Friday, May 23, 2008

The Name Game

Yesterday, in her comment on my previous post, my good friend, The Lovely Kristen, outed my middle name. Which is really no big deal. To her. Because she has a pretty middle name. With kind of a sweet story regarding how she got this middle name. Which I won't share because I RESPECT HER PRIVACY. So a word to the wise, watch your back KLAMS. You're a scrappy little thing but I could totally take you. Did you ever realize if you include your middle name your initials spell out KLAMS? That is funny! Not nearly as good as Raia's. Which leads me to my next paragraph.
Back in our single days, my friend Raia (I'll call her Raia to distinguish her from the 82 Andrea's I know) met a cute boy. And there were sparks. You could see them. And as we left Cute Boy with his pack of friends that night, I told her "You are totally going to marry him." And then she told me his last name. And I said "You totally CAN NOT marry him." Or at the very least, take his last name. Which would ruin her initials and the possibility of monogrammed towels forever. Unless! She uses her maiden name as her middle name! Yes! What a swell idea! How smart is your best friend April??
Did she listen to me? NO! She married Cute Boy, took his last name and kept her middle name. And now the lovely Raia has the initials ASS.
We put a lot of importance on a name, don't we? When someone is pregnant we immediately want to know "So, have you picked a name?" Why do we always feel the need to tell people we hate the name they picked because we knew a kid with that name in third grade and he spent all his time under his desk picking his nose? Or we knew a girl in high school with that name and well, let's just say she wasn't popular because she was a cheerleader, wink wink. Why do we do this? News flash - it's not our baby to name! And we've all done it, me included. The name bashing, I mean. Not the nose picking or high school whoring.
We chose Junior's real first name because it sounded strong and couldn't easily be shortened. A lot of people didn't like the name, and we even thought about changing it a few months before he was born. But we really loved it and decided it was our decision so we kept it. Not that it matters, because in school he goes by his middle name anyway. Needless to say, his name was not as uncommon as we thought.
When we chose Mac's name, our announcement was greeted by our parents' wide eyes and the sound of chirping crickets. "Did she say (insert kid's name here)? Is that even a name?" We chose it because it was one syllable and not common. And now? We know at least eight other kids with some variation of this name.
Both of our boys' middle names are after baseball players. I won't tell you which ones, but it wouldn't be hard to figure out. They are unusual names, not Spooneybarger or Zito weird, but not common like Thomas or Young. A lot of my husband's friends are surprised I agreed to this, and even further, to name our daughter after a Ney York Yankee. But baseball is a part of Uberman, a part of our family, and I thought it was cool that they had a story behind their names. And I did nix his Dimaggio and Mantle suggestions. Although I almost agreed to Gehrig, but I thought everyone would say "Garrett?"
Now the only problem with naming your kids after famous or well known people that are still living is, you always run the risk these people could, someday, get caught in a seedy motel with three kilo's of cocaine and a dead hooker. Or they could be found guilty of lying to a grand jury about the usage of steroids. Or they could be accused of brutally murdering their ex-wife and her waiter friend. Bet all those people who named their kids OJ are totally regretting it, eh?
So I do my best to keep my mouth shut when people tell me what names they are considering for their babies. First of all, who am I to say anything when my kids have weird names? And second and most important - not my baby to name.
However, I really do wish someone had intervened when my mother was choosing a name for me. I was born in the early 70's, and I guess it could have been worse. I could have been named Rainbow or Moon Beam. Sunshine would have been cool. But my mom chose April. Even though I was not born or conceived in April. She just liked the name. And because she was a little on the hippie side, she chose a poetic middle name to go with it. April Dawn. Can't you just smell the, ahem, incense? Can't you just hear the melodic harmonies of the Mamas and Papas swelling in the background?
Can't you just see the name in big pink scrawly handwriting . . . on the box of a feminine hygiene product?
Mom - What were you thinking??


Bogart in P Towne said...

April Dawn...I think I saw that movie once.

