the next it's Billy because I'm trying the names on him like pairs of socks. Who knows, maybe we'll come up with the perfect name weeks before he's born and when he comes out we'll decide it's all wrong and we'll end up going with Peter. At this rate, nothing would surprise me.


So, did you and your mate have difficulty coming up with names? Did you both agree wholeheartedly on the one you decided? What were some factors that came into play for you?


Ooh! And do you have any suggestions for us?