Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name

I had a lot of time to reflect on some things this morning at 2:40 when I heard #3 downstairs crying because he couldn't turn the television on. I collected him, got him a cup of juice (oh, he is a spoiled child) and took him back to his bed. He fell asleep quicker than I did, most likely because he didn't have a topic for a blog churning around in his brain like I did.

We need to decide on a name for Baby Girl #1. I recognize that her arrival is 8 1/2 weeks away (or 6 1/2 if she is like #3, but I'm not planning on that) but this is the latest we've gone without a named child. DH and I agreed on a name before I even got pregnant, and it is a name that we chose for two reasons. A) It is cute and we like the sound of it. B) It has family meaning. Reason A is more important to us, and Reason B is just nice, a bonus in my mind. We wouldn't say that we require a name to be a family name, especially when I come from a family of Connecticut farmers with names like Chester and Calvin (no disrespect intended) and DH comes from a family of Russian Jews (Diemshitz, anyone?). So when we've found family names that fit into modern society, full of Madisons, Jacobs, and Taylors, we think it's great.

The name we agreed on 8+ months ago is Darcey. A family name, yes, but a cute girl's name too. According to the Fount of All True Information (the Internet), Darcey means "dark" and is either Gaelic or French in origin. It also is referenced as a Norman place name, and has literary roots in Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It is a unique name, but not totally out there. Every teacher will know how to pronounce it, but she won't have 6 other girls in her class with the same name. When I yell for her at McDonald's, she'll be the only one who answers. She won't be able to find her name on a magnet or pen, which was a serious issue for me as a child. Today's kids, though, are named all sorts of wacky things so it shouldn't be too weird for her. What a great, original but not weird name!

The problem came the day of my ultrasound, when I found out that I was having a girl. All of a sudden, I wasn't able to commit to the name. I finally had the chance to name a girl, something I had thought about for 10 years since I was pregnant the first time. When you are stuck in the land of boy's names, girl-name-land looks like the most luscious place in the world! Girl's names can be unique and original, whereas a boy's name could be the source of constant ridicule and playground beatings. (That's the fear, anyway.) Did I really want to limit myself to the first name we thought of, when there's a universe of cute girl names to explore? Of course not! Darcey was relegated to the status of "Acting First Name," a placeholder until we agreed on an official name.

So now I'm 7 months pregnant, with an Acting First Name and no prospects of a replacement. DH loves the name, is fully ready to commit, but was willing to humor me. The problem comes as I'm looking for names. None of them are cute enough, they are all completely over-used, and I can list six kids with each one. I did like one name, Abigail, and I've always liked the name Elizabeth (for a middle name, I think). DH agreed to either of those names as a middle name but wasn't crazy about it for a first name. I thought maybe the problem was that I was looking on my own for names, and was afraid that if I presented a list to DH he would reject them out of hand.

But when DH and I looked at names together, the pickings were just as slim. And we had the added burden of DH needing to comment on each name. Emma -too close to Emily. Olivia, Hannah, Alexis, Ashley, Kaitlyn, Madeline, Audrey, Isabel - all kids in the neighborhood. Sophia, Isabella, and Olivia - too ethnic. Then there are the celebrities: Alyssa? Milano. Sydney? Girl from Alias. Jasmine? Aladdin. Julia? Goolia. (From The Wedding Singer) Trinity? The Matrix. Boys #1 and #3 were sitting in the kitchen, and started chanting "No!" after each name, because that's all they've heard the whole time. Also, there was the obligatory mocking. "Deborah" needed the extra "h" sound at the end enunciated, so it was pronounced "Deb-or-a-hah" which of course meant that Boys #1 and #3 now were adding a "hah" to the end of every name. Glad to see that everyone can have such a sense of humor about the whole thing.

We went through many years' worth of popular-name-lists, and tried our hand at looking up unique names based on first letter. We tried "D" just to start, and after Dalia, Daffodil, Dacia, Dalena, Dafna, and several unpronounceable ones, we realized that we weren't going to find anything that way. Darcey starts to look a lot better. We discussed the fact that we seem to shun popular names, so maybe we are looking for a name with more meaning. So what about names that mean something? Like from a book, or a historical figure, Biblical, or whatnot. We sat and thought, and got nothing. Eventually DH said, go find out if Darcey is the name of a famous queen or something, maybe that would be enough to put me over the edge.

I did check Google to make sure there are no criminals with our daughter's potential name: Apparently there's a girl raising money for Asthma, a Syracuse University student on the dean's list, and the wife of a great guy named Dennis. When I looked up my own name on Google, it took until the 5th page of results to see the real me (and no, I'm not the one asking what tattoo would look best in that spot). I appear once on page 6, and then I give up on page 10. I am not listed at all under my maiden name. Wow, I thought with all of the privacy issues that people are always whining about, I'd have a little less privacy than I expected... but sheesh, it's like I don't even exist!

So those are my rambling thoughts on naming a girl. DH wants me to commit now that I've sowed my wild oats with other girl names, but I don't know if I'm ready to settle down. Feel free to send in your suggestions, but know that they will be ridiculed and compared to everyone we've ever known.

3 comments:

Ryan said...

What Em failed to mention is the real working name for the baby currently. Since Em will not name her, she is currently known as "She who shal not be named" (A.K.A. Voldemort, or as we like to call her Voldermorticia)!

Emilayohead said...

Oh, that's right, I totally forgot to add that! And he calls her "Voldie" for short! I guess I didn't stay up late enough pondering last night.

Drake Steel said...

Hi Emily,

"especially when I come from a family of Connecticut farmers with names like Chester and Calvin (no disrespect intended)" She says with a burst of chortling... How about Fred, while you're cackling. Oh how I hated my name when I was growing up. It and my 2 brothers had the most farmer sounding names! And you know what? We were! I wish I'd have gotten over it, but I havn't. I always envied the Bobs and Johns.

I'm delighted with the thoughts that you are putting into the search for a name. Oh and I like the name Darcey too. It sounds elegant and quirky at the same time.