Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Have You Picked a Name Yet?

"Congratulations! That's great news. So, have you thought about a name?"

A name? Nope. Haven't given it a second thought. You mean we actually have to give the baby a name? Come on, my wife is already carrying this baby around for nine months, then giving birth. Then we have to feed it, clothe it, give it a place to live, bathe it, and change its dirty diapers. Can't this baby do anything on its own? Let him pick his own name!

When you tell someone you are expecting a child, there are generally two questions that are asked:

1. Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?
2. Have you picked out a name?

In today's world of gender-neutral restrooms, that first question is running the risk of being irrelevant for some people. "Girl? Boy? It doesn't really matter. We're going to let our children decide their own gender at age 18."

And that leaves the naming of the child one of the last areas that parents have complete and total control.

Sometimes it's hard for both parents to agree upon a name. (My wife is a junior high teacher, so hundreds of names are immediately eliminated from contention because of the I-taught-a-kid-named-that-and-he-was-trouble factor.)

Some people have a deep, inner need to find out what you are naming your baby. They'll ask. They'll ask again. They'll offer several suggestions. They'll ask again. They'll offer several names that must be avoided. ("Whatever you do, don't name your baby Ethel.") They'll ask yet again.

It's like they think they're extra special if they're the first to know what you're naming your baby.

Noah? Do you really want your son to have to deal with ark jokes his whole life?

The problem is, it's hard enough for the parents to find a name they can agree on. If you then tell that name to more people, the greater the chances that someone will find a reason to shoot down your name.

You: "We're going to name him Jeff."
Them: "Really? You're going to give your son the same first name as Jeffrey Dahmer?"

You: "We're thinking of naming her Penelope."
Them: "Penelope? What is she, 85 years old?"

You: "We're leaning towards Hank."
Them: "I used to work with a guy named Hank. Biggest jerk I ever met."

You: "We've decided on Opal."
Them: "Opal? Sounds like a stripper's name!"
You: "Actually, Opal was my grandmother's name. We're naming her after my grandmother."
Them: "Are you sure your grandmother wasn't a stripper?"

So, to avoid having our chosen name torpedoed by naysayers, we will choose a somewhat silly nickname, and we'll give it as an answer to the name-askers.

You: "We haven't decided on a name yet, but for now we're going with the nickname of Hondo."
Them: "Hondo? That's the dumbest name I've ever heard! You can't possibly be serious about the name Hondo, can you?"

Ultimately, the naming of your baby is up to you. It really doesn't matter what people think of the name you choose. It's your decision, and your decision alone! (Just don't go with Roger. I had a boss named Roger and every time I saw him I wanted to punch him in the face!)

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