Thursday, December 9, 2010

What's in a name?

I spend a lot of time thinking about what we should name our future baby. I want something unique but not insane. I don't want my son to be the 15th Jacob in his class or my daughter to be the 12th Bella. But I don't want my kid to have a name that's unpronounceable or just plain silly.

I once heard someone say you should try out Baby's name with the word "Senator" at the beginning. So, where "Senator Mary Smith" sounds just fine, "Senator Mystique Smith" seems a bit off. (Never mind that it calls up images of the X-Men character or -- worse -- a stripper.)

That doesn't stop Web sites from listing "Mystique" as an actual name. And it doesn't stop celebrities from giving their children names like Audio Science and Pilot Inspektor.

I have a desire -- really a need -- to give my baby a name that will honor my mom and/or the S.O.'s father. And I want our child to grow up knowing we put a lot of thought into a name, not just picking what's popular.

When I was growing up, I hated the name Pam (Pamela was worse). I don't really know why I disliked it, maybe because it wasn't exotic. My parents' other choices for me were Patricia (for Mom's best friend) and Rosemary (for my aunt). Both of which I thought of as "old lady names" back then because of my aunts with those names, I guess. I wanted to be Samantha or Laura, not that either of those names are especially "exotic" but they weren't Pam.

I became "Pammeey" (again) a few years back when a co-worker started using that pet name from my childhood. I guess it has sort of stuck. My brothers and I all have names that can be made diminutive -- James to Jim to Jimmy, Joseph to Joe to Joey, Michael to Mike to Mikey -- but I know other people who think adding the "y" to the end of a name is somehow disrespectful. I don't mind. I think it's fun to have a "formal" name (the name Mom yells when you know you're in trouble) and a "casual" name. I'm not sure my child will have that or not. We're still deciding. And until we know the sex of Baby-to-be, it will remain up in the air.

But definitely not Mystique. Or Pilot Inspektor. Or any kind of fruit.


  1. Too funny! When I was born, "Amber" was a very unusual name. (Way back in the 60s.) My mother loved the name but was terrified I'd grow up hating it or that it would someday be considered some weird hippie name. So she gave me the first name of "Elizabeth." That way, she figured that if I hated "Amber," I could go with my safe name of "Elizabeth." I actually love both my names - except for the fact that there are no good "Amber" nicknames. Unless you want to call me "Amburger" or something.

    Anyway, I KNOW you'll pick the perfect name. And I can't wait to find out what it is!

  2. I think for each gender, you should pick three names for (three's a charm) then take all the tiles (from Scrabble or Bananagrams) for those names, mix them up and use them to create something fantastically normal yet unique in a pronounceable way that sounds plausible when prefaced with Senator. Or just say screw it and throw a dart at the "Common Baby Names" book and go with that.

  3. ah, yes.... names. I had a hard time getting Jarion to let go of me not naming him Jarion Jr. - ugh - and came up with Caden. At the time I had absolutely no idea it was in the top 10 names. sigh..... It's a Welsh name that means Spirit of Battle which seemed fitting since his dad is a warrior and all. Just a thought......