Friday, February 27, 2009

What's in a name?

When I found out I was preggo one of the first things I did was go out and grab myself a baby name book.  I was so excited to talk about names.  I would spend hours with my name books and a highlighter.  It was like I was back in middle school.  I would surround myself with sheets of paper, lovingly writing out names over and over.  The only thing missing was my New Kids on the Block Trapper Keeper.  Full names, just the first, the first and the middle together.  I would write notes to the names, just to see how it looked in a sentence.  I would imagine my little one writing their names at the top of a spelling test, on an art project.  I was in love with the naming process.  I was in love, but at the same time this was a heavy responsibility- naming someone.  They are going to have that name for the rest of their lives!  I will say there was a wee bit of headiness that went along with it too. Someone should have told me that would be the last thing I would be able to control about the baby.   
Now, I am a girl who likes an unusual name.  My own name, while not unusual by any means, does have a semi-unusual spelling.  Growing up as a kid there was no getting "Kari" on a personalized key chain.  Of course looking back I am not sure why I wanted said key chain.  But I digress.  My point is when I started the naming process with my son I "tried on" several names.  I would go around for weeks at a time calling the little guy something new.  All of them unusual names and from this I learned a very important lesson.  Don't tell anyone your baby name unless you want to come face to face with the stupidest comments you will ever hear coming out of strangers, your friends, your loved ones, your family, or the mailman's mouth!  I mean it.  If I were you I wouldn't even tell your family members.  People will say the most awful things and not even realize they are being offensive.  It is amazing.
When people find out what you are having or even that you are pregnant they will inevitably say "have you thought of any names?"  Sure, it is the next logical question after "when are you due?"  And I get it, they want to know who this little person is going to be.  What I don't get is why they feel it is okay to tell you how stupid or ugly or unusual (note- this is the same as stupid when they have a pinched look on their face while saying it) your baby name is right to your face.  I mean, when they walk into a meeting at work and someone introduces their coworker- "So and So I would like you to meet my friend Wynter (one of the "strange" names I tried on for my son)."  Do you look at the person and say "Uggh, Wynter?? Really??  Wynter?"  NO!! So why on earth would you look at a pregnant, highly emotional woman, (one who could possibly bite your head off, pour a concrete slab over your insensitive body and lie straight faced to the police without blinking an eye) and say "Ugghh"  about her baby name?
I wonder.  Do people think it is okay because the name is not set in stone?  Do they think that because the baby is not here, that it is not real yet?  Better give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are not thinking at all.  Yes, better to look at their pinched faces and say "Yup, Maddox (insert your baby name here).  Uggghh, right?  But you know we really thought that torturing him with a unusual name was the way to go."  Then tuck your napkin into the front of your shirt and bite their head off.