I’m still trying to think of a baby name
I’m basically asked just two questions these days. “When are you going to have that baby?” and “What is his name?”
Both questions have the same answer: “I don’t know!”
In this time of early gender determination via ultrasound, the majority of babies are named months before they’re due. But here we are, mere weeks—possibly days—from having our third son and I still don’t know what we’re going to call him.
His in-utero nickname has been Cletus, as in “Cletus the fetus.” Unbelievably, a few people took us seriously and thought that’s what we’re actually naming the poor child.
My husband and I might be from the south, but even we aren’t quite that redneck.
My friend Lori — a mother of four — suggested naming him “ZachEli” because that’s what I’ll end up calling him most of the time anyway. That made me laugh out loud as I’m already bad about confusing my kids’ and pets’ names when I’m yelling for someone.
We didn’t have any trouble naming our first two sons. Zachary was chosen during seven long years of infertility. Both of us loved the name Zach, but ultimately chose it because of its meaning: “God has remembered.” His middle name, Allen, is my maiden name, and means “happy and cheerful.”
Elias Jeremiah was chosen for our second born because I’ve always loved this Greek version of the Hebrew name Elijah. Jeremiah is a favorite book of the Bible and I love the way the name sounds. His name means “The Lord is my God; Exalted of God.”
My interest in name meanings complicates matters. Because no matter how trendy or nice a name sounds, I just can’t name a child Avery — which means “elf counselor” or Brogan, knowing that it means “shoe.”
I love the name Henry, nickname Hank. But it was scratched off the list when we discovered it means “ruler of the house.” Babies of the family usually do that anyway; I am not giving my son a name that would ultimately encourage his lordship over us all.
I don’t want my kid to be the tenth Jacob, Joshua, or Jackson in his class, but some of the more unusual names that are becoming popular surprise me. Atticus, for example, has risen in popularity over 700% in recent years. I just can’t imagine a wee baby with such a strong name — nor an adult of that name being taken seriously.
I could follow actor Ron Howard’s example. His four children are named after the places they were conceived: Bryce Dallas in Dallas, Texas, Paige Carlyle and Jocelyn Carlyle at the Hotel Carlyle in New York City, and Reed Cross after a particular road.
Let’s just say that our street’s name is even worse than christening the child Atticus.
Orion is probably the most unusual name that I like. Then again, I just noticed when typing it that it looks an awful lot like the word “onion.” Hey, I could pair that with Ringo as a middle name and tell everyone he was conceived after dinner at the Varsity.
I’m notorious for indecisiveness, so I find the responsibility of giving a child a name that will follow him the rest of his life almost paralyzing. I don’t want him to hate it. I’ve had to accept that our relatives will criticize any name we choose. But they’ll get over it, like they did with my other two. Most of them just want a namesake, for reasons I struggle to understand.
It’s definitely a lot easier to recycle a name into a “junior” or a “third” than to come up with something new. Certain in-laws of mine would love to see this child become Donald Richard the Third, but thankfully my husband and I have agreed against that. We understand the concept of honoring someone by reusing their name, but frankly you can tag a kid with a lot of unnecessary baggage that way, too.
Someone asked if we were going to continue with our unintended theme of using variations of Biblical prophets’ names. I think we might. But we’ll just have to wait until we meet the baby to decide what fits him best.