Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Name Game

It's really hard naming a human being.  It's a big responsibility.  It's stressful. 

And it's annoying.

We find out on Monday whether Morgan is going to have a brother or sister.  We honestly don't care just as long as it's a healthy baby.  We've got all these girl clothes and toys in storage so it would make sense to have another girl.  And I think having a sister would be awesome.  I had 2 stinky brothers so I'll never know. 

But I know that deep down, every guy wants a son.  Plus Michael's whole family is holding their breath to see if this will be the grandson bearing the McCumbers name.  Out of all of the grandkids, there are only 2 grandsons to pass along that name. 

Either way, I don't care.  I just want this pregnancy to be over with.  Today I woke up after 9 hours of sleep, ate breakfast, then took a nap for an hour (while Morgan lined up Little People along my entire body so when I rolled over they all fell off and she screamed).

I'm tired of being sick, and I'm sick of being tired....along with all the other fun pregnancy issues like hip joints that hurt so bad sometimes that I can't even sleep and the amazing increase of stomach gas that makes me burp like Homer Simpson (loud, forceful, lips quivering in the breeze...)

But before baby eviction in about 19 weeks, we have a lot to do, like getting Deuce's room ready and deciding on a name (because even though Deuce is an amazing nickname, it's not very practical if he/she wants to run for president someday).

It's a big responsibility...

You are naming a human being.  That is the name they will have until they die (unless they come up with a nickname or get really brave and chance their name). 

It's stressful...

Babies are born completely bald and nonverbal.  They have no opinion whatsoever about what you name them...until they become unbald and verbal.  Then they might hate you forever for the name you thought sounded perfect. 

It's annoying...

You think of a name that you love...and everybody else hates it.  Everybody else is full of suggestions...some of which make make you want to bang your head against the wall until you're cross eyed. 

During my pregnancy with Morgan, Michael and I made lists of names (okay, *I* made lists of names and he read them and shot the names down).  We knew we were having a girl, and for some reason girl names were harder for us than boy names. 

That's when we unofficially made the rules of the name game.

1.  Check top 50 names for the year.  Avoid top 20 unless you want your child to have the same name as 7 other kids in her classroom.  As for the other 30 names on the top 50, it just depends on how much you love that name; and how often you hear it.  I'm not going to step on any toes and list those top names...the list speaks for itself.  Morgan was #50 in 2008 and has since dropped off the list.  *air guitar victory dance*

2.  Avoid stripper names. 

3.  Keep in mind that your cute little baby is going to grow up someday...and possibly go to college...and might want to be CEO or some top position....and being stuck with a cutesy name like 'Rainbow' is not going to give anybody the confidence to climb the corporate ladder (and also refer back to rule #2).

4.  I adore old fashioned names, but be very careful.  Not many little kids can carry the weight of a name like Opal or Virgil (those are both names of my grandparents and they are wonderful old fashioned names but I couldn't imagine a little boy in Kindergarten with the name of Virgil).

5.  Spelling is so important.  TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!  My name is Jaime.  It has been misspelled my entire life.  My mom thought it would be cute to go with Jaime because J'aime in French means 'I love.'  But then I grew up during the Mexican invasion and Jaime is a boys name in Spanish (pronounced hy-may).  During grad school I worked on a project with a girl from Columbia and she flat out asked me 'why you have a boys name?' (I might have asked to see her Green Card...) Personally I don't mind having a name spelled a little different...or maybe I'm just used to it by now.  When I was little I was sad because I couldn't ever find the little license plate for my bike with my name spelled correctly...or pencils...or stickers... And it's misspelled on most of my trophies and awards.  And all of my doctor charts.  And some credit cards.  But I might be able to use that to my advantage...'ummm that's not me, that's not my name, I'm not paying this bill...'

When we decided on Morgan (which Michael liked because it sounded sporty) we toyed with the idea of Morghan or Morganne but then I realized I couldn't do that to my kid.  I don't hate my parents for my funky name spelling (honestly I'm not even sure my name knows it's spelled differently...) but Morgan might hate us when she's older.

6.  And going along with the name Jaime/Jamie....gender specific names.  My name is butchy.  I always get mail to 'Mr. Jaime Stratton' (and now 'Mr. Jaime McCumbers' which irritates Michael a bit because he doesn't want the mail carrier to think we're 2 dudes raising a kid together).  I know a lot of girls named Jaime/Jamie...and a lot of boys.  Once again, I personally don't care about being Mr. Jaime, but my kid might.  I worried about that a bit with Morgan.  Morgan is an old fashioned name....for boys.  In contemporary American society it's become an accepted girls name...but the true test will be if she starts getting mail to 'Mr. Morgan McCumbers.'  At that point we'll tell her she was named after Morgan Freeman and to just suck it up.

7.  DO NOT be suckered into a name you don't like, just for the sake of pleasing the family.  This is YOUR kid.  You cooked that little grouchy gnome for 9 months and you are going to be the one up all night and day keeping it alive for the first year.  YOU name it.  Unless you're planning to pawn your kid off on your parents so you can go party every night or go on an archaeological dig in Egypt (thought crossed my mind), then you have to consider giving up your right to name the kid.

8.  Nicknames...avoid names that rhyme with curse words, body parts, and body functions.  If you are planning to send your child to public school, be warned that children are evil and can (and will) give your child a horrible nickname (even if they LIKE the kid!).  Michael and I really liked the name Gretchen...and even though everybody else shot it down, it was my BFF Paul that said (in a horribly mean voice) 'Retchin Gretchin' and made me realize I was thinking about naming my daughter something that rhymes with the act of throwing up.  DARN YOU PAUL!!!  And by the way, Gretchen is still in the running for girls names for Deuce.

9.  Names of exes should never be considered...exes from each other's past as well as your parents' past.  Seriously, if somebody named Consuelo broke your dad's heart while fighting in Korea, don't name your daughter Consuelo!  Recently my mother in law accidentally suggested the name of somebody Michael had dated (in her defense, she doesn't know everybody that Michael dated) but I heard that name through the phone call and immediately snarled and hissed and spit like a cat as Michael firmly said 'no that's not an option.'

10.  Research the meaning...most names have a meaning (unless you're naming your son Rope or some other random object).  Michael of course is a very old Hebrew name.  Jaime, as previously explained, means 'I love' in French.  And Morgan is from Morrigan which is an Irish goddess of war...SERIOUSLY?!  I did NOT research that until after my little goddess of war was born and making me want to tear my hair out. 

See?  Naming a human is so hard.  There's so much to consider.  Basically you want to pick a normal but not too popular name that isn't too cutesy or trendy that they will be proud to introduce themselves with someday when they are wearing the black suit interviewing for an important job.

Unless you want them to be a stripper.  Or a starving artist.  If you're open-minded, then totally go for naming your daugther Magentiquana.

1 comment:

  1. This is good Jaime! I really like the guidelines, especially number 7. My son was 7 when Sana was born and helped me to go to the University library to look up names. He picked her name from an Egyptian art history book that I do not remember the name of... but I liked what he chose so much that I changed from the name I always said that I would give my daughter...since age 12! Here is what we came up with: Sana is pronounced with the last A saying it's name; it means brilliance or radiance (derivative of the Sun) and was the name of an ancient princess :)