Picking a baby name

I’ve been naming my hypothetical children for as long as I can remember. I like to think my taste has changed and matured over the years.

My mom clearly picked a popular name for my birth year. In fact, a few years after I was born, a book came out called “Names Beyond Jennifer and Jason.”
book pic

It’s only a little bit ironic that my cousin, born six months before me, was named Jason. My family latched on to the J names, way before those Duggars started popping out kids. I have two siblings and seven first cousins, and their names are: Jamie, Joey, Jeremy, Jason, Jerid, Jonah, Jacob, Justin and Jolene.  What we lack in naming creativity we make up for in love. 🙂

There’s some debate in my family over how my name came to be spelled with an “i” instead of the more traditional “y” or the dreaded “ie”. First, it seems very logical to me that when you take the -fer off of Jennifer, you get Jenni. Why is that so hard for everyone else? But indeed, I wind up correcting the spelling of my name constantly. And I cringe when I see it misspelled. Plus, I was never able to buy trinkets with my name on them, because they were ALWAYS made for a Jenny, not me. I imagine my life would have turned out differently if I had a Lisa Frank pencil with my name on it.

So, I have a certain sensitivity to giving our child a name that they will always have to spell for people. Same goes for pronunciation, although I haven’t had any trouble there.

When I was in grade school, I just knew I’d have a daughter named Felicity when I grew up. She was the most beautiful, and classiest, of all the American Girl Dolls. For a boy, I was obsessed with the name Tristan after Brad Pitt’s incredible, life-changing (for me anyway, at age 11) performance in Legends of the Fall.  If I had another daughter, her name would be Anastasia, from my favorite character in The Babysitter’s Club. She went by Stacey, but her full name was Anastasia Elizabeth McGill. How classy is that?! This name stayed with me for a long time, as my interests changed from Ann M. Martin books to the Russian Romanov empire and the famous story of Anastasia.

I was much more sophisticated in high school, and I read every Danielle Steel book I could get my hands on. One of my favorites, to this day, is called The Ring. The main character’s name is Ariana, and I thought it was the prettiest name in the entire world. I was set, no need to look any further on names!

Then, in my mid-twenties I found the ultimate baby girl’s name – Ava Grace (me and the rest of the US, apparently). JR’s good friends S & B had their first baby a few years after he and I started dating, and named her Ava Grace. I was crushed. The fact that I wasn’t pregnant – or anywhere close to having kids – was irrelevant.

Once, JR and I were on a long car ride and baby names came up. I told him my then-obsession was the name Keegan. Now, my version of the story goes like this. After I told him the name, he pondered it for a bit and said he thought it was an okay-sounding Irish name. In my mind, I thought the matter was settled. Months later when I revisited the topic, he told me he hated the name and would never consider it. I reminded him of our conversation in the car. According to him, it was unfair for me to start talking baby names in the car while he was trapped with me for a set period of time, and he just nodded along to what I was saying to change topics and hopefully stop discussing babies. How rude.  Even now, from time to time if we pass an unfortunate looking guy on the street, JR will say “that’s probably a Keegan.”

Now that this conversation is no longer hypothetical, it’s funny how easily we agree on some things, and yet we are MILES apart on others.  The first time we had to pick out bedding together, it seemed like our relationship was doomed.  Hopefully our marriage can survive this baby naming business.

4 thoughts on “Picking a baby name

  1. very, very funny! When I was in grade school, I was convinced I was going to have a girl after I got married and she would be named AnnaMaria! I know of one Keegan at Patrick’s school and he looks like a Keegan!

  2. omg, picking a name is the worst! I just read something on FB that said, “You don’t realize how many people you hate until you have to name a baby.” So true! And, if you are a teacher it’s like a thousand times harder!

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