What's In A Name?

As a parent, one of the tasks that I took most seriously was choosing a name for my sons because it's something that they'll have to carry for the rest of their lives. (I do have to say that the naming process was an exercise in patience, since Big C used every session to needle me, just because he could.) After our gender determination ultrasound, I immediately scoured baby name books and pored over internet sites to look for inspiration and tips on how to name a baby.

So what did we end up with?

All the names are very masculine and strong-sounding, very appropriate for the big strapping boys I'm sure they'll be (based on family trends). The two names we chose for G, our eldest son, means "strength of God" and "belonging to the Lord". He was also named after the patron saint for hopeful mothers. It's a name that fits him well, since we didn't have much time with G. Our strong little boy now belongs with the angels, watching over his hopeful mother.

Our second son, J, has a pretty common first name, so we chose a more unusual middle name for him, as an alternative he can use if he ends up with 5 classmates with the same name. I was initially hesitant to use one of the names because it's most associated with the biblical character who took the place of his older brother, and I didn't want J to feel that he was in any way a replacement for G. We only decided to use the name when I found an alternate meaning, which was "may God protect". His middle name means "prudent", a trait or virtue Big C and I really want him to have as a person.

Downside to the name we chose for J? He was born in the time when a very popular book and movie franchise came out, so people would constantly ask us if we were fans. Answer is no, by the way.

And for our youngest? We chose his middle name first, because it was an automatic choice for me. See, I've often felt that in the same way G was taken so suddenly from us, Little C was an unexpected blessing that completed our little family, so the only name I could think of giving him meant "gift from God". The name is one that is easily mangled in terms of pronunciation though, so we're using it as a middle name. His first name means "faithful or loyal". Like big brother J, we gave him a name that stands for a value or trait we want him to have. We want our Little C to be faithful to his family, principles, beliefs and his self.

Strangely, we ended up with names that were very traditional, mostly biblical in origin. A bit surprising, considering that  I'm not very religious. Out of the six names we've chosen for our kids, five of them are based on religious figures, one archangel, two saints, and two prominent biblical characters. Good thing is, we chose classic, non-trendy names that will still sound good twenty, thirty years from now. Best thing of all, we chose names that reflected how we felt about our children and our intentions for them as parents.

Some of the things we kept in mind when choosing names for our sons:

  1. Choose a name that will work whether your child chooses to be a free-spirited artist or a strict Supreme Court judge. In the same vein, be wary of names that are too trendy. They are called trendy for a reason; in a few years they won't be anymore.
  2. Check what your initials spell out. It can be a beautiful tribute to a family member (my cousin's initials spell P.A.T., her mom's nickname), or it can be the subject of jokes when your child is at school (I actually know a kid whose initials spell A.S.S. Seriously.).
  3. Sound the names out. Will they be likely to be mispronounced? In the Philippines, bet on it. If you can butcher it, someone will and your kids may get teased. My middle name was always mispronounced by teachers and it always annoyed me. Do they sound ridiculous? Will your child get teased about his name? In my case, the mispronunciations became grounds for horrible nicknames from my peers. Believe me, if you can make fun of the name, chances are, someone else will too.
  4. While unique names are nice, check to see if you're making your kid's name too unique. They may be constantly asked to repeat themselves, spell it out then have people get it wrong anyways. Big C always has a problem when people ask for his name. If the person is not likely to be a significant part of his life, i.e. Starbucks baristas, he just says his name is Mike to simplify things.
  5. People will sometimes always have comments about the name you choose for your child. Some will like it, some will hate it. In these cases, I'd advise keeping the name to yourselves, and just announcing it when the baby's here and it's a done deal. We only announced the names we chose when we were finally set on them and we felt we I could be oblivious to snarky comments.
  6. If you're undecided, some parents waver between two or three names and wait to meet their child before deciding on a name. 
Good luck with the baby name game, mommies! Happy day to you all! :-)


Chris said...

it is my first visit here :)

anyway, my kids names are not too common, short and we love their meanings.

quakermommy said...

Hi Christine! I hope you enjoyed the posts and keep checking back in for new ones. :)

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