For a while there I really did think that Kristin was going to let me name our daughter Dagmar. Then I realized she was just being sarcastic. Funny how wanting something so much can make you ignore subtle hints that you’re not going to get it. I also liked the name Reagrin, but again, that one was nixed. Alas.
[begin philosophical rambling] Picking a name feels a little like being one of those fairies in Sleeping Beauty: you're bestowing a gift on a child, one that feels like it has consequences on a child's life-path and qualities. When you say does this child looks like a Mary, say, or Jefferson, what you're really wondering is if this child could embody the qualities that such a name brings to mind. A name becomes a submerged statement of intent. A wish. So, are you going to be one of the twelve good fairies, or are you the thirteenth -bad- fairy?* What's in a name? A destiny, a relationship, a life-long relationship with a therapist? [end philosophical rambling]
Kristin and I had been throwing out baby names from the time we began active planning. Perhaps even longer. From the beginning we both liked Julia. Kristin suggested the name because she has an aunt named Julia. I liked it because besides being a pretty name I really like the nickname Jules. I’m hoping that Julia will turn into an edgy, smart-assed little punk of a kid so I can get away with calling her that. I can just see it now: she’ll walk in with a sneer and toss all her belongings on the floor by the door before retreating to her bedroom, and I’ll call out from the couch, “Hey, Jules, get yer ass in here and pick up yer stuff, and while yer at it, get me a beer whywontcha?” and then she’ll ignore me and when I holler again she’ll come storming out and tell me off and then we’ll both break into laughter and she’ll pick up her stuff and then we’ll make dinner together and maybe even cookies. Do you think that’s a realistic expectation?
Other names we liked were Olivia and Louisa and Claire and Nadia. HOWEVER, we told my mother that we were going to give our girl-child her name as a middle name (which besides tickling my mother pink also had the delightful effect of royally pissing off Sister-in-Law the Maybe), so that automatically eliminated Claire and Nadia (my mother’s name is Annette -- say Claire/Nadia a few times paired with the name Annette and see if you can figure out why those names were eliminated) as well as Louisa, since Louise is my mother’s middle name – we didn’t want to make our child a reverse of my mother. Olivia was hard. We called our girl-fetus Olivia for several months. In fact, we called our fetus Olivia even before we found out it was a girl. But in the end the popularity of the name Olivia convinced us that we didn’t want to use that name (I know, Julia isn’t much less popular, but still, 35th as opposed to 4th is enough of a difference that we felt more comfortable with Julia)PLUS, about a month before we hit term, we spent a weekend being HAUNTED by Olivias. And they all had harrassed parents screetching at them: O.LIV.ia! Stop running around. OLIVIA get in the car! Olivia put the cat down. OOOOOOOOLLLLIIIIIIVVVVVIIIIIIAAAAAA put your pants back on! So that by the end of the weekend the name was totally ruined for us. We couldn't say the name without echos of those parents pushing their way into our consciousness. If you've got a child named Olivia, please know that I'm not talking about you or your daughter, and also please know that we both still LOVE the name, we just couldn't use it any more after that weekend. That left Julia as a possibility. But when we stopped calling the fetus Olivia, and opened the name game up again, suddenly Paige cropped into the picture. And now we started bickering. So we did what any other sane couple would do when faced with such a dilemma: we went to Barnes & Noble and looked at numerology books and did the numbers on the final two names. According to numerology (and who knows if this is right or not, so if your name is Paige don’t kill me or anything) someone named Paige would turn into a spineless, whiney people-pleaser, while Julia would become a self-possessed perfectionist (but not crazy over perfection) that is uber-nice to others and a grace to the world. And when we thought about it that pretty much described everyone we knew in person that had the name Julie or Julia. Not that we knew many, but it just seemed that we always liked people with that name. And we definitely didn’t feel like we could handle a Paige. And that’s how we made our decision.
As for a boy… Kristin would like to try for a boy the next time around. I am a little leery of engaging in the Epic Struggle to Come Up with a Boy’s Name That We Both Like again. We began engaging in the Epic Struggle and then joyfully left off once we found out we were expecting a girl. The problem is all Kristin’s fault (as I’m sure you all already knew) she doesn’t like any of the names I like. And all the names she suggests are lame. She has vetoed Svend as a first name, but allows that we can consider it as a middle name. I like her mother’s maiden name as a first name, but she doesn’t like it. I suggested Ingo but she said that was just plain wrong. We had decided that if the last pregnancy was a boy we would name him Julian (because it’s the male version of Julia, get it?) We would have decided to name a boy Oliver, but we already named our dog Oliver. So, our only boy name currently in our queue is… Blaise. We both like Blaise. It sounds like a superhero’s name. He would always have Halloween Costume, he could go as The Blaze! So I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe something will change, maybe she’ll decide that my ideas aren’t all lame (what’s so wrong with Quentin or Alastair or Ingo?) or maybe I’ll develop amnesia and forget that I hate most of her suggestions (Kofi was one, and there was another one from Indonesia that I can’t remember right now). So there you have it. If you have any negative associations with or opinions about the name Blaise, do not, I repeat DO NOT, leave them in the comment section. Lord help me if you ruin that name for us I will have to open up a can on your ass.
* then again, there's the opinion that the gifts of the first 12 fairies aren't so lovely to be "gifted" with either -- such a burden to be forced to be anything, even if those qualities are "objectively" desireable.