What’s in a Name?

First, let me state that neither Andy nor I have any ill-will towards our parents for the names that were given to us…

Naming a child is complicated.  You are most likely giving something to someone that they will keep for life.  And if it’s a boy, the last name will remain as well.  A girl may get married and decide to change her last name and that’s obviously out of your control.  I always find it fascinating to hear why a name was picked.  Some people probably over think the process…and Andy and I are probably included with those people!

Before Andy and I even got married the naming discussion came up at some point.  We (he may or may not remember this) actually agreed that whatever we named our kid(s), our goal would be to name him/her whatever we planned to call him/her.  I was named Patricia Ann at birth and he was named Michael Andrew.  We have both spent our lives correcting people when they assume our shortened names – we are Tricia & Andy.  Just the other day we were “Pat & Mike”.  No thanks. 

Other things we now also take into consideration – initials, possible nicknames, meaning, saying it out loud and popularity. 

Initials – Andy and I happen to formally be “MAW” and “PAW”.  The mortgage lenders have the most fun with this one since you have to initial EVERY page of a mortgage or refinance document.  And it’s even funnier to them since he’s “MAW” and I’m “PAW”.  Needless to say, we don’t have much monogrammed.  We had a few baby names leave the list when we discovered that the initials would be COW or POW.

Possible Nicknames – Patricia Bucher (rhyme it with the card game euchre) easily turned into “Patty Puker” in grade school.  Nice one and enough said.  (It did rule out “Oscar” – due to the grouch or the wiener).

Meaning – Neither one of us were dead-set about carrying on a name or using a family name.  (So if this one’s a boy…it will not be Andy Jr.)  However, my mom’s maiden name did not get carried forward.  My uncle’s only child is a girl.  And I loved my Grandma Dot.  I enjoyed spending time with her, listening to her stories, etc.  So we chose to use her last name as our first child’s middle name – girl or boy.  So Stella will live with that choice her whole life.  I hope she comes to appreciate it some day when we explain the meaning behind it.  “Charlotte Amelia” had no specific family connection.  There is a “Charlotte” on my side of the family (my grandma’s sister), but unfortunately, I did not know her well.  And I did babysit for an “Amelia” who I enjoyed very much.  So the names have just always stuck with me.   
Saying it Out Loud – What do I mean by this?  In college I babysat for a “Jenna” and her younger sister “Talia”.  They were in grade school at the time and the first night I was there they asked me…”What do you get when you put our names together??”  Wow.  That was an eye-opener.  So we’ve practiced saying our kids names together.  If Charlotte was a boy, she would have been “Rhett”.  But now it’s not on the list because I think it ends too much like “Charlotte” – see, over thinking! 

Popularity – One of our goals is for the name we choose to NOT be in the social security top 100 baby name list or at least be towards the top if we really love it.  When we chose Stella in 2007 it was #244 and last year Stella was #126 – gaining popularity quickly = BUMMER.  Charlotte was #87 when we picked it in 2008 and now the 2009 data shows it is #68.  In my water aerobics class TWO of the FOUR women are using our names.  The first woman told me her top choices were “Charlotte first, and then Stella, and what are your daughters names?” and then Saturday another woman showed up and said she was naming her daughter Stella.  So much for lack of popularity!  The name “Stella” showed up in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog shortly after we had her.  I was thrilled that it was on a pattern that was hard to read the name!  I wanted it kept a secret.  And now I’ve seen “Charlotte” in the latest catalog…another BUMMER. 

So we have chosen our name for baby #3.  The boy name has changed each pregnancy.  The girl name is one I love.  We always chose right away and stuck with the same first name throughout each pregnancy.  This time the girl’s middle name changed half-way through.  We don’t share the name until the baby is born.  And I actually have had a few people say afterwards, “Glad you didn’t tell me it was going to be Stella…not sure I would have liked it.”

Does our over-thinking solve everything that could happen with our intentions?  Of course not.  Stella and Charlotte are gaining popularity.  People always scream “STELLA!”, but I never saw that movie.  Stella thought her full name was “Stella Bella” until recently.  People assume we picked family names since they are both old-fashion.  Some people ask, “Do you call her Charlie?”  And Stella is already confused about how to spell “Charlotte”…and we never even considered that!  Charlotte may hate us for it when she’s trying to learn it.  And could we have given her a longer first and middle name?  And I didn’t think so many people would really “CAW” like a bird over her initials!

Hints on baby #3…I will say that the boy name we picked is more popular – falls in the top 100, but towards the top again like Charlotte was and gaining popularity.  However, our girl name has been ranking in the 800-900 range for popularity!  But it’s not too far out there…I’ve heard it locally 2-3 times in the past few months.  So it’s nothing like Apple or Scout… And there is a bit of meaning to both middle names.  So, stay tuned…you should find out in less than 2 weeks!

How did you choose your names?  I know people have their specific reasons, fess up!

One Response to What’s in a Name?

  1. I’m just reading this and I really could have written it. My husband goes by his middle name so that was out. I wanted to name our daughter Harper, but we realized her initials would be HO. Just couldn’t do it. I’m curious. . .what was the girl’s name or are you holding onto it for a #4?

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