Names stick for at least a long time, if not “forever.” I’ve had the honor/burden of naming four children, and let me tell you: I have felt overwhelmed each time. When you’re pregnant, you can’t even look at the kid, but somehow you’re expected to know what name he or she should be saddled with for the next 80-100 years!
And what if they become famous?! Will their name be appropriate?!
Careful thought is important. Or it will destroy everything you hold dear.
We gave our dog a human name. We named him Jake, which is especially odd since our brother-in-law is Jacob. To be fair, we have never called Jacob by the shortened form of the name, so it came as a surprise when we realized what we had done. I wonder if that was ever interpreted as a deliberate jab? I hope not. That was not the intent. We could have used some careful thought.
Regrets also include Kid #3, who ended up being Claira. When she was born, she came out all sweet and snuggle-y and tiny. We literally had a conversation in which we concluded that she was “too sweet” to own a firecracker of a name like Eliza. Eliza seemed too sassy for her. Claira seemed like a sweet name to fit a sweet baby girl.
What we didn’t know has become abundantly clear in the ensuing four years: Beneath that newborn cuddly-ness lurked a catastrophic hurricane of a child! I’m often grateful that we stuck that rogue i into the middle of “Clara”. That tiny i returns some spunk that was lost when we nixed Eliza. Maybe we over-thought that one.
Is the name question as big of a deal as I make it out to be? I mean, Juliet didn’t care too much about Romeo’s name. There’s a chapter in the book Freakonomics on this topic. I admit that I have not read the book, but I did listen to the relevant podcast episode – which surely counts for something.
Basically, it turns out that names say more about the parents than the child. Or, presumably, the pet. The could-be “Eliza” wouldn’t have any edge that the is-now Claira doesn’t already have.
So now I’m wondering… what does it say about me that I’m still thinking about this, four years after the fact?!
In 2015, in the throes of naming the future hurricane and before we knew the answer to the boy/girl question, I turned to Sancta Nomina. I love her blog! She didn’t end up posting our name consultation, but she did email us with suggestions and some really interesting things to consider. It was cool! I’m not planning for any more babies, but I do love to think about names… obviously. And I still read her blog.