So the wife is finally pregnant. At last. After several long years of trying, and almost as many years of worrying that it might not ever happen for us, it finally has, and via natural processes! We had spent a pretty penny on fertility treatments, and were about to take them to the next level, but now we don’t have to. What a relief. We found out about 3 months ago, on my wife’s birthday. Hooray!
It’s kind of a funny story: For years my wife has struggled with health problems, some of which mimic the signs of pregnancy. On March 21, she took a half-dozen pregnancy tests, all of which confirmed she was pregnant, though she initially refused to believe it. (She had recently taken some other tests that had all come back negative). We had reason to believe we were a few weeks along. So we went in for an ultrasound, and sure enough, there was the baby. Except it was MUCH bigger than we expected. Turns out we were almost 5 MONTHS along. Amazing. We hadn’t correctly interpreted the signs. And so much for all those worries about whether we’d make it through the first trimester. For all practical purposes, there was no first trimester! Things have gone smoothly since then, and hopefully will continue to do so until my wife’s due date of August 20, or thereabouts.
By the way, it’s a girl.
Alas, all is not well in Zion. My wife and I cannot agree on what to name our daughter. We already had a boy’s name picked out, in the event that we had one, but picking a girl’s name has been trickier. And it’s not because we can’t think of any names. Stina likes Helena, Madeline, Elise. Meanwhile, I’ve got lots of ideas too: Medusa, Mordred, Bathsheeba, Beelze-babe, Red Sonja, Xena Warrior Princess. Fabulous choices, to be sure, but the wife is a stick-in-the-mud. I’ve tried to sway her, but she just won’t listen to reason. Even when I put my arm to the square and use my best “priesthood voice.” Sigh.
As the wife and I continue our negotiations on this issue, I have had occasion to ponder the various criteria I might employ in choosing baby names, or at least in excluding certain choices. Here are some of the criteria that I think matter to me:
1. The name should not be too common. In highschool, there were 11 Jennifers in my grade (out of 250 students). Eleven! I guess “Jennifer” was really, really trendy in the early 1970s. I would like my daughter to have a name that she doesn’t share with 50 million of her girlfriends.
2. The name should not be hard to spell. Seriously, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I can’t imagine the horror of having to spell your name out for everyone you meet for your entire life. Oh wait … yes I can! My name is “Aaron.” You would think this would be easy to spell. You’d be wrong. Nobody can do it! I mean, for crying out loud, it’s a Biblical name! There are variant spellings, but mine is by far the most common! All the celebrities named Aaron — Aaron Spelling, Aaron Eckhart, Hank Aaron, the other Aaron Brown — spell it just like I do! Nonetheless, a week never goes by that some moron doesn’t ask me if I spell it “E-R-I-N.” (“Yes,” I’ve taken to replying. “Like Erin Grey from Silver Spoons. I’m a woman too, don’t you know. And a real “hottie,” if I do say so myself.”)
I refuse to intentionally subject my daughter to this torture. Of course, I couldn’t prevent some idiot from misspelling “Jane” or “Liz” if they were so inclined, but I can still use my best efforts to minimize the chances of this.
3. No Book of Mormon Names. My apologies to all our readers named Nephi, but I don’t want my daughter sharing her name with some po-dunk town in the Wasatch Front. Of course, there aren’t exactly a lot of female names in the Book of Mormon to choose from, so maybe the point is moot.
4. No Pretentious “Euro”-names. My wife spent her highschool years in Berlin. Her ancestry is German and Danish. Thus, she’s always trotting out these names I’ve never heard of, that supposedly have to be pronounced a certain way or you sound like a “dumb American.” No thanks. I’m not European, and I don’t aspire to be. Furthermore, I’ve always thought there was something a little low-class and trashy about Americans with Euro-fetishes. Kind of pathetic. So no.
5. What about family names? I have mixed feelings about this. There aren’t any names in my family that I like all that much. My geneology is boringly British, and nothing really sticks out. If I were to discover something really cool, I might use it, but if I have to go looking to discover it, then it must not mean much to me, so why use it? My dad’s middle name is “Quvist.” (Don’t ask; and yes, I spelled that right). That’s definitely original. Alas, not in a good way.
6. The name must sound good with “Brown.” This makes things hard. Just admit it … “Brown” is a really boring last name, isn’t it? I sure think so. Nothing sounds that good with “Brown.” Maybe “Unsinkable Molly” or “Downtown Julie,” but those are taken. (My wife once suggested “Eva,” but that would virtually guarantee her future husband being teased with “Adolf”). I’m thinking that the name should probably have 3 syllables, so as to offset the bland, monosyllabic last name.
What do you all think? Help me name my daughter, please. If you were having a daughter, what would you name her? Give me ideas. And I’d be interested in hearing the criteria that you would employ (or have employed) in narrowing down your own list of baby names.