Saturday, July 29, 2006

What's In a Name?

So, Hubby and I are slugging through naming options for the little girlfriend who is due in November. Man alive, is it tough. Decisions about nursery decor, prevalence of pink in outfits, etc. -- these are easy, because these can be changed. But a name...that's something that's going to partially shape who she is. So we have a couple of ground rules:

1) Nothing that starts with "M" -- my name, my sister-in-law's name, and "Mom" and "Mommy" all start with "M," and I think Hubby's brain would explode trying to call everyone by the correct name.

2) Nothing that, phonetically, has only one syllable -- since our last name is only one syllable, the "flow" would seem kind of stuttered.

3) Nothing that ends with a "V" or an "F" -- this is due to the elision factor. We don't want someone to think that the kid's name is., for example, "Livon" instead of "Liv Vaughan."

4) Nothing that encourages teasing. Now, this is a toughie to predict. We can weed out the ones that rhyme with loads of unfortunate words (i.e., Vicky), or can be converted into a Bart Simpson telephone joke (Amanda, Anita).

5) Nothing that was wildly popular in the past couple of years. We don't want our child to be, say, "Abby V." because there are three other Abigails in her class.

6) The first name will not be the same as a living relative. Why? Because then the living relative becomes, say, "Big Mary" or "Old Mary," and I don't know that it's all that fair to do that to someone.

7) And finally...something that has a deeper meaning. And I'm not just talking about honoring family members' memories. We look up the meaning of the name. I don't want to name my daughter something that sounds cool just to find out that it has really nefarious etymology. I heard the name Aradia the other day, and was curious about the meaning. Yeah, I don't think I'll name my child after the goddess of witches.

Looking for insipiration, I checked out the Social Security Administration's list of the most popular baby names from 2005. First of all, I'm inordinately sad that people seem to name their children after unusually named celebrities (Charlize, #906) or popular liquors (Alize, #825). And there are incredible deviations in spellings, which I'll forgive due to the slim possibility that it's a "creative" difference. But deep down, I think about how these kids will realize at some point that their parents just can't spell very well. I mean, "Destini" should have a "y" at the end of it, "Shyanne" is all wrong -- it should be "Cheyenne," and don't even get me started on "Abigayle."

And second of all, I giggled when I saw that both ''Mary'' and ''Jesus'' were evenly ranked as the 73rd most popular name last year.

Oh, and we're not planning to share our pick 'til the actual birth since we've already spilled the beans about her being a girl.

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