Monday, January 28, 2013

Mommy Mondays: The Name Game

I'm not going to lie - probably my favorite part of having a baby is getting to name it.  This is an equally enjoyable part of getting a new doll, or a new pet.

BUT, I think there's a big difference in naming your child, versus a doll or a pet.  For instance, one of my all time favorite movie scenes is from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: 
Sallah: Please, what does always mean, this-this "Junior"?
Henry Jones: That's his name: "Henry Jones, Junior."
Indiana Jones: I like "Indiana."
Henry Jones: We named the dog Indiana.
Because even fictional movie parents know that "Indiana" is a name better suited to a pet than a child.   Which is why I found it more than a little odd when I heard someone had named their daughter after Indiana Jones.  "You named your daughter Henry?"  Nope - Indiana.  The name of a male dog, being used on a poor, sweet, little girl.

And let's use that as a jumping off point. When I imagine my future unborn potential daughter, I picture a tiny little blonde girl with a pony-tail, looking much like Thatmom as a child.  Obviously as she grows up, she'll be the most popular girl in school, liked by everyone and absolutely beautiful.  Life in high school will be ridiculously easy for her.  And then I start thinking about reality.  Life in high school is easy for no-one.  And given her lineage, there's a great chance she won't be the most popular girl in school.  There's a pretty good chance that at some point she's going to have an awful haircut, braces, glasses, and an unfortunate looking outfit or two - come on, we've all been there.  And how much harder is life going to be if I give her a dog's name?  Or a really masculine name (since Eliot has somehow turned into a name for a little girl)?  Think about the biggest female outcast in your school.  Now picture her name had been Fred.  Cruel, right? 

Names - they're important!  So we put a lot of thought into baby names.  It was a fun pasttime for Thatboy and I.  Heck, it still is!  We love names that are traditional, but not common.  Names that can have a nickname, but don't have to.  Names that are good for both children and adults.

That last one is something that particularly resonates with me.  I work in a very male dominated field.  A field where opposing counsel has referred to me as "Sweetie" on more than one occasion.  A field where most male partners refer to me by a nickname I haven't gone by since before I was in elementary school.

But I'm not the only one who delights in naming and has an opinion on baby names.  Practically one of the first questions you get asked as an expectant parents is "So - have you decided on a name yet?"  Everyone wants to know, because everyone wants to tell you what they think about it, or provide their own suggestion.  For this reason, we kept Thatbaby's name a secret from the start.  Because we didn't want to hear what people thought about it, and we didn't want their suggestions about what name they'd prefer for our child.  It was one of our better parenting decisions.  Because it was clear that when we announced the name, not everyone loved it.  It was easy to separate them out, because those that loved the name gushed.  Those that didn't responded with "Oh, how did you decide on that name?"  But no one told us it was awful, and no one tried to change our mind.  And months later, everyone agreed it was the perfect name for him.

And by the way - if you're looking for a dog name, my favorites are Mowgli, Asta, and - you guessed it, Indiana.


  1. We also kept all if our choices for baby names a secret. I would just tell people that we had narrowed it down to two names (that was true), were going to decide on one after we met him (which we did) and weren't telling anyone the choices because we didn't want to hear, or care, what anyone else thought (I did say this to people). P.S. I've been mistaken for the court reporter on multiple occasions, and one partner in our DC office called me a paralegal. Male attorneys are dumb.

  2. Wow I just realized I have no idea what ThatBaby's name is! ANd it doesn't really matter!

    I definitely have very distinct (slightly off the beaten path) ideas about what I want to name my future kids and the.boy. and I are ALWAYS play-fighting about it. Hopefully someday we'll be able to compromise...