If you’ve been to the altar, or come close, you’ve probably had all the usual conversations all couples have. Where to live, careers and school, children, uh…wait a minute, lets go back because this is more than a yes/no question or “I want two boys and two girls” question.
So the day comes, buns in the oven and maybe you’ve even decided to find out in advance if it’s a son or daughter. Now comes a task, a task so significant it warrants a prenuptial conversation, names.
What names do you each want? Are there any that will be off limits? Maybe you like something like Lourdes for a girl but you wife had a best friend with that name in 8th grade that stole the boy she liked. Believe me, no amount of persuading will make her change her mind.
I always liked Lourdes, knew a girl in junior and senior high with the name, no history, no attraction, just thought it was a nice name but when I suggested it to my wife I got the “are you high” look, and my wife’s part Spanish! I was expecting a better reception.
Our first child, we decided number one would be a surprise, after all she was certain it was a girl. We eventually settled on Chelsea Nichole, this was pre-Clinton so that didn’t affect the decision.Our first son was born bright and early one September morning.
She’d been so certain, so sure it was a girl we hadn’t even decided on a boys name just in case. In a rash moment I said, “we could always make him a Junior” and with no further discussion it was settled, Shawn Jr. Don’t get me wrong, I like our shared name but seems to me that we probably should have discussed it for more than 3 whole seconds. Chelsea Nichole had taken at least several conversations over a few days. I’m still a tad confused about exactly how my wife decided he should be called Shawn and I got go by our middle name.
We decided to forgo the whole surprise thing the second time around and found out we were adding a daughter. We thought about recycling Chelsea Nichole, but it had lost its zing in the intervening years. I happened to be reading a lot of Russian history at that time and suggested both Tatiana and Anastasia, my wife wasn’t crazy about the first, but did like the second. By the way, Olga was just never an option and not being Catholic, Maria just would work out either. When we discussed middle names, all of a sudden the sound of Nichole regained its prior appeal.
We had new neighbors in our apartment, immigrants from Russia. One day I saw a picture of them in the local paper so introduced myself. They said it was funny because when they lived in Russia, they were Jews. They never became Russians until they arrived in the United States. I mentioned that we were expecting and had chosen the name Anastasia and that since I had been reading about the Romanovs’, wondered what the correct Russian spelling would be. Anastasia became Anastasiya, still pronounced the same despite peoples numerous attempts to exotic it up with their bizarre pronunciations (ana-sta-Z-uh).
Several years later our third child was on his way. My wife said, “You chose the first twos’ names, I get this one”. I pushed hard for a family name. We had James, Ovidio, Daniel, Morton and others. Her brother is Daniel, but so is my father so that was out, sorry bro. She argued that Morton, my grandfather, sounded like some old guy. I retorted that he’d be a man for most of his life and you couldn’t discard a name because of childhood. Ovidio, her great grandfather that I actually suggested was out because even he hated it and went by Ernie, “How about Ernest?”, it wasn’t his actual name.
In the end she liked Wyatt, we lived in Arizona, so I asked if his middle name could be James, after the grandfather I remembered loving so much before he passed away when I was 3, yes. If Wyatt James doesn’t sound like an Arizona name, I don’t know what would.
So the whole point here is, once the “do you want kids” question is answered in the affirmative seems to me like the list of potential names should be discussed right then and there, People decide not to get married after all for all sorts of reasons. Better to know if your potential spouse had some severe psychological disorder that only manifests itself in the selection of names, right? I jokingly suggested Pteranodon, like the winged dinosaur, “We’ll call him Terry, Randy, Donnie…” Not even a smile to acknowledge my joke.
As it was she had to put up with months of us referring to Wyatt by every other W name we could conjure up, Winton, Wayland, Wilson, Winslow…the only one we ever used was when he cried, then we referred to him as “Wailin’ Wayland.” rather than “Quiet Wyatt.”
Americus is fine…in a movie, but it might not be your cup of tea in real life. Your friends, family and coworkers might say “You named the baby what???” This as they now give you the “are you high?” look.
For heavens sake, Bobby, Johnny, Billy, Suzie…many of these names that either end with a “y” or an “ie”, these are NOT real names folks, they’re nicknames. Remember, you poor Billy never ever gets to outgrow his childhood nickname if you give it to him, And please, please I beg you, do not give you daughters names that sound like they’re in or actually from porno movies. I will not recite the list here.
Respect these people and maybe they won’t put you in some run down home when the tables are turned. By the way, I did finally get to use Pteranodon, shortened to Pteran, for a dog we had. Nobody could pronounce it correctly either!