A NAME IS A NAME, IS A NAME.
(A How to Guide for Naming Your Baby)
As I begin to write this, it is exactly three in the morning, the day following the birth of my first grand-children. Yes, I wrote that correctly. Not grandchild, but children. You see my daughter gave birth to twins less than twelve hours ago. Thank you. We’re all exceedingly happy. (Oh, one of each sex, by the way.)
Now, why am I up at three in the morning you ask? Well . . . Let me explain.
I have two major reasons for writing this. First, for the past several months I’ve watched my daughter and son-in-law agonize over names for their expected bundles of joy. They carried books (plural) full of baby names with them wherever they went. They discussed the matter between themselves, daily. They flipped through the books, searched the web, and took advantage of other avenues available to them, constantly. They did everything everyone has done and more. And yet, as of this very moment, my new grandson has no name. (And my granddaughter’s name is still iffy.) No, that’s not her actual name, silly. I mean, it isn’t set in stone. Or, I guess I should say, it hasn’t yet been put to ink, so it could always change.
I feel bad for them and how they have agonized over this issue. But at the same time, I respect them greatly for knowing just how important an issue it is. After all, it is a decision that will live on forever and ever.
The task had not been quite so difficult for me. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I ever once purchased a baby naming book. No, I did not simply look online. There was no such thing back in my day. Which brings to the second major reason for writing this post.
You see, my first time around, I made the mistake of listening to the baby’s father. The name that I really, really wanted, he didn’t like, so I ended up choosing a family name (his side), and therefore, he had no objection. Wrong! (What can I say, I was very young at the time.) Here is where I shake my head, because I’ve always regretted that decision.
The second time around, I made the mistake of listening to the baby’s father. Oh wait, I just said that didn’t I? Well, some people never learn from their mistakes, and I happen to be one of them. You know the saying: once a fool, always a fool? This time, I was so sure it was a boy, that I told my husband, “If it’s a girl, you can name her.” Here is where you hear buzzer number two. Wrong! (I’ve always regretted that one, too.)
Now, the third time around, I knew this would be the very last one, (believe me, there was no way I was doing this a fourth time), and so I knew that this time, it was a boy and I was going with my gut and my heart. And I did. And I’ve never regretted it. His name is perfect. The other two? Not so much. Let’s just say that if they chose to have their names legally changed, it would not hurt my feelings.
There are many ways to go about choosing a name for your new baby. Many of those ways are not the best way. My advise is: First and foremost, listen to your heart. And please, for God’s sake, go with your gut.
There are dos and don’ts for choosing that perfect name for your new baby.
DON’T pick a name just because it’s different and unique. If no one else has chosen that name for their child, there’s probably a good reason. For example: Apple. Really people? Now, I’m not pointing any fingers, but I ask you: Is that honestly the best you could do for your child?
DON’T go for the matching thing. You know, like: Edward Edwards. Or John Johnson. I think you could be a little more creative than that and your child will thank you later.
DON’T spell it differently in order to make it unique. You’ll only cause your child to hate you every time they have to correct someone. Which will be every day for the rest of their lives! For example, how would you like this: I know a woman whose first name is KymBerlie. I swear. You may look at that think it’s cute. Personally, I think not.
DON’T go for the cutesy thing, like: Wally Washington, or Monte Carlo. Again, I warn you. Your child may hate you later.
And, please. Whatever you do,
DON’T go for the connecting thing, like: If your last name is “Light” you name your daughter, “Bright” as in: Bright Light. Cute and funny. You’re a riot, Mommy. Or, how about: Your last name is “Bright” so you name your child, “Rainbow” as in: Rainbow Bright. (That’s a popular doll from the eighties, just in case you didn’t know). Now, watch me roll my eyes. How would you like to be her growing up?
DO think about how the name sounds for a baby, a child, and an adult. For instance, imagine calling a baby or small child, Ulysses. Or Bertha. I suppose there is a good nick name in there somewhere, but at the moment, I don’t know what that is. Or imagine calling an adult something like: Baby.
DO think about how the first and last name sound together. For example: Shanda Lear. Alone, fine. Together? Not so much. And not so funny, mom and dad.
DO think about what your child’s initials would be. For example: You may wish to avoid choices like A.S.S. or D.U.I. Just a thought.
DO ask yourself: Will someone find an obvious reason to make fun of my child because of the name I’ve chosen? You know, like: Peter Moss. Richard Head. I’m sure I don’t have to spell this out for you.
Which brings me to,
DO ask yourself, what your child’s nick name would be. Which takes us back to the above. Pete Moss. Dick Head. You get what I’m saying.
Like the name you chose. It may be impossible to love it, so I won’t put that pressure on you, but at the very least, you should like it.
Be happy with your choice. And whatever you do, please, think of your child! Ask yourself : Would I want to grow up with that name? If the answer is yes, then it’s likely you’ve made the perfect choice.
You may wish to choose a name that is biblical, which was a criteria for my daughter and her husband. You may wish to choose a family name, which is always a nice thing to do. You may want something old fashioned, or out of fashion, meaning not so popular at this time, which can also be very nice. You may want a name that comes from your ancestors’ nationality. Another nice way to go. There are many good ways and good reasons for choosing a name, and only you know what is right for you and your baby.
So, in closing, happy hunting, Mom and/or Dad, and congratulations on your new baby(ies). May they be happy, health and wise, and never give you a day’s trouble or a restless night. (Yeah, as if). And may you choose the best and most perfect name for your new boy or girl, and, God help you, may you choose wisely.