The Name Game

“How about Jefferson?” Hmmm…. Sounds like I’m trying too hard. “What do you think of Alex?” Yeah…sounds like I’m not trying hard enough. “Oooh! What about Aiden?!?” Well….I’m a little concerned he might get mixed up with the 4 other Aidens who will inevitably be born on our floor of the hospital the same day.

My husband and I are expecting a son in September. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on it yet, but this will be our 400th little bundle of joy. We have lots of kids, or so we’re told. We love it, they are all amazing kids, and despite the craziness that is our household, we wouldn’t change it for anything. But we seem to have hit a wall. We have chosen baby names up to this point that we feel have been perfect fits for our family. Our kids have names that are uncommon, but not complicated or strange. They won’t likely have other kids in their classes with the same names, but won’t feel like weird kids who have off-the-wall names, either. They also have middle names that might make them question our judgement one day. But that’s our prerogative. We stepped out and gave them middle names we thought were particularly awesome, and they will either agree or assume Mom and Dad just don’t get it, and we are comfortable with that. I say all this to make this point: we have named our children according to certain criteria, and they definitely all have a similar feel to them.

The problem is this: once you’ve painstakingly named 1000 babies (give or take) you can back yourself into a corner. At some point you run out of names that sound just right with your other names. We have girls with names like “Adeline Montgomery” and “Campbell Kennsington” and boys with names like “Anderson Magnum” and “Henley Ace” and we feel like our naming skills are spent.

But the naming game is not just a problem for parents of 3800 kids. People expecting their first or second go through the same turmoil over choosing just the right moniker for their baby-to-be. It’s a lot of pressure! Choosing the name your child will have for the rest of his/her life is a pretty big responsibility. And there are always so many factors to consider. “Do we pick a family name to honor a loved one?” “How does it sound with our last name?” “Are there any other children on either side of the family with the same name?” “Does this name conjure up negative feelings based on someone we know by the same name?” “Do OTHER PEOPLE like it???” “Can it easily be made into a bad nickname?” “Are we comfortable with the shortened versions of the name that people will likely try to use?” “Is it too popular?” “Is it too weird?” Certainly a lot to think about.

I’m not the only SmartyPants struggling with this issue. Mac and her husband are expecting their second baby in October and have yet to choose a name for their tyke. We pour over name ideas and ask each other’s opinions frequently. And Bectoria’s most recent addition to the family spent her first 4 days of life nameless due to indecision on Mom and Dad’s part.

The thing is, when you know, you know. You know? Eventually, we settle on a name, and before long, it seems like the perfect fit and we can’t imagine that child ever having a different name. Of course, they were meant to be named “______!” Opinions are great, and maybe an idea someone mentions is just the inspiration you were looking for, or at least points you in the right direction. BUT, what others think of the name you’re considering should have absolutely no bearing on whether or not you decide to go with it. This is YOUR baby, and YOU get to name him/her. I always think it’s a good idea to consider whether the pronunciation or spelling will make your child’s life difficult, but once again, that’s an opinion you aren’t required to heed.

So the pressure’s on at our house. We are in the last 10 weeks and have never been this far before without a name. It’s a race against the clock and we are trying not to pull a “Bectoria” and nearly leave the hospital without settling on a name.

If you have kids, what are some things people said to you about the names you considered? Or, have you ever experienced any regret over the names you chose? Are you currently trying to come up with the perfect name for a bun-in-the-oven? Most IMPORTANTLY, whether you have kids OR NOT, do you have any great name suggestions I can work with?

Categories: children, Family, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “The Name Game

  1. Pam Kamper

    Well, we wanted some names with a nod to my Irish ancestory. Our firstborn, Caroline Renee, goes by “Cari” now 🙂 Our second has the formal name John Charles, in honor of his grandfathers and great- grandfathers, but we have always called him “Jack”. Without realizing it at the time, we named our kids the same as the Kennedys!

    • Love it! I have a girlfriend who has 2 kids named Jude and Eleanor. She didn’t mean to name them after Beatles songs!

  2. Tiffany Berg

    We are having the same trouble in our house!! We have 3 boys and another one due in November. Before my husband and I got married we had a boy’s name and a girl’s name picked out. We, of course, used our boy name first and every boy after that has been a challenge. I like using family names for the middle name, but our families seem to have weird names! 🙂 My husband has been stuck on “Gatlin” for a long time, which I do like but that would make our cute baby boy’s name “Gatlin Berg” which will not work! He has, just lately, come up with Sawyer which is ‘ok’ with me, not my favorite, but I’m hoping if I say it outloud enough it will grow on me. Everyone at church is always asking, because Gatlin Berg has become a running joke, Anyway, we told several people at church Wednesday night that we liked Sawyer and one man’s immediate reaction was, “Blech! That’s awful! Please don’t do that to him! I hate it!” Wow! Thanks! As much as I’m trying, I’m having a hard time getting his reaction out of my mind! So… all that to say we still aren’t sure! I have never been this far along without a name and it’s driving me crazy!! Thanks for this post, Stephanie, I enjoyed reading it! 🙂

    • Gatlin is such a great name! But I totally get that not working. :-/ Sawyer has come up a couple of times in response to this post. I know what you mean, Steve likes the name Brewster and I keep hoping it will grow on me. So far, I’m not loving it. This is a tough job!

      • In my never very humble opinion, Brewster spelled as it is would make a very Politte middle name. But, spell it Bruester and your getting more into first name material.

        What is the deal with spellings and how they change our opinions of a name?! Isn’t that funny?

      • I think Broughster would be even more fitting for a Politte first name. But I’m still not loving it.

  3. When my husband and I had our second son, we went back and forth on a name for a long time. He wanted Xander and I just wasn’t feeling it. I liked “normal” names like Jacob, Jack or Ethan. Finally, when I was 7 months along I couldn’t take it anymore and justed wanted him to have a name. (We named our first son much earlier in the pregnancy.) We decide on Xander Lee. At the end of my pregnancy I started getting cold feet and thought about changing it but it was too late. By then, he WAS Xander. He just turned four and I couldn’t imagine his name being anything else. He likes it too 🙂

  4. Coretha Fulton

    What? You didn’t like either of the names I texted to you over the weekend? (*sniff* – that’s not a crying sniff, but a huffing sniff) 🙂

  5. Missy Fox

    I LOVED the post, Steph. I heard you had company for like 6 weeks or so, so I’m impressed you got back into the swing of things so fast:) Don’t let it get you down that you haven’t nailed one down yet….it will come when you least expect it. Like when your watching “Save the last dance” and you hear someone yell out a name….THATS IT!!! You know my vote (hehehe) anyway, love hearing your insight thru your blog:)

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