Monday, June 21, 2010

working backward to first names

Like any good lesbian couple, Elizabeth and I have had a running list of potential baby names for years. We're lucky that we have similar taste- we both want something that's less common, but not completely out there. We want a name that's easy to pronounce and we're not into the very creative alternative spellings (definitely no little Jayssin or Emmuhleigh in our future).

After we had our first appointment at the fertility factory, we went home and made a big list of names on our computer that we would add to periodically. It seemed so easy! We'd hear interesting names all the time and add them to the list. The list got longer and longer. We were prepared for octuplets. But then I got pregnant, and the idea of naming a child was no longer an abstract thing that we'd do sometime in the future. Suddenly some of those names didn't seem quite right. They were perfect for some other child, but somehow they just didn't seem like the right fit for OUR children. Choosing a name became much more complicated. The kids will be stuck with this name for the rest of their lives, or at least until they turn 18 and can change it. We have plenty of names that we like, but very few that we really love. And what if we look at our babies for the first time, and they just don't fit any of the names we've chosen? Gotta remember to pack that baby name book in the hospital bag.

We had a boy name that we absolutely loved for close to 5 years now. We had the perfect middle name to go with it. When we first checked, it was down near 100 in terms of popularity. But then it started climbing on the list to hit #25, and I heard of several other people who used this name. We had to abandon the name because it was just becoming too popular for our liking. (Elizabeth hated having such a popular name growing up.) Now I brace myself every time someone I know, in real life or in blogland is about to have a baby. I don't want to find that another name we love is becoming too popular.

We've decided that we're keeping our name choices to ourselves until the babies are born. People are way too opinionated about names, and tend to forget that it's our right to name our babies whatever we choose. We've gotten a lot more flack on our decision to keep quiet on our name ideas than we have on keeping the sex of the babies a surprise. Is it that unusual to keep your name lists secret? How did you / do you plan to choose your baby's name? For those of you who already have children, did you feel absolutely certain about a name before you gave it to your baby or was it more of a last minute decision? This is way tougher than I thought it would be!

21 comments:

A+K said...

I giggled when I read your line "like any good lesbian couple we've had a list of names for years" . . . THAT'S SO TRUE!! :)

K & I have an idea of names that we like but have agreed that it will be hard to have a name for sure until we meet the baby(ies). One thing we know for sure is that middle names will be those of people who are near and dear to our hearts (family/friends). In my family, each child has 2 middle names and that is something that was important to me to continue and K was very much so on board (my 2 middles are my mother's maternal grandmother's name and my paternal grandmother's maiden name). My whole family does it as a way to honor other family members :)

I agree that it can be a good idea to keep it to yourself (the names). Nothing like sharing the name of your child with someone and getting the turned up nose/head cocked response that says "really? That's your choice?"

Good luck and I'm sure whatever you end up naming your babes will be absolutely perfect for your family! :)

Elana said...

In Judaism we're also not supposed to talk about the names we've picked before the baby is named. We've already chosen what this baby will be named (whether girl or boy). And we know basically what all of our kids will be named in the future too. lol No last minute picking for us! We were certain when we picked the name...100%

Schroedinger said...

Speedy and I are of the list-making variety. We didn't really start with a good list because we happen to have different opinions about names (I have an unusual name and I like it like that; she has and tends to like more common names of a biblical bent.) We both have 100% veto power, so that has kep our "maybe" list very short.

Once in a while one of us will, appropos of nothing, suggest say, "Hortence" or "Neevil" (only real names that we would actually consider) and the other will dutifully respond, "Ugh! No way!" or "Hmm, maybe..." and thus our list grows painfully and slowly.

Putting them together with a middle and a last will be the next challenge! One our early favorites was a lovely mellifluous name that just flowed from the lips-- and also gave us the initials of ASS.

It's going to take a while.

Strawberry said...

