Monday, October 11, 2004

Baby Names

I hate naming babies. This is because I feel compelled to find The Perfect Name that meets a long list of criteria, and since both The Boy and The Girl happen to be holders of The Perfect Name, the third child is in trouble. Not to mention that since I really have no idea whether this is a boy or a girl, I need to figure out The Perfect Name for each sex. No small task.

I don't require myself to go into the hospital with a name completely chosen and settled on. The Boy got a first name within a few hours after birth, although we kicked around a couple of options for a few days. He got his middle name as we were in the process of checking out of the hospital, so we had to call the harassing "name lady" and give her the name over the phone.

We did a little better with The Girl. I had pretty much settled on a first name for her when she was born, but it still took us another day to agree to the middle name that I had thought I liked best all along.

With this baby, we have what one might call "an extended short list." Probably half the names on it are things one or both of us really like, but that we almost certainly could not bring ourselves to actually saddle a child with.

So what do we -- mostly I -- require from a baby name for our child? It can't be too popular. If is in the top 100 baby names from the Social Security Administration, the name is immediately removed from contention (for a first name slot). It has to be a real name with a real spelling -- unusual is dandy, made up is not. It has to sound good with Adams -- a subjective criterion, I admit, but some names do sound better than others. The name must go well with our other children's names -- theirs are both rather British, so something too Italian, French or any other ethnic sounding name wouldn't sound right. The initials, if at all possible, need to not look too stupid or make too odd an acronym. With an "A" last name, almost every initial combination will sound like it belongs to some authority or association or administration, so this one is almost impossible -- but names forming the initials DOA or BRA would be instantly rejected. And finally, as I mentioned, although we don't mind giving the kids names that are hard to spell or hard to pronounce even (I've survived Jordana just fine) it should be something that will grow with them and that will never be a huge embarrassment to them (although I will grant you that at one point or another any kid is probably going to find any name embarrassing, and I was miserable as a small child because there were never any shoe laces, stickers, license plates or other kitsch with Jordana out there).

Should be simple, huh? I just hope this baby gets named before we leave the hospital.

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