Thursday, November 15, 2012

Choosing Names

For every expectant couple, one essential task must be done:  they must choose a name for their child.  As a young girl, like many unmarried young girls, I had the list of names I would bestow upon my children long before I was even dating.  When I got married, I expected that my husband would love my list just as much as I did.

It didn't turn out that way.

Everyone, I was to learn, had some negative name associations.  Everyone has some names that don't resonate with them and everyone has a few favorites.  The naming of our first child wasn't too difficult and even our second, our first girl, didn't take long.  After that, however, each successive little girl has become harder and harder to name.

Once there are siblings involved, the choosing of the moniker becomes even more challenging.  First of all, the names need to have some kind of symmetry.  You can't have David, Joseph, Mary and Beth and then throw in a Crystal.  You can't have Finn, Sawyer and Scarlett and then pop out, and this is Bill.  In our case, our children have very traditional names and so, even though I think Stone is a cool name, six traditional names and one cool name don't necessarily jive.

Second sibling problem:  If you thought it was hard to get two people to agree on a name, try getting the siblings to all agree!  I'm not suggesting that the children will get to decide and if Justin and I absolutely love one particular name, we'll use it regardless of the complaints filed.  However, sometimes the children have a legitimate concern that we hadn't considered.  Suddenly the name that was so cute is now too close to a swear or a body part or an old lady with no teeth.

The last week we (I) have been a bit consumed with the baby name discussion.  We will find out next week whether we are having a girl or a boy.  The boy name has been chosen for the last eleven years.  The girl name, well, we've been through the gauntlet.  Two of our top favorite names have, in the last few years, gone from obscure to top 15.  While I want people to recognize the child's name and I don't want her to have to slowly pronounce it for everyone for the rest of eternity, I also don't want to her to always have her last name initial hooked to her first name.  Isabella S.  Emma S.  Sophi S.  (These are all beautiful names, by the way!)

You know what I mean?

All of our children have two given names.  One is an important person in history.  I've always liked the idea of being named after someone good and virtuous.  Who knows but that person may become a hero to our child--someone to emulate   The second name is a family name.  Somehow all of our girls are named after either me or someone on my side of the family.  I am determined that this next child be named from my husband's family tree.

What a darling little Dutch girl!
The issue is that my husband is Dutch.  Talk about throwing in unnecessary letters!  J's and K's all over the place!  While I think some of the names are beautiful, no one in this country would ever know how to pronounce Greetje (GRAY-tya) or Aaltjien (ALL-te-yen).  But I am determined, so we kept looking.  We came up with this list of semi-finalists (in no particular order):

  • Beatrix
  • Gretchen
  • Cornelia (Corrie)
  • Brigitta
  • Gretel
  • Henriette
  • Greet/Griet

Some of these are a form of the family name and some come straight off the family tree.  We've actually agreed on a name and we are both enthusiastic about it.  We have not yet shared the chosen name with the children, though they have seen the semi-finalist list.  I do hope they like it!

And after all this, our sweet baby will probably turn out to be a boy.  Well, better to be prepared, I suppose.


  1. I have a lot of Dutch in me as well. I love it. The Welsh is just what gives me my look. I think your Dutch names you came up with are all fantastic. Good Luck. The name game can be a challenge.

  2. Emily, we have such similar taste. If George had be en a girl he would have been Greta. My sister's name is Brigitta so I would love to do some variation of that for a girl someday. Who knows. I like Britta. Good luck decided and I'll be anxious to find out what you're having:)

  3. Those are all neat names- I vote for Brigitta... like my vote counts! haha :)

    And yes, after five girls we had a difficult time coming up with another name for our sixth- we did finally, but then he was a boy! :)