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Pregnancy & Babies Category
What's In A Name?
"What’s in a
name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would
smell as sweet..." This may be true in the botany kingdom,
but when it comes to our children, there are a lot of
stinky names to be had.
for our children is a monumental task. Maybe pregnancy
spans the better part of a year to give parents time to
decide on a perfectly flowing name for their sweet little
bundle-to-be… only to change it 25 times before finally
Kids never like their given names. They
wind up renaming themselves after their favorite Disney
movie character and expect you to call them Rafiki or
Quasi Motto from that point forward.
There are many books available on the
market to aid parents in the name game endeavor. These
books boast the added benefit of listing the meanings of
each name, as well as alternative spellings. Mothers-to-be
will more often pore through these books, while the
fathers prefer the less scientific method of naming a
child after that year’s Heisman trophy winner or the horse
that won the Belmont cup.
It has become popular to give state and
other location names to children. During first grade roll
call you may hear names like Vegas, Dakota, Cheyenne, or
Ravine (which, I suppose, beats the alternative, Ditch or
Gully). <continued below>
It seems more beneficial to plant early
career seeds by naming a child Surgeon or Engineer--even
Plumber and Baker would be pointing the tot in the right
direction. You’d have to be careful of choices like Dancer
and Rocky, though, since they aren’t specific enough.
Instead of a Prima Ballerina and a Geologist, you could
end up with a Belly Dancer and a self appointed groupie
for the leading hard rock band.
Bird names have also become increasingly
popular--Falcon, Raven, and Eagle top the list. These
sound a little like secret agent code names, but at least
the extinct birds like Dodo and Pterodactyl remain sacred.
Some parents choose to name their babies
after the month in which they were either born or
conceived. These are very pretty names but they must match
well with the Surname. For example, you wouldn't want to
name you baby May if your last name is Flower or March if
your last name is Neil (this would be like commanding your
dog to sit and roll over at the same time).
Surnames lead to trouble with other
first names as well. If you ever meet someone named Skye
Gray or Stormy Knight you’ll know instantly that their
mother was still feeling the effects of child birth drugs
when she filled out the birth certificate.
Perhaps you’ll know their father aspires
to be a poet if their name is something like Lisa Batista,
or Shelly Carelli. I always assume a parent, nervous from
the realization of their new responsibility, stuttered
their infant’s name to the County Clerk when I meet a John
Johnson or Dan Daniels.
My sister chose names from the Bible for
her sons: Joshua, Matthew, Jacob, Zachariah, and Bob. As
legend has it, Bob was the chariot mechanic preferred by
A friend, upon given the advice, "try on
a name, wear it around awhile and see how it fits,"
decided to name her daughter Saks (as in Fifth Avenue). Of
course, her husband disagreed, but caved under the
pressure of her pleas while she was writhing in pain
during labor (guilt as a manipulation tool—she’ll make a
Some parents use acronyms from their
combined names to award to their offspring. Robert and
Sheryl Greene will inevitably christen a Sherbet Greene.
Worse yet, Robert Greene and Sheryl Brown can’t decide
who’s last name to use, so they add a hyphen and end up
with a Sherbet Greene-Brown, producing a visual image no
child should have to live with.
I know parents who name all their kids with the same first
initial: Katie, Karl, Kent, Kimberly etc… And others name
their offspring alphabetically: Andy, Beth, Chris, Debbie
and so on.
Maybe George Foreman has the best
system—name them all George and be done with it. A handy
numbering system might work well, too.
Middle names, typically reserved for
nerdy family names like Agatha and Heratio, are
considerably easier to assign. Bestowing Grandpa Icabod’s
name to an innocent child is rarely due to long-standing
family tradition. Usually, it’s to appease the incessant
pleading of a Mother-in-law. In an attempt to make
everyone happy, my son possesses three middle names--then
we had the nerve to tack a "Jr." onto the end. Saying his
full name ties your tongue in knots, but it kept the
extended family on speaking terms.
Once you’ve settled on a name, you have
to decide on a spelling. Some parents go off the deep end
in this department. The simple beauty of "Cindy" becomes "Syndie"
and "Sandy" becomes "SanDeE" (even the spell check on my
word processing program had trouble with this one). Names
that need phonetics in parenthesis after it should be
outlawed. In my book, if parents select an oddly spelled
or acronymic name, they forfeit the right to complain when
that name isn’t listed on the bicycle license plate rack
After all the time I spent researching
name origins and doodling out the various spellings before
selecting the ideal monogram for our child’s future bath
towels, I end up forgetting it at least once a day. I can
stare directly at one of my kids and draw a blank ("Which
one are you? I know you live here."). By the time I get
them straight, I’ve forgotten why I called them in the
Whatever name, whatever spelling,
whatever heritage or culture, one thing is universally
understood. When mom calls you by your whole name, "Robert
Alan James Fitzpatrick III," you know you’re in big
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