Choosing a name for a child is a really, really difficult task. Whatever name you give them, they’re going to have forever. So you better not screw it up. That’s a lot of pressure.
My husband and I agree that there are certain names that you can give a child that will automatically preclude him or her from ever becoming President of the United States. And then there are those that preclude him or her (but mostly her) from becoming anything but a pole dancer. As a rule, we try to avoid all of those names.
We also both agree that we don’t want to use any of the really trendy names. When I was younger, I loved the name Grace. But apparently I was born 10 years too late because before I started having babies, everyone under the sun named their child Grace, thereby eliminating it from our list of possibilities. I still love the name Grace, don’t get me wrong; I just wouldn’t want my daughter to be one of six Graces in her class.
So we crossed off the non-President, pro-stripper, trendy names. Then we discussed the names that we love. Turns out, though, that neither of us loves the names that the other person loves. So now all the names we love are also out unless one person is willing to concede to a name that they don’t love.
This is hard.
We agreed that it’s a good practice, for us, to not tell people we’ve decided on a name before the baby arrives. We did that once but then changed our minds, and it turns out that some feelings were hurt. Oops. So now whenever anyone asks if we’ve picked out names, I say no. Even if it’s a lie. Also, it’s a good way to avoid people giving you their opinion on whatever name you’ve picked out. It’s harder (although not impossible) for someone to tell you they think you’ve chosen a horrible name once they baby is already born.
One risk of not deciding 100 percent on a name ahead of time is that you could be faced with a situation wherein the baby is born, it is a girl, you can’t agree on a name, and your other two children are on their way to meet the baby. You know that a 4- and 3-year-old are going to expect the baby to have a name, so you and your husband are frantically trying to decide on one before they show up and demand answers. When this situation happens, you wind up naming the baby one name (which is a very nice name) and then calling her another name entirely because, well, you’d just had a baby and clearly your heads were not on straight. Then, at some point in the future, you will start calling that child by a third, totally unrelated name. So, yeah. Maybe we should make more of a concerted effort at settling on names ahead of time.
I’m pretty sure with Baby No. 2 my dad was convinced that because we couldn’t decide on a name, we were going to name the baby Meatball. Seeing him panic over the idea of having a grandson/daughter named Meatball was at least a little fun. And no, in the end we did not name the baby Meatball. Although we do call him Meat Man as a nickname. And sometimes just Meat, for short. But at least my dad has a more formal name to call him, if he so chooses.
Anyway, all of this is to say that I think choosing a name for a person is not easy. I like all the names we have chosen so far (although none of them were ever on my list of “Names I Love”), so I’m at least 80 percent confident that we’ll come up with another solid name choice for Baby No. 4.
And if not, Meatball is always still available.