Also in Judaism, it is appropriate to name your child after deceased relatives...first initial usage being quite common. That's what we did for our boy's first and middle initials. So that was a good jumping off point and we picked all the names we could think of starting with those letters and narrowed it down. It wasn't too hard. We loved our girl name, but it took a while to pick a boy name, which of course we ended up needing. We were 98% certain about our boy name, but every now and then, would get a little nervous about. Still, it's what we went with and we do love his name.

Oh, and we kept it a secret until he was born, even from the hospital staff. I don't know if it's odd or not to keep it a secret...I think about 50% of people do, and 50% don't. But I think it's absolutely worth it NOT to tell people. You really don't need their input and they will always make you second guess.

anofferingoflove said...

it is SO hard to chose! for *years* we were sure our daughter would be olivia...until olivia hit the #1 spot! we didn't tell anyone our name, we wanted something to announce at delivery! that, and i wasnt 100% sure until we saw her. do what feels right to you and try to brush off the annoyance of folks giving you flack. everyone has an opinion! (all the more reason to keep your names secret!)

2 Chicks 1 Hatchling said...

We're working backwards also. In fact, it may take the entire pregnancy to come to an agreement. Chris and I have very different likes and dislikes as far as girl names are concerned. Boy we're ok with. We're keeping all to ourselves as well. Not only for the "stealing" reason but because we don't want to be influenced whatsoever. Not even by the slightest of grimaces!
Good luck!

mamaandmummy said...

We've agreed on a boy's name for a long time now, but we can't agree on girls' names at all! I have my own favorites and C has hers. We like old fashioned names that everyone knows and can pronounce but not a lot of people are using. We liked the book _The Baby Name Wizard_ which is different from other baby name books-- it gives you possible sigling names and sorts names into different categories.

cindyhoo2 said...

Ahhhh, the "help" in naming!! Joey and I have finally decided on some names and we are planning to start calling the boys by them as soon as we are 100% settled. Our reason is so that people will stop throwing names at us. I am shocked at how many people think naming is an activity which is open to input from everyone. "Have you considered Levi? What about Matthew? I have always loved the name Mortimer. And don't you dare name them anything like Elijah!" etc etc. The input must stop and for us the best way is to say we have decided on __ and __. Then family and friends can like the names or not. :)

S said...

We had a hard time picking a name for our baby. We had very different ideas about the names that we liked. But we narrowed it down to a couple and intended to wait and see what the baby looked like. Over the last few weeks of the pregnancy we pretty much picked one and were set when he arrived.
We decided not to share the names as we didn't care to hear what others had to say!

rachelbk said...

I must be an oddity (okay, I KNOW that, but I meant relative to this topic, lol).
Both of my children were named the minute I found out I was pregnant. I didn't have to wait for that anatomy scan, I just 'knew' that Ceara was a girl and Gavin was a boy. I didn't have names chosen in advance, they just came to me when I knew I was pregnant. Weird.
I am sure that the names you choose will be perfect for your kids. You won't be able to imagine calling them anything else.

golyweg said...

When my best friend was pregnant, she didn't want to tell the name she'd picked for similar reasons, but somehow ended up swearing me to secrecy and telling me - I put on my best "aawww lovely" face and she instantly knew i hated it, and she was right. She ended up with a different (beautiful!) name anyway, although not because of my rather bad acting! So yeah ... keep it for a suprise! M :)

vee said...

We had a girl's name picked out from the start - it was perfect in every way. We had a boy. And then the snootiest woman in our birth class used OUR girl's name and has ruined it forever.

Our boy's name was settled on about 7 months into the pregnancy, but at the time drew nearer, we both started to go off it. Then, a few weeks before he was born, we saw a great program with a young character called Sid in in and we both just knew. That said, it was a good few weeks after he'd been born before we felt totally ok with that being his name, and we stopped calling him Bonus Ball!!

Pomegranate said...

