… just don’t say ‘It’!
I’ve heard some real horror stories over the years about couples trying to nail down a baby name. It’s likely early in the pregnancy, there are hormones, paint, and doctor visits spreading themselves across your previously peaceful life, and then the question comes to mind, ‘what should we call the baby?’ Well, it comes to your mind. You can bet from that first missed period she’s got a list of about 25 names, first and second. You’ve got a lot of catch up Daddy, if you want to get any of your horses into this race.
Some names are suitable for every day use and First Name status. Some are great complements to the top three, and would make great second names. Others are family names or variations that you may use, but only if they meet that First Name complementary criteria. Then there are your options. I had to be honest with myself; Mom is strong-willed, organized, and smart. As a result, anything I presented as an option had to fit into her decision making matrix.
Where to start (and what to avoid)…
We hear and read dozens of names a day, often without even realizing it. That amazing athlete on the news, the son of a client who’s pictures you’ve had to see a dozen times, that girl with the obnoxious name tag at the grocery store… you’re inundated with options. If you want to be a real celebrity status namer, you may see a potential handle for your kid in your refrigerator or the auto parts section of Canadian Tire. Avoid the temptations.
There are plenty of websites and (if you remember these things) books that you can read into. Family histories have really cool names that make their way back into fashion every hundred years or so, so check close to home, too. I was named for both of my grandfathers. That said, with a name like Matt, Gramps didn’t actually use it, as it wasn’t cool at the time. It was on fleek about a century earlier (Anne of Green Gable’s Uncle Matthew), but wasn’t ready for public consumption again until the ’80’s. Tread carefully.
We both liked a particular girl name. It happened to be an ex’s name from my distant past, so that one fell out of circulation quickly. Be open and forthcoming, because if she finds out three years into the baby’s life that this was your high school sweetheart’s moniker, name change processes can get pricey.
Final Decisions, and when to share it…
Some couples can wait until they meet the baby to get the final name nailed down. ‘I wanna know if it’ll suit the pink, wriggling and gooey little one before I commit’ is an argument that didn’t hold stock for us. We’re planners. We wanted the baby name on her wall, wanted to be committed to it before it was too late, and then wanted to secure it, given that others were pregnant too. It had to be set in stone early for us.
We got to a name and then had a battle around spelling. Our baby has a Celtic name and, while we were both enamoured with the choice and it felt relatively unique, we butted heads BIG TIME on the spelling. When you have a name starting with Mac or Mc, the Scot in me needed to have the ‘a’. Problem with that? Nicknames. ‘Mac’ get Mack as a nickname where – according to my partner, the sudden expert, ‘Mc’ would make it unshortenable. Right, cause Mick, or Micky aren’t options. Sigh. Needless to say, I settled on the Mc, and now think it’s much more effeminate and beautiful. I’m getting better at being wrong.
Social media has made a HUGE change in the naming and sharing in recent years. I have seen a trend of announcing the baby name immediately upon decision, and then using it in posts etc vs the traditional ‘baby’ you would use while the mystery was maintained around final nom du bebe. We didn’t go that far, but we did let folks know casually.
The name really can begin to shape the baby’s personality. Without buying into labeling theory or anything, the idea that you say it with love, and you both think it’s ‘just perfect’ goes along way to sending the right vibes to your little one. It does for us! Just be open minded, review your list regularly – together – and make sure you shared your thoughts. Don’t just settle, and don’t battle for your way… not a good way to start a life, being the subject of a War of the Names!
McKenna. Btw. Her name is McKenna.