I will admit to forcing the hand of my sister last year. She was pregnant with baby #2 and chose the name Corbin. I offered her $1000 college fund for said child if they changed the name. Samuel James was born a couple months ago. I will be opening up an account shortly and very happy to do so...thank goodness I don't have a nephew named Corbin.

Katie said...

If I have another girl, I'm naming her Apple. Apple was conceived around the same time as Ryan, so I felt pregnantly tied to Gweneth. I don't judge names much - but Apple? Then I heard her tell Oprah (or someone) that she thought the name was sweet, fresh and clean sounding and would have never guessed the media would make such a stink. Um, hello?

Then I felt the same thing you posted about...not my kid! Why do I get to judge? So I took my negative opinions and shoved 'em. And always think twice before telling anyone my opinion about their baby's name.

The only name my OBGYN says she ever tried to talk a patient out of was "Vicious Love" after Sid Vicious and Courtney Love. Seriously. The parents were total rockers.

Becky said...

Okay, I can no longer be cyberfriends with Bogart. My husband's name is Corbin. It is a great name and he is totally awesome.

Shove it Bogart. LOL

Yes, we had the name issue with each pregnancy...try having a mother in law who taught public school for 35 years...oh, yep. She had a bad association with almost every name we picked.

The name trap we fell into was that all of our kids had Irish/Celtic names. Not intentional, just happened. Then by the time we had our last two, we realized that we couldn't just name them Jenny or Bob. It wouldn't match.

???We are wierdos, eh?

The name I like the least right now is Barack Hussein Obama.

Sorry is what it is.

The Maid

Chris H said...

Imagine having to find names for 7!!! Our daughter named Brylee, I named Griffin. All our kids have their 'own' first names, and family names for second and third. A Picnic Bar is similar to a Snickers Bar... nougat and nuts covered in chocolate.. evil but yum.

kristen s said...

Okay, first off, I’m SORRY for revealing your middle name... I really didn’t think about it. When I know someone’s middle name, I oten call them by their first and middle name because I just enjoy doing it. It rocks my socks. When I’m mad, I always throw the middle name in (just ask my kids...)

For the record, I think April Dawn is a perfectly lovely name. Sure, I can also see it as the name of a feminine hygiene product, but they tend to give those pretty names so we’ll feel better about purchasing them for our... ahem... lady parts.

And yes, I am well aware that my initials spell KLAMS. Before I was married, it was just KLAM, and the gross boys at school who figured that out would laugh and say “bearded clam” to me. I was so totally clueless that I had no idea what they were actually referring to until years later when I met my equally vulgar now husband. Sickos.

I have to say, however, that I take issue with the “scrappy little thing” remark. While I may be short, I am by no means small (not too many more pounds, and I’m pretty sure I qualify as a candidate for the lapband procedure... I’ve looked it up). So little miss Weight Watchers success story, you’d better watch YOUR back, because I’m pretty sure I could take you!

And no, I don’t think we can ever win at the name game. For months, we read books, made lists, asked opinions and fretted over what to name our first born. We decided on Amanda... it was not the first favorite of either of us, but was the only one we could both agree on. It had a sweet meaning (“Loveable”), and I really didn’t think there was a way to be ridiculed with it on the playground. Boy, was I wrong. She tells me now that everyone, including her math teacher, calls her “a man... duh!” day in and day out and thinks that we totally gave her the worst name ever. Her math teacher’s name is Richard... who the hell is he to be making fun of someone’s name? Whatever, Dick.

chandy said...

I got a few comments about Elliot's name when I was pregnant with her (lots of people wanted me to know it was also a boy's name, in case I didn't realize that), so we kept Ethan's name a secret. His nickname before he was born was Leon (after a line from Airplane..."Leon's getting larger") I got pretty attached to calling him took me awhile to get used to calling him Ethan.

Anyway, I think April Dawn is a perfectly lovely name ;)

Mom said...

Okay, it's time for me to come clean - I chose April Dawn because Summer's Eve was already taken!

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