Dangerous Names

posted in: Culture, Kids, Parenting | 6

So I kind of have baby on the brain lately. I think I probably made my husband stop breathing with that statement, but mostly it is just because I have quite a few friends who are pregnant right now. Bringing new life into the world is filled with all kinds of land mines of excitement and frustration. And picking a name for your new bundle is just one of them.

You know how some names seem to have certain connotations to them? Come on, don’t act all I don’t judge a book by its cover on me. Whether name profiling is right or wrong (okay, it’s most definitely wrong), you know that if you hear of a kid named Bear Blu that his mother is most likely a celebrity, and also likely to chew up her child’s food for him and then spit it into his mouth.

That is why naming a child can be such a stressful thing. I was reminded of this during a conversation with a friend of mine who is expecting her third child. She and her husband seem to be at a standstill in the naming process, mostly because they have trouble agreeing on names that they both like. I can empathize. My husband and I had very few names we agreed upon. In fact, it’s a good thing we have one girl and one boy, because those two names were pretty much the only ones we both liked. If a baby #3 ever comes along, in short…we’re screwed.

nun
“Pregnant Nun” photo credit: Matthew Hoelscher via flickr (CC by 2.0)

In talking with my friend, I also realized that maybe part of the reason choosing a name is so hard is because men and women seem to have different tastes in names. Especially girl names. Let’s just say that both of our husbands had female name choices that hold those certain connotations I was talking about earlier.

When I became pregnant the first time, Kurt and I each made a list of names we liked, then compared. One of the names that he really liked was Brandy, and when I showed my immediate distaste for it, he just couldn’t understand why. Really? Seriously? What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that name? My answer: dancer (and not the kind you pay a lot of money to go see…well, maybe you do. It’s just all in singles). Considering that Kurt has made it definitively clear that his ultimate goal for his daughter is that she enter the convent in her teens, I was flabbergasted that he would want to name her Brandy…and that he didn’t like my suggestion of Mary because it was “too plain.” Helloooooo…Mary practically begs to have a Sister placed before it and something like Frances put after it. Mary is a surefire nun name! But Kurt still defended Brandy, saying he liked the name because of the totally rockin’ song by Looking Glass:

I’ll give it to him. I love the song. However, even the song is about a girl who hangs around sailors all the time and thinks it is okay to stay with a guy who would rather get his jollies out at sea than give her the time of day. Needless to say, we found the very acceptable compromise of Grace. And it’s a good thing, because at the age of five, she once said something on the playground that could have been worrisome otherwise. She was sliding down the fireman’s pole and yelled, “Dad, I have really good pole moves! You should see them sometime. Really. I’m really good on the pole.” Knowing that her name means “blessing and virtue” helped me laugh off this comment. Had her name been Brandy, it could have been very ominous.

So, to all my round-bellied friends and anyone else with a bun in the oven, good luck dodging the land mines of dangerous names.

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Milk Diaries by Maggie SingletonOh, and while you’re in the market for all things baby-related, check out a brand new book by my good friend and fantastic writer, Maggie Singleton. It’s called Milk Diaries: A Compilation of Practical, Encouraging Advice from the “Real” Breastfeeding Experts. She has gathered stories from many moms about their experiences breastfeeding, and it is better than any breastfeeding book I ever read as a new mom. And you can also check my own contribution in there, “The Lactation Consultant from the Black Lagoon.” Happy reading…and feeding!

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6 Responses

  1. Thank you for getting Brandy stuck in my head. AHH! It seems like I always catch it when I tune in to 103.3. It is a great song but for some reason it ALWAYS gets stuck in my head! And I totally agree with you, when I hear that name, I think dancer immediately! Although, I think you and Kurt would both absolutely hate the name Judd and I have picked out, should a little one ever come our way (please lord, not any time soon!!)- Vedder. What do you think, is it “Brandy bad”?
    xox

    • Well, the best thing about naming your kid is that you really don’t HAVE to care what other people think of it. Your kid, your name. And no one else gets to have a say. And I also think there is a double-standard in that boy names don’t elicit such strong connotations as girl names do. I happen to think Vedder is pretty cool…and what I love about it is that it speaks to YOUR vibe. It would be totally ridiculous if Kurt and I named our kid Vedder because we aren’t quite as awesome and rockin’ as you and Judd 🙂 And how can you go wrong with naming your kid after one of the best lead singers of all time? Mostly, I’m fascinated by names and there are hundreds of names that I really like…but very few that I like for my OWN children. It’s a weird distinction. I guess it’s kind of like jeans. I love how flair jeans look on other people, but they just aren’t a good fit for me. (P.S. I just got an idea today for a new blog post that I think you will enjoy immensely. One word: Batman. Stay tuned…it may take a little while to put together.)

  2. Hahaha yep. I remember the name choosing debates. My husband and I spent the whole 2nd and 3rd trimester reading each other pages of names from ginormous baby name books. Some of the names were…disturbing. I only like two boy names (the Little Mister got the one that suited him the most) and I think we will have all out war on our hands if we ever have a girl (please let me have a girl next – the clothes are SO cute)! I was very picky, I’ll admit. The meaning had to be nice, I had to not know anyone horrible with that name and it had to not rhyme with anything swear-wordy! Also, it had to be spelt the conventional way or be a CLASSY twist on a conservative name. I won’t ever have a child named Taiilaaaa or Miiiickaeelle 😛

    • I know! There is just so much to take into consideration. Good luck if you ever have to duke out that girl name! The clothes WILL make it worth it!

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