Naming a Baby, and Other Top-Secret Tasks
I’ve read through two baby-naming books and combed through dozens of websites, and I’m amazed at the sheer volume of names out there. It’s even more amazing how quickly I can dismiss each one of them.
This one’s too boring. That one’s too different. That one’s too popular. This one’s too Ivy League. I started joking, kind of, that my husband and I were going to refer to our son as “Boy.”
Because we didn’t start out with a name in mind, we invited our loved ones to share their ideas with us. That led to all manner of ridiculousness, from names purposely selected for their ability to rhyme with our surname, to hyphenated first names that hearkened back to Appalachian roots, to names only the most elite boarding school-bound could love.
I shot them all down with increasing frustration.
Before I knew the sex of the baby, I had a rather lengthy list of girls’ names and a pathetically short list of boys’ names. I shared my top girl name with my husband’s family one evening, confident that everyone would love the name as much as I did. Wrong. One person’s face scrunched up as if she’d smelled something decaying.
I decided at that moment that once we finally chose a name, we would keep it a secret until the ink was dry on the birth certificate. I didn’t want to hear anyone’s opinions anymore. But to be fair, this resolution meant that I needed to apply it across the board. No one could know what we were naming our baby.
Last week we finally chose a name. It’s the Goldilocks-just-right name for us, and we’re keeping it locked down as if it were top secret because we know that not everyone will be so enamored with it. This vow of silence is making our families slightly crazy. When they’ve asked us if we’ve chosen a name, we’ve come up with all sorts of names, including Kaleidescope Wonderpants and Monty Hijinx. They’ve stopped asking.
With T minus two months until D-Day to go, I still have moments of anxiety when I wonder if the name we’ve chosen is the right name. I’m trying to console myself with the fact that his name will be perfectly suited to him because he will make it his own. As a poet once wrote:
“while they named the story / it is his to write.”