“What, you want me to name someone? You want like a name? Oh, God, the pressure of a name… I got it. Cindafuckin’rella”– Kit, to Vivian, in Pretty Woman.
I am officially name obsessed. I’ve always been keenly interested in names- how people get them, their meanings, name trends, etc. Even when I’m not naming a baby, I still read the Nameberry blog avidly. I’m a name nerd.
But now, I get one chance. One chance to name one baby girl. A GIRL. When I had my son, I thought boy names were harder- less room to be creative, less interesting names to choose from, more tied to “but what will it look like on a business card”? (Yes, I know this is ridiculous and sexist and I hope my daughter will have a business card too). But naming our first-born was easy. My husband and I agreed on most names we liked. We had a list going very early, and of course some names moved up and down, but for the most part, we liked them all.
We went into delivery with 2 or 3 names and thought we’d pick a name after we saw what he “looked like”. Except he looked like a creepy old man. My husband and I looked at each other and said “He looks like a Henry”. He just did. But even in my confused and overwhelmed state, I knew that was ridiculous. Why would you name your kid to match what he looks like as a newborn creature, all skinny limbs and smushed face and not-quite formed features? We should name him based on what we wanted him to be, our favorite name, our best vision of him. So we picked another name, one that fits him so perfectly. (By the way, I still adore the name Henry).
But I longed to name a little girl. I am a serial namer. I think I played Barbies just for the excuse to make up names and exotic storylines for each “woman”. In every journal I’ve ever had, you will find a list of names I like. Potential baby names, potential character names, names of people I admire, any name that sparks something.
And here is my chance. And, as I’m sure you’ve suspected by now, I am utterly paralyzed. One name, to rule all of her? One name, to convey to the world all of the spunk and beauty and fire and sweetness and hopes and desires and small quirks and complications I expect she will have? Where does one even start?
Well I started with lists. And then I pulled out the name books. And every day I’m reading Nameberry and Babynamewizard and Nymbler and You Can’t Call It It. And I ask every woman and girl child I meet what their name is. If a friend mentions any person of the female persuasion, I immediately badger her with questions about her name. I have names on the brain.
I have lists and lists of names in every possible combination. And yet, if I were to go into labor today, I could not possibly name this child. I know too much. I know the statistical popularity of that name (including all variations of spellings and not). I know the history and the meaning and the trend of it. I know the trends that are forecasted, I know what’s popular in England and Greece and Montana and Texas.
So please, please help me. I need to step away from the books and the pressure, the pressure of a name. Somebody just tell me what to name this baby!
Here are my “rules”:
Feminine but not too girly, with some spunk
No “A” names (last name begins with “A” and doesn’t sound good)
No made up or misspelled names
No “trendy” names- but popular is ok if it’s classic
No boy names for girl
Names I Generally Like: Lily, Nora, Charlotte, Eloise, Louisa, Daisy, Lucy, Juliet, Arden, Beatrice, Samantha, Marin, Flannery, Millay, March, Elodie, Clara, Maisie, Tess, Genevieve, Colette, Willa, Susannah
Family Names: Katharine, Bess, Margaret, Lucille, Mary, Emma, Harper, Reed, Caroline, Bailey, Claire, Rose/Rosa, Amelia, Beatrice, Emily, Elisabeth, Patricia, Mary, Sarah, George, Downs
I did get some input from my Grandmother and my son. My grandmother suggested “Skye”. (Considering she likes “Dawn” for my sister’s to-be-named baby, I feel honored).
My son is firmly entrenched on Tigerlily. He can’t imagine why I even keep asking him if he likes other names. He shakes his head vigorously and says “Nooooo, not Char-lotte!” with disgust in his voice. “Not Nooor-a! Tiger-Lidy.”
Me: “Ok, can we call her Lily?”
O: “No! Tiger-Lidy. Can I have a snack?”
You see why I need help. I’m weak and close to giving in and he’s the most persistent voice in the debate. And while I think Tigerlily has a certain charm, I’m not entirely confident in my mothering abilities to produce a child named Tigerlily that does not end up as an exotic dancer.
Any brilliant ideas? How did you pick names for your children? Any words of wisdom? And if you’re too shy to post (I see you out there reading but not commenting!), feel free to email me some ideas. I kinda like the idea of sending her to therapy one day because I picked her name from a stranger’s suggestion on the internet.