Column: Naming baby means a battle on the homefront


So what’s in a name?

As I’ve recently come to find out – a lot.

Like most women, I’ve had a list in my head of the names of my future children since I used those same names for my Cabbage Patch Kids. It never crossed my mind that my future spouse might not be as enthusiastic about a particular name as I had always been, or that a name I held near and dear would suddenly sound odd when there was actually a prospective child to take that name on.

This subject has come up in conversation between my husband and myself every so often in the last few years, and it was never a touchy subject. One of us would simply throw out some horrible name that we had heard who knows where, and the other would just smile, wide-eyed, and nod.

Ever since the day I saw those two pink lines, however, this conversation has taken on a dramatically different tone.

It started off as fun, kind of like playing house. We’d both come home and throw out whatever had been at the top of the office poll for the day.

“What do you think? Isn’t that cute? Who wouldn’t want to be named Brick?”

However, as my belly began to grow and the ultrasounds showed us that yes, there is an actual person in there, the situation started to become a little more urgent.

We have books on names. We know all the good Web sites that list names. We take polls at parties and family gatherings. We read movie credits. I scan the names on the back of the books at the library. Believe me, this is really only the tip of the iceberg. It’s an obsession.

Everyone wants a piece of it. It’s not just between my husband and I. We get e-mails and phone calls at all hours from friends and relatives who “just heard the cutest/greatest/most unique” name.

Also, when thinking of a name for your child, you suddenly remember the name of every person you have ever met in your entire life. If you can think of one negative thing about that person, then their name is off the list. Anyone that ever smelled funny, looked weird, talked a lot, failed a test, couldn’t sing or danced badly must have cursed their name forever.

“What about Tommy?”

“Nope, when I was in kindergarten, I knew a kid named Tommy and he picked his nose.”

Enough said. Tommy’s off the list. Certainly, if we name our child Tommy, he will grow up to be a habitual public nose picker.

I thought things would become easier when we found out the gender of the baby. Surely, when the list of possibilities is divided in half, this process will be simpler. When the list is endless, however, no amount of dividing really helps.

I thought we would at least wait until we left the doctor’s office before we began the battle, but it didn’t work out that way. Not 30 seconds after the ultrasound tech said those magical words, “It’s a girl!” came the inevitable question, “Do you have any names?”

The fact that we both blurted out something different was probably her first clue that this was a sore subject.

I am still stubbornly clinging to a name that I have loved dearly for years and years (and no, I won’t say what it is, all you baby name-stealers out there).

My husband, on the other hand, isn’t so enamored with it.

Much like I haven’t been the biggest fan of some his number one picks.

To his credit, however, he has currently latched on to a name that I actually picked out (nope, not telling this one either). Of course it was during a moment when I was temporarily willing to forgo the name of my dreams, which, now that I know the gender for sure, I’m willing to fight for.

We’ve passed the half-way point in the pregnancy and the situation is growing dire. We have both grown tired of referring the my belly as “it,” “she” or “little girl,” so he uses his name and I use mine. The poor kid is going to have a complex before she even gets here.

So now I’m bringing out the big guns. I’m beginning to bargain. Making all sorts of promises, if I can just name our baby girl what I so desperately want to. I think that’s what he’s been holding out for all along.

He hasn’t agreed yet, but I can tell he’s close.

Wish me luck.

Whitney Wilson Coy is editor of the Westside Messenger.



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