We have a girl's name picked out, have had it for years. It's a more modern version of Tam's mom's name. But the boy's name is still under discussion. We think we have a middle name, very Arabic, but we keep picking out first names and tossing them out. We thought about Aidan for a while, for example, but it's number one now, so no way on that one. We email each other names all the time and the other shoots them down. Many discussions and lists to come, I'm sure.

As for not telling, I honestly don't know anyone who does tell. My friend who's due in August has had her name picked out since April, but no one knows it. I had one co-worker who used to toss out potential names, but none of them were the name they actually used. We don't share our name for our hypothetical child. So no, I don't think it's strange not to tell. If anything, I think I would find it strange if someone I knew did tell.

Morgane said...

it took a lot of discussion and compromise for us to finalize on our names but we finally settled.

we are keeping our names secret until the baby is here for the same reason. i don't think i have ever told anyone "ughh really? you like that name" when they told me their baby's name whether i thought that or not. that apparently isn't true for all the people we told even the names we were just considering!

Stiney said...

Keep them secret. We told our mothers the girl name that we loved so much and they HATED I mean were just absolutely against it so we started looking for another. Good thing there's no baby yet.

alimis said...

We also having a document on our computer that is being updated often. I tend to like more unusual names than Violet does, so frequently I get a scowl from her when I mention a name. My problem is that there are about 4 names for each gender that I really like and find it hard narrowing it down.

poppycat said...

Yes, we too had that running list and kept having to cross names off because they became too popular. We also found that many of the names on our list were great until faced with real live children who would have to live with them forever and then they just weren't right for us anymore.

We have chosen our names and call the kids by name now but I imagine it is possible that when they arrive we will not like the names we have chosen. In that case, hopefully one of the names from our top three list will work out better.

We've had some flack for keeping the names secret too but I don't care. They can all suck it ;)

Lisa said...

People have an opinion about everything and I learned very early on in my pregnancy to keep our decisions to ourselves (i.e. cloth diaper, breastfeed, names) because people felt they had to weigh in, sometimes rudely, about our decisions. With that said, I loved announcing our baby name in blogland when Preston arrived. His name was never on our baby list pre pregnancy. We always loved Jaden for a boy but that slowly moved down the list. PIcking out names are fun. Enjoy it.

Movie Gyrl said...

Oh my yes everyone has an opinion. We have a girl name picked out. Sort of. My partner has picked out the first name so therefore I claim all rights on the middle name. She doesnt like the middle name I chose. We are at constant odds because she wants to take control over my input. The baby will have the first name she chose as well as her last name. I refuse to be squeezed out lol
She even told two friends of hers the name we picked. One friend hated the middle name I chose and proceeded to give A MILLION suggestions. The other friend loved it and together I stood my ground.
You know the craziest part is: we havent started TTC'ing yet!!!! So yes keep your names to yourself. Some ppl will not be shy about forcing their ideas on you. I know when we do get pregnant, the name will be a secret even if iy's the same name we have now.

Growing up Clangley said...

We have been keeping a running list since TTC. Once pregnant, just like many of you those names started dwindling...we have one child (madison) whos name is/was very popular, and there tends to always be another in her class or on the soccer field. In chosing Emory, we started with Ella and wanted to go less popular, one day Liz emailed me the name and i knew it was the one. With the boy, we chose to keep it secret, although we gave hints like its also an NCAA school name (we have an accidental name theme going)...we would use it as a boy or a girls name...the god parents played the game went thru the lists, marked off the obscure names (like Gustavas Aldophas, and Imaculatta)and guessed it correctly and they were rewarded with the answer...they luckily both loved the name (its a good name)...but i am afriad the grandparents wont love it so much at first. But they will have to when he is here, right? His middle name is Liz's maiden name. He will essentially have 3 last names, but with a cute nickname...my mom likes puzzles so when we go in for a c section i am going to hand her some clues so she will probably figure it out by the time we come out with him and announce his name...

mama bea, bao in the oven said...

Ugh--I hear you. We're still struggling with this issue--plenty of names we like, but nothing has jumped out as the obvious contender. Good luck!