I remember the moment my husband and I decided on a name for our first child. I wish I could tell you that the clouds parted and the sun shone on my belly as the universe accepted the name for its new inhabitant. Names are big deals, after all. The truth is, we were driving to Sam’s Club to buy toilet paper and tubs of hummus. I was doing a little jig in the front seat, trying to “hold it” as the baby karate chopped my bladder.
“I don’t think I care that people will think of the chipmunk,” I said, after stressing about the connotation for weeks.
“OK. I don’t either.”
“OK, so Simon?”
That’s how our son was named.
I did all the pregnant woman stuff: prenatal yoga, walking clubs, and Facebook groups where I got to form opinions on things that I didn’t even know I could have an opinion about: What kind of sippy cup is best? Should my mesh crib bumper have ties or velcro?
I also learned that keeping baby’s name a “surprise” is what people do now. You don’t tell a living soul, then you announce the name, along with a photo of the newborn baby on Instagram, then you make sure you link it to your Facebook, too. I’m not making fun here. A quick scroll through my own social networking accounts would show you that I do just this. It is, after all, what the “cool” moms do these days.
A few other trends I noticed to which I adhered:
1) The baby must have a name that is unique, lest someone else in their kindergarten class have the same name.
2) Whatever you do, the name must not be on the list that pops up when you Google search “100 Most Popular Baby Names” (I named my second child “Owen” which is no doubt on the popular list, but it’s OK, because it’s a boy name and she’s a girl. I know you were worried. Phew, right?)
And some others, which I noticed after I had my own babies and therefore couldn’t get in on:
1) You can make up a name for your baby. Or you can make up a different spelling of a common name. Both are acceptable.
2) Your children can have themed names; all children’s names can start with the same letter or come from your favorite book, for example.
OK, I’m obviously being a bit dramatic here, people. In all seriousness, naming my kids was my favorite part of being pregnant. I loved picturing a sweet little face to go with the name. I loved doodling it on notepads and ordering products with their monogram on it. As with most things in life, my choice of names for my kids was met with some opposition and some acceptance. Most people get really annoyed that I named my daughter a predominantly male name. She rocks it, though. And I have a “boy” name, so I’m allowed, right?
Here’s what I’ve learned: Whatever name you choose for your kiddo, own it. Love it. You only get to do it once!