Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's In a Name

I saw this over at Dy's blog. How did we decide what to name our children? Where did their names come from? I can't really say that it was all that difficult. DH and I tended to be on the same wavelength when it came to parameters. It was important to me that they could have 'child' names & 'grown-up' names. DH had to run each name through the playground test to make sure that they couldn't be made into anything to ghastly. I wanted to incorporate family names as much as possible. And, it could not be a name that every other child has - the horror of being one of 7 in my school class with the name "Amy"

Child #1 - we didn't know the gender, did not want to know. Start thinking about names around the time the stick turned blue. Came up with a boys name - Brian Michael fairly quickly. Good, strong sounding name. For a girl we actually picked the middle name first, Elizabeth, and then needed to find something to go with it. DH actually came up with Mary - I liked it - good, basic name. We could call her Mary Beth and then she could decide what to call herself.

Child #2 - Again, didn't know gender. Did not really care for Brian anymore and needed something to go with Michael. I suggested Camden (as in camden yards - dh's favorite bball team), of course we had to find something traditional. For a boy we threw out just about every possibility and were still arguing about it in the delivery room. Thankfully we did have a girls name picked out just in case. DH let me choose and I have always liked the name Katie. A Katie is spunky, but can be a little princess. But since we also needed grown-up name, we decided on Katherine Anne - good flow and as traditional as the first one.

About this time we started being asked if we were Irish Catholics with those names - No, but my ancestors were. My sister figured we had good names for when they grew up to join a southern college sorority. Anyway, we were done and didn't have to think about names again - good thing K was Katie - because we might still be arguing about the name.

Child #3 - A surprise! This time I told DH I wanted to know the gender. Just knowing that we were having another baby was enough of a surprise. So we did not even worry about names until after we knew EM was a girl. Good thing since we have more luck coming to consensus with girl names. I had thrown out Emma & Emily for discussion with #1, so this time just asked DH which he liked better - he chose Emily and I tacked on my mother's middle name for good measure - Emily Christine. A little less traditional, a few more of those floating around in the general public. But, still fits with our "southern" sorority theme.

Child #4 - One would think we could figure out where these things come from. I figured this one would be next to impossible to name - I had used up my girl name list & we never had come to consensus on a boy name. We found out that it was a boy and got to work. We knew Michael was the middle name, but needed something to call him. We went through Christian, Camden, Brian, Bruce, Samuel, Geoffery, Gregory. At the family reunion last summer I was glancing through DH's family tree and noticed that his grandfather had been named Robert. I asked him what he thought - we could call him Robbie. We actually agreed and were done!!!

I call Robbie 'junior' on here because it is leftover from his fetal name. K kept bugging me about what we were going to name him when we couldn't decide. I finally told her Bubba Junior, and it just kind of stuck, at least the junior part.

I love hearing about how people decided on names - family names, idol names, random pages in the dictionary, or darts thrown at slips of paper.



Mrs. Darling said...

My oldest is named after a girlfriend of mine. My second child has her grandmother and greatgrandmothers name(both the same name) and my son is named after his grandfather and his daddy. He was also born on his grandfathers birthday, His grandpa had been dead for thirty years before my son came along so it was pretty important to my husband to give him the same name; and it was his own name too after all.

andie @ and the mama said...

I just love the names you chose, *especially* for your girls.

Deb said...

I too had the personal name problem growing up -- only my wasn't something nice like "Amy," but something bubbly-scattered-cheerleader-and-not-at-all-like-me: "Debbie." I was one of 3 Debbies in an eight-girl sixth grade. (It also totally dates my birth to the late '60s...I haven't heard of any Debbie born past the mid-70s)

As soon as I went to college, I ditched the "Debbie." Fortunately, I am able to be Debra for business and Deb for friends, even though "Deb" falls flatter than a pancake.

I was determined that my own girls would have names that were elegant and dignified, which could have nicknames if they wanted and not if they didn't.

My oldest is Madison May, although we wish there hadn't been an explosion of Madisons right after she was born, it's a little trendy now. May is her grandmother's name, and Madison sounded great with it, and as a bonus it was a Founding Father's name. We don't call her Maddie, but she could someday if she wanted. She doesn't so far.

My other daughter is Ella Simone. "Ella" is after Ella Fitzgerald and "Simone" is after my favorite character in my favorite book ("A Tale of the Wind," a 1991 book that is out of print because the author died soon thereafter). We actually named Ella even before we had Madison because we adore Ella Fitzgerald (who was a really decent person as well as a great singer), but we wanted to use the middle name May after my husband's mother, and Ella May didn't work for us northerners. So: Madison May, then Ella Simone.

The girls like their names.


Dy said...

Irish Catholic - ROFL. I knew the names had a traditional sound, but I couldn't put my finger on it. That's hilarious.

Too funny about the playground test. I wonder if all men can instantly revert to their fourth grade selves when they search for what kids could do to a name? Zorak had me in stitches more than once.

Thanks so much for doing this. What fun!


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.