Thursday, April 22, 2010


For some reason, coming up with a name is much harder this time than it was last time. Or maybe it was equally hard last time and I've just blocked it out. (Apparently, the latter.) Either way, we're past the 34 week point and still haven't really made any progress on names. Well, we did sit down this weekend with our spreadsheet* from last time, with popularity data updated and prior grades and notes removed, as well as some names added, and then we regraded and rediscussed. But I am not feeling at all settled in our rankings, and certainly don't feel as though those rankings represent our selections. Or at least mine.

I think for me, the main issue is that of significance. Harry's name has meaning to me. And we have a few more boy name choices that have some significance (three of our top four, in fact), though my top pick among them isn't Ps. But we can't get there with girl names. (And we are waiting until birth to find out what we're having again.) In part, this derives from the fact that many of the women in our family have had names that are decidedly unfashionable today, and I just couldn't saddle a baby with one of them. The names of our combined grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and sisters of our grandparents and great-grandparents are: Edna, Esther, Wilma, Mildred (x2), Helen (x5), Marie, Blanche, Adelaide, Emma, Clara (x2), Florence (x3), Meta (pronounced MEE-ta), Wilhemina (x2), Anna (x2), Mary (x3), Margaret, Magdalena, Elizabeth, Theresa, Lucile, Edith, Almira, Maude, Ida, Joyce, Eva, Ruby, Lillie, Effie, Bessie, Gertrude, Cecelia, Marian, Agnes, Althea (with the number in parantheses noting when that name was used more than once, and the order generally reflecting their proximity (i.e. grandparents, then great-grandparents, then siblings)). I tried going back another generation, but mainly got another set of Marys, along with a few names we'd never use because they really don't work with our last name.

The second problem is that using family names is wholly unimportant to P. I think he'd prefer not to use a family name. Which just doesn't work for me. But it looks increasingly like it will be the case, as only one or two of those names got an even remotely positive reaction from him.** This kills me. But I can't just override his preferences, as much as I may sometimes want to.

In all honesty, I think it kills me in part because of the fact that Harry's name does have this connection with the past. When people ask our kids why they got their names, I hate that one will be able to give a lengthy explication while the other will only be able to say that their name was one of the few that one or both of their parents didn't dislike. No "it has this great family history" or "it has an awesome meaning" or "it's the name of a favorite character in a much loved book." And that makes me sad. And makes me hope we have a boy for this reason alone.

* Did I mention the spreadsheet last time? I got sick of feeling like his principle contribution was the veto of every name I suggested, so I decided we would each make lists. I then combined our lists into a spreadsheet and, for each name, added potential nicknames, popularity ranking, and meaning. We then went through the list and came up with a combined grade for each name on a 1-5 scale and made notes on the name, also adding possible middle names. We then resorted by grade. It was incredibly geeky, but incredibly helpful.

** Note that some don't work because of our last name -- pretty much any name ending with M or any name that is two syllables and ends with A is out. And some of the above are actually funny with our last name (for those who know our last name, Emma is probably the funniest of the above choices, though Uma is definitely the most comic overall). The best choices tend to be longer names. Also, we are nickname people, so if the name doesn't lend itself to some kind of tolerable nickname, it becomes much tougher for us to imagine using.


HereWeGoAJen said...

Hahaha, Emma and Uma. That'd be great. Matt suggested that we go with Gabrielle for our baby.

We don't have many good names in our family either. (Brunhilde and Gene, yes, Gene for a girl, are the main ones left.) So for any future children I am planning on stretching a bit more and using initials. Plus, we looked for names we liked and then went back to find the family connections later.

Also, have you looked in middle names? Elizabeth is my sister's middle name.

niobe said...

I'm sure you've already considered all of this, but I *love* some of your family names for girls.

In fact, I tried to convince L to name our daughter several of them, but, alas, to no avail.

Anyway, here are my faves, with potential nicknames (avoiding nicknames that start with M or end with A)

Helen: Nell, Nelly, Laine, Lainey

Adelaide: Addy, Del, Adele

Edith: Edie, Eddie

Gertrude: Tru, Trudy

Nicky said...

If you don't like the exact forms of some of the family names, you can always use modifications. A girl named Helaine can be named in honor of all the Helens in your family, and can still use all the nicknames suggested by niobe. And perhaps if it's not the *exact* name as a relative, P won't object so much?

As for Harry's name having significance but this one not... my older brother has a well-researched family name. In comparison, MY name was the name of a little girl that my brother fell in love with at the beach when he was 3. It was a bit of a family joke that I was named for my brother's first girlfriend, but it really wasn't a big deal.

In the mean time, you should definitely tell everyone that you're naming her Uma. You know my last name, so you'll appreciate that we told everyone that our girl name was Aurora.

maresi said...

Oh, yes. Go with Uma. :o)

I love love love Ruby.

Of my siblings, I'm the only one named after someone (although my brother's middle name is our grandfather's name). My name is the nickname of someone my mother knew. My sister isn't named after anyone, they just liked it. And it didn't seem to bother her or cause any lasting trauma. But I am like you, wanting great meaning attached. Good luck!

Yo-yo Mama said...

Our son was given the name we both agreed on. His middle name was one I had heard only a couple weeks before his birth on a movie.

My daughter has the first and middle name that has "meaning" and is tied to my family.

So we do have one sentimental explanation and one of those that we chose because it's one both his parents liked.

Mommy, Esq. said...

Go with Adelaide, I've told Aaron I don't want to use it - I'm sticking with Alice. I also LOVE, LOVE Helen. I have a friend Helen and she always complains it is a grandma name but that is why it is cool.

Danifred said...

I am giggling insanely at Emma and Uma... heee heee heee. That's like naming our kid Jay.

Maybe you could use a family name for a middle name? We did that with our girls (because my husband, too, could care less).

And, I do love Ruby, I think it's sassy.

Chris said...

I actually love lots of your names (even once I take out the ones that end in a) -- Lily, Margaret (Maggie) and Elizabeth (Libby) were high on my list of names with K. Good luck! Naming decisions are sooo hard!

Photogrl said...

Names are so hard!

M. and I are struggling right now, too! We have settled on a boy name, but keep hitting the wall with a girl's name.

We have a problem with our last name, as well, so NO "flower" names such as Ivy, Rose, etc. can be considered without serious laughter!

I love Magdalena (Maddie) and Lucile (Lucy). Hope you can come to an agreement soon!

A New Beginning said...

I love the name Adelaide as well.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Happy new baby! And I think you picked a perfect name. It's one I've always wanted to use.