What’s In a Name? Only Your Daughter’s Future Chastity.

Today is my daughter’s fifteenth birthday. I thought it a fitting occasion to post this piece I wrote for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition in 2016. It didn’t win, but it was a Final Round Qualifier in the Global Humor category and received a very nice comment from one of the judges: “Excellent story in the Bombeck tradition. Light and funny with great structure and writing.” Quite flattering, especially considering the panel of judges was made up of several accomplished writers, along with Nancy Cartwright, the award-winning actress better known as the voice of Bart Simpson. I can’t be sure she is the one who made that comment about my piece, but let’s just say it was her. I was pretty over the moon about it at the time, so it’s kind of weird that I never celebrated it publicly. Chalk one up to humility for a change. And I never shared the piece elsewhere; I had almost forgotten about it entirely. But I came across it the other day as I was taking advantage of my COVID-19 “social distancing” by doing some Spring cleaning on my neglected little blog here. And since my daughter is the topic of the piece, I figured her birthday is the perfect time to share it. So here it is (and preemptive apologies to anyone named Brandy)…
Continue reading “What’s In a Name? Only Your Daughter’s Future Chastity.”

Dangerous Names

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.

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

nuns
Which one is named Sr. Brandy?

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.

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!