Cheri at Idle Chatter was answering some quiz. One question was: “What are your favorite boy/girl baby names?” Fact is that, prior to my wife getting pregnant ten years ago this coming summer, I hadn’t given it much thought. I suppose some people fantasize about having children and make lists. For me, though, I was 50, hadn’t had a child, might not have a child, so it wasn’t anything I really considered.
As it turned out, it became more about rules, primarily my rules, negative rules, which Carol was not aware of. Heck, *I* wasn’t aware of my naming rules. When you’ve never had a child, naming is more a conceptual thing, as it were.
So the rules were:
*No name in the top 10 in the Social Security list of most popular names for the most recent year available, which for us was 2002.
There will be enough Emmas in her kindergarten class, though Emma IS a lovely name.
Actually, the names we did like, besides Olivia, were not in the Top 10 in 2002, from which we would have been deciding, but are now:
Sophia, not incidentally, is the name of the American Girl doll the Daughter got for Christmas that sort of looks like her.
*No naming after any family member, living or dead. I want her to have her own identity. And I didn’t want, “Oh, you named her after Aunt Hortense!” We’ll call her Little Horty!” No, you won’t.
Actually, I would have considered Charlotte, after my great aunt Charlotte, who had died a couple years earlier, truth to tell. And my mother was living in Charlotte, NC; we referred to her, my late father, my baby sister and her daughter as the Charlotte Greens. But The Wife wanted to consider Ann, which is her middle name and her mother’s first name; so I nixed both names.
*No unisex names: Terry, Madison, Lynn, e.g.
This comes directly from the fact that my father AND my sister were both named Leslie. Confusion ensued, and often at my expense. Since my father had a child named Leslie, it was ASSUMED it was his ONLY son, i.e., me. “Hey, little Les,” one guy from church constantly called me. “That’s NOT my name,” I’d mutter under my breath (but never aloud, for that would have been considered rude.)
*It had to have two or more syllables, to balance off the shortness of Green.
That was my other objection to Ann.
*No names that easily went to the nickname. Elizabeth is in the top 10 anyway, and which variation (Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Betty, Betsy, or several others) would ensued? No thanks.
Elizabeth is beautiful. It’s my mother’s middle name, and also the middle name of my second niece.
*It should have a recognizable spelling. So, by definition, no really weird names.
While a few people have girls named Lidia – not in the Top 1000 names over the past decade – most have opted for the more traditional option.
Coincidentally, one of my friends adopted a daughter named Lidia; Lydia and Lidia went to preschool together for a year, and now are in the same Sunday school class.
*No names beginning and ending with A.
This is a practical consideration. I have a niece named Alexandria. Carol has nieces named Adrianna and Alexa. One of Carol’s best friends has a daughter named Ariana. And there are several others. Having but one child, I didn’t want to run through a litany before I found hers.
So, Lydia it was, named in part after a woman in the book of Acts, in the New Testament, who was rich even to put up the apostle Paul and this cohorts. It was only later that a friend pointed out that the church I attended as a child, Trinity A.M.E. Zion, was on the corner of Lydia and Oak, and that I walked down Lydia Street every day on my way to school. Obviously, I knew this to be factually true, but never crossed my consciousness.
Now, if we had had another girl, I have no idea WHAT we would have named her. And if we had a boy, there was never a real settling on a name. My wife says I agreed to something – I’m blocking on it – that when she said it later, I said, “Really? No way.”
If Lydia had been a boy, his name would probably still be Male Child Green.
My church is celebrating its 250th birthday this year, and in particular, tomorrow. The Daughter participated at the unveiling of the refurbished diorama, with the directive to fix it up 50 years from now…
[This is a rewrite of something I posted my very first month of blogging, in May 2005.]