06 October 2009

What's in a name?

image from blaugh.com

So, I find out someone I know has a baby, right?

This said person could really be anyone (this is purely hypothetical).

You know, you get that call...

"Hey, Bernella had her baby last night?"

"Oh, yeah..."

Okay, here's where this conversation goes awry on my end.

I don't ask the weight, the length, the apgar scores.

At this point, the gender of the baby is really secondary to my concerns.

All I want to know is...

"...what did Bernella name the baby?"

Is this weird?

Probably so.

Most things about me are, indeed, a little off.

I love baby names.

More than the names, I love to try and figure out why people choose certain names for their kids.

I love when a name has a story.

This doesn't happen all the time, of course, but when it does, it's scrumptious.

It may make you reconsider your opinion of a name.

Case in point, Apple Blythe Alison Martin.

At first, I thought, what a cuckoo-weirdo-eccentric-will-have-to-stay-in celebrity-circles-its-whole-life-just-to-fit-in kinda name.

Then, I heard why Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin chose this particular name.

"It sounded so sweet and it conjured such a lovely picture for me – you know, apples are so sweet and they're wholesome and it's biblical – and I just thought it sounded so lovely and … clean! And I just thought, 'Perfect!'"

This strange name sky-rocketed in likeability points for me.


My own kids don't have any great stories associated with their own names.

Jake is simple.

He's a junior, or a second, or whatever.

Pete was going to be Mitch or Max.

About 6-8 weeks before delivery, we chose Pete.

No real reason why.

Not many Pete's running around anymore, ya know?

A good, strong, masculine name to go with Jake.

All boy.

Betsy was tougher, but not difficult by any stretch.

First, she was going to be Meg or Annie or Jane.

One night, I was watching some period English movie, and during the credits a 'Betsy' caught my eye.

I mentioned it to Jake and it was a done deal.

My mom was very upset we didn't stick with the consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel theme.

I'm only telling you that because if you think I have issues, now you know the apple doesn't fall far.

Rosie is a completely different story.

Jake and I wanted to name her Tilly.


Everyone hated it.

I care too much what people think.

But, sometimes, like when you're naming a human being (which, incidentally, is a HUGE responsibility), I think you should consider CERTAIN people's opinions (the people who matter most to you).

After all, they are reflection of society as a whole.

The same society that will receive the child that you name.

The same society that will, all too often, judge that said child based on his or her name alone.

Sad, but true.

Tilly was out. (I'm still a bit jaded by that, though.)

Jake wanted Maggie or Josie, and I didn't really know what I wanted; Daisy, Willa, Molly, Nellie.

We then settled on Maisy.

I even had onsies personalized.

But, something didn't sit right.

My parents always would say to my sister and I that their names would make lovely names for their grandchildren.

Incidentally, their names are Rose and Vince.

As my due date drew nearer, I decided that there was some weight to what they said.

It helps that I love honoring people and the past with names for our future generations.

It was settled...she would be Rosie (what my mom is called daily, and it stuck with our nicknamey theme, no proper names for this crew), and middle name, Kathleen (Jake's mom's name).

When all was said and done, my mom was honored but didn't like it. :)

Another true story.

But, now, she just couldn't be any other name.

Cracklin' Rosie.

If she would've been a boy, it all would've been soooooooo much easier.

Gus Vincent.

The end.

PS The best baby name book EVER is
The Baby Name Wizard, by Laura Wattenberg.
You will LOVE it!


  1. I am 20 weeks and we have a list of names for each, but nothing really strucks me. I think this time I will have to see the babe to make a decision. Plus the best name is already taken. Enzo. It is hard to top it for me. :)
    I am not letting people influence me as when child is given a name, he/she becomes one with it. At that point no one cares about it anymore as they love the little person.

  2. Tilly was on my list for all three!!!...the first turned out to be a BOY...so he got the grand "family" name...the second was an emergency delivery, and in a "dazed and confused" state we changed her name last minute to another Irish family name...and the third, Lord-have-mercy...we could NOT agree on her name...so once-again- last minute ANOTHER Irish family name...but I would still love a "Tilly"!!!
    Great post...and I always ask the name first too! :)

  3. Tilly is one of my favorites too!
    Ava was Kaya until about 2 weeks before she was born. We thought we were being original, and now it's one of the top 5 girl names!
    I still love it of course:)
    All of our kids have "family" names for their middle names:)

  4. OOH ... I love Betsy! I keep wondering if Mad Men will spark a revival of interest in the name.

    And hey, no matter what name you choose someone will criticize it - and eventually your kid will ask why she wasn't named Grace. :)


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