A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

Roger wrote an interesting post the other day about the process by which he and his wife arrived at their daughter’s name (“Lydia”, which is, by the way, a perfectly lovely name). A taste:

*No naming after any family member, living or dead. I want her to have her own identity. And I didn’t want, “Oh, you named her after Aunt Hortense!” We’ll call her Little Horty!” No, you won’t.

Actually, I would have considered Charlotte, after my great aunt Charlotte, who had died a couple years earlier, truth to tell. And my mother was living in Charlotte, NC; we referred to her, my late father, my baby sister and her daughter as the Charlotte Greens. But The Wife wanted to consider Ann, which is her middle name and her mother’s first name; so I nixed both names.

*No unisex names: Terry, Madison, Lynn, e.g.

This comes directly from the fact that my father AND my sister were both named Leslie. Confusion ensued, and often at my expense. Since my father had a child named Leslie, it was ASSUMED it was his ONLY son, i.e., me. “Hey, little Les,” one guy from church constantly called me. “That’s NOT my name,” I’d mutter under my breath (but never aloud, for that would have been considered rude.)

*It had to have two or more syllables, to balance off the shortness of Green.

That was my other objection to Ann.

This got me to thinking about our own process when The Daughter was born. Basically, we just kind of called out names until we arrived at a first name that we both liked (The Wife liked it more than I did, but I still liked it), and then I basically got to choose the middle name. When it got to be Little Quinn’s turn to be named, we decided to use one of the names we had rejected for The Daughter, plus a middle name that The Wife liked. And later on, we had a lovely name chosen (Fiona) for the girl who was, alas, born too early to live. About the only ‘rule’ we employed, and we didn’t even arrive at this until we were trying for Quinn, that we wanted a five-letter name, since we all have five-letter names. Silly, maybe, but hey — we look for connections, don’t we?

So, folks, what went into your naming processes, whether for kids or cats or goldfish?

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7 Responses to A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

  1. Kal says:

    My Dad had a weird habit of giving terrible animal names to pets that stuck…Fluffy, Stretchie, and of course, the legendary, Stinky. Beautiful Calico cat and he caller her Stinkie. Or Girlie which was what I prefered. I want to give a daughter a cool name so that when she rides a dinosaur on Mars people will remember her.

  2. Kerry says:

    Finn was named for my dad, Finbarr. I couldn't pull the trigger on the full-on "Finbarr" because it seemed like a lot to thrust onto a tiny baby. And because my dad used to get mail addressed to "Sinbad" and "Figbar." However, today, Finn knows THREE other kids named "Finn" and TWO other kids named "Finbarr." Dammit.

    Our other kid, Ian, was named by his brother: "His name is Ian, because it's easy to spell." I wanted him to be Cormac, but Ian it was.

  3. Roger Owen Green says:

    You realize, of course, that the rules, and they were more mine than my wife's, would have eliminated Kelly as well.

    Whereas naming animals is more like she looks like a Doris or Peter. When we next get a cat, the Daughter will name him or her or them.

  4. Lynn says:

    My husband insisted that our kids names be easy to spell, which was okay with me; I didn't want anything too odd either, so both our kids names first names have four letters and their middle names are four and five letters. We never did settle on a name for a girl so it's a good thing we have only boys, I guess. (The name Quinn was briefly discussed.)

    We are not very good at naming cats. We had a cat that our youngest son (7 at the time) named Spot because she looked like Data's cat. Later we named another cat Kes because I liked it and it's a nice short name. Those cats both had long lives so we decided that Star Trek names are good luck and we named another cat Dax but apparently there are no Star Trek fans at our vet's because they all think it's a weird name. Our other cat is named Three because at the time we already had two cats. Next time I really have to try harder to come up with a good cat name that won't be embarrassing at the vet's office.

  5. Aaron Johnson says:

    We basically made a list of boy names, and girl names, and narrowed them down. Any that stayed on the list went through a rigorous process of saying out loud all of the possible permutations of the kid's potential name/nickname combinations. For instance, one of my initial choices for a boy's name was Harrison (more for the Beatle than the actor). This was one of the leading candidates at first, but when we said "Harry Johnson" out loud, "Harrison" got crossed off.

    In the end we were down to two possible names for a girl, my favorite, and Krista's favorite, and decided to call it on the spot if it was a girl. If it was a boy, the choice would have been harder, as we hadn't narrowed it down much by the time Krista asked for the epidural. When the kid arrived I said "I think it's Elsa" Krista said "I think you're right," and one of the nurses, who had been listening to the name discussion throughout our stay exclaimed "Yes!"

    Interesting, now that I'm writing this, that one of our favorite names for a boy was Harrison, and we came very, very, very close to having a dog named Indiana.

  6. Mark--> says:

    I name my goldfish consecutively after letters of the Greek alphabet. I'm currently up to Kappa.

    This is not recommended for naming children.

  7. Michael May says:

    My son was easy. I'm a Junior, so we always going to be the III. My wife was totally on board and we never needed a real discussion about it.

    If he'd been a girl, however, we were running into problems. I wanted a literary name; Diane wanted a name connected to a friend or family member. We never did get that straightened out, but fortunately, we didn't end up needing to.

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