Naming babies.


I was reading through comments on the last few entries (yes, I am still locked in my bedroom hiding from the racist builder and desperate for diversion!!) and noticed that I had the strongest response to comments about names. So, names.

TMD and I have been talking about boys and girls names for a long time, having a particularly hard time with the boy side of things. We eventually decided to have shortlists (two good names per baby, though my mother suggests having a few more in case either baby was sexed incorrectly at the scan – probably a good point!) and naming them when we saw their little faces.

We decided not to share these shortlists for a couple of reasons:

One, we had semi-decided on names a long time ago. Now the original boy’s name has completely changed as TMD wants to vomit when she hears it, and the little girl’s name seems to have changed as well. We are indecisive like this and do not want to commit! Sharing names only to change them every few weeks seems a wee bit crazy.

Two, names seem to be what a lot of people are focusing on. Don’t get me wrong, I like to pester pregnant woman about names as well! But you hear these stories about people offering funny feedback (though sure most of our family and friends Would Not Dare) and don’t want to open ourselves up to everyone offering an opinion, suggestion, etc. Don’t get me wrong – if you have a GREAT boy’s or girl’s name, leave it in the comments! We have been too cheap to buy a baby names book and like to consider lots of options.

Three, my mother. You see, my family is sort of matriarchal. It is mostly comprised of a strong line of women at the core, generation after generation. The men (or women, in my case) marry into our family, but the women run the fucking show. There is no two ways about it.

An interesting side effect seems to be an inadvertent tradition that has popped up.  I’m not sure how far back it goes, as my great-grandparents were immigrants and we do not know anyone in their original country.  My grandmother’s middle name is her mother’s first name. My mother’s middle name is her mother’s first name. Things change up a little bit – I’m the firstborn girl, but my middle name is, well, just my middle name. It does happen to be another version of my great-grandmother’s name, but I don’t think that was intentional. My little sister’s middle name is our grandmother’s name.

So, you see, my mother’s first name has not been middle-named yet. She really, really wants her name included somehow. She hasn’t out and out said so, but every conversation includes suggestions of how her name could be incorporated. She now calls our little baby girl ‘Little [mom’s name].’

This is awkward because, well, my mom’s name is pretty if you are living in the 1970s and enjoy flower power discos. Also, shortened versions of her name (which she continually offers as a suggestion) are an awkward thing for TMD and I – her shortened name is the name of a friend I had when TMD and I were going through a particularly rough time and we don’t really care to be reminded of it. Plus, it’s an unattractive name.

I also really want my grandmother’s name incorporated. If you read my blog around the time she died, you will have learned that she has had a monumental effect on me as a person. I hold her up as someone I want to be. She was brave, funny, a storyteller, and very very genuine. I had previously talked with TMD about naming the little girl my grandmother’s name.

Then as soon as we got pregnant, TMD confessed she didn’t like it as a first name – okay. So we decided on it as a middle name. (Are you bored or confused yet? Congratulations if you are still around at this point. Please forgive me for all the name waffling.) We also ‘decided’ on a first name – which just happens to be my paternal great-grandmother’s name. There is no connection here. Except, of course, my mom would probably be pissed that someone from That Side of the family was the baby’s first name.


That name is still on our shortlist, but we feel pretty secure with yet another name we have picked. I really, really love my paternal grandmother’s name but think it will get left out completely. It sounds lovely as a middle name with the first name we’ve chosen, but it is more important for me to include my grandma’s name. Make sense?

We figure wait till the babies pop out, name ’em, and everyone will just be so pleased to meet the newest additions to our family that no one will particularly give a flying fuck about their names. Except maybe my mom. But I might always have another little girl – and there is always my sister, if she decides to have children. And also, my mom totally broke the naming tradition of our family, so I am only following in her renegade footsteps.

I do like my mom’s name, I want to say. But really prefer one syllable, simple names for middle names. Especially as I think TMD’s last name will be the second middle name for both babies. She really doesn’t want to burden them with a double-barreled last name, and likes my last name more than hers. But I worry because I want her to be completely included and as the bio mom I already will be recognised in some spheres (ie immigration in my home country) as the ‘real’ mom and that’s bullshit! So definitely want her surname included in the mix.

Anyone still awake at this point?


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7 Responses to “Naming babies.”

  1. midwifemuse Says:

    Like you my daughter knew what sex her twins were before they were born but, and its quite a big but, her partner didn’t so all thinking about names was done as if there were 2 boys or 2 girls, you would still think though that 20 weeks would be long enough for a decision. The boys were born and neither had a name. Twin 2 had to go to NICU though and daughter felt really guilty that he had no name so a decision was made. Twin 1, with Mummy, was called ‘little man’ for 3 weeks then he was named, but nearly 2 years later, and they are still unsure whether they made the right choice.
    Family names – all my grandchildren have middle names relating to their Aunts, Uncles or Grandparents. My sister and I both did this with our children so all the cousins, second cousins and aunts share 4 middle names between 14 of us. Looks good on the family tree.

  2. grace Says:

    Still awake. And I agree with you about not asking the views of well-meaning others! I don’t really want/need to be told ‘you can’t call him/her THAT’ *lol*

  3. Jinxy Says:

    Wow I think I need a nap now. 🙂 Kidding.

    I don’t blame you for keeping them secret for all of those reasons. We chose not to name our daughter after anyone and knew 100% what her name was going to be so there was no chance of changing it to something else. Actually that reminds me I have a post about how we chose her name in my drafts that I should finish.

    I didn’t want to go with a family name because I didn’t want to step on anyones toes and honestly I don’t like any of them well enough to strap my daughter with.

  4. Anna Says:

    My experience has been that different types of people will give you shit whatever you call your kids. Sara (named for my friend who was with me for the birth, who I didn’t mean to bite) – boring, Renny – what kind of a name is that? And Sam for a girl in 1980 was so outre that the old man in the flat upstairs refused to have anything to do with it and called her Sue for the whole ten years we lived there.

  5. Tatiana Says:

    But I want to knowwwwww :[

    For the longest time, my “daughter” name was a combination of my brother & sister’s names. Then I got pregnant and I realized, you know, that may be a BEAUTIFUL name, and maybe I’ll use it for #2, but this baby had her own name, and it wasn’t what I expected, yet I knew it was her name as soon as it came to mind.

    YOUR babies. You pick the names that feel and sound right to you!

    (I still want to know though)

  6. Megs Says:

    I like the idea of naming a child after family, so it has meaning and history and a good story (like yours!) Too bad our ancestors were have unfashionable or boring names. I’ve got a lot of Mary going on in my family both sides, and Nic’s mum is a variation, but all that religious connotation, plus nobody has named their child mary for 50 years… unfortunate. (Saying that, I hope Mary isnt shortlisted.) I like the idea of using your grandmothers name, and my original solution to your problem was to use your mom’s name as a second middle name, til I read the last paragraph. So maybe you can just put it on your sister! I do think it is hilarious that your mom is calling the baby Little [mom’s name] So cheeky!

  7. Naming babies. existere (latin): to stand out, to emerge. | All Things Babies Says:

    […] Someone I’ve heard of created an interesting post today on Naming babies. existere (latin): to stand out, to emerge.Here’s a short outline […]

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