The Name Game

baby names for dummies

Image by alist via Flickr

The kids are in bed, the TV is off, but we’re sitting on opposite sides of the table, me typing furiously on the NEO, Christian shuffling iPhone, bills and checkbook. I sigh irritably. This is not how we should be spending a Saturday evening. I’m tired. Really I just want to sleep. But now that I’m getting up once an hour all night, between kids and round ligament pans, bedtime isn’t as appealing.

He finishes paying bills and clicks his phone off. “Well?” he says.

 “So…what did you think of my idea for the boy’s name, really?” I ask.

His lip curls briefly. “I like mine better.”

Opening salvo. He pulls out the phone.

We have certain rules about names. Any name in the top ten is automatically out. The top 25, we have to think carefully. It has to have been around for generations, but it can’t be boring. Then there are the names we like but won’t use because we don’t get along with someone who owns them already. And after Alexander, Julianna, and Nicholas, we have a style to match.

One website lets you see what names “go” with the names of your current children. Christian types in Alexander and reads the list. He types in Julianna. The same fifteen names come up. Nicholas: ditto. He pauses. “Hey. All these names seem to be coming from the Greek.”

He types in Greek names.

“Amethyst! It means ‘without drunkenness.’” We both crack up, then subside into silence on opposite sites of the table. Christian hunches over the phone, his finger glowing blue in the light from the screen, and I smile affectionately at the top of his head.

“Drusilla!” he says. (Who would DO that to their kid? Haven’t you watched Cinderella???) “Achilles! Agamemnon! AJAX!”

The phone falls into his lap, and we both laugh so hard that we’re crying. And I realize maybe it’s not such a bad way to spend an evening, after all.


On In Around button


The RemembeRED prompt this week was to write a “pivotal” conversation. This doesn’t quite count as pivotal, but it is important, and I thought it would be fun. This is also the first word count I’ve missed. I’m over by twenty-some. Mea culpa.


26 thoughts on “The Name Game

  1. Baby names…I love them, but I hate them because Jeff has some, uh, interesting suggestions. Like naming all our kids names his friends have already used. Or naming a child after himself (which is verboten in my family after my father proclaimed, argued and successfully backed up the assertion that naming a child after yourself guaranteed you a rebellious child…). He likes “trendy, preppy” girl names, I like classic ones…the good news, the birth certificate people at our hospital ONLY take orders from the mom hehe!

    • Although that may not be the greatest for marital harmony! 😉

      We also like to go looking for family-used names, but the trouble in my husband’s family is that they keep using the same names over and over…something about Italian traditions, you know. 🙂 So there’s not much variety to choose from! LOL

  2. Ryan and I had the hardest time with names; I loved this conversation. You did such a good job capturing those perfect times with a significant other, when something mundane (and possibly a little routine or annoying) can shift into a moment of happiness, just with a little laughter and being with each other.

  3. I love, love, love name convos- although Jason and I took FOREVER to decide on all of ours!

    I adore how you captured the shift in mood. Well done- with the writing and with going with the flow. 🙂

  4. Hilarious! It sounds like you and your husband have a great marriage, comfortable and loving. It’s hard to pick out that “one name” that no one else has, because sure as heck you do, by the time they reach kindergarten, half of the class has the same darn name! Good luck –

  5. I loved that image of you smiling at the top of his head. So much affection and mutual respect here.

    Names are so funny? They really tell so much, so quickly, about how a family communicates.

    And for the record? Ajax is fab.

  6. Name conversations are DEFINITELY pivotal. And I love having them. My husband and I don’t know if we want to have kids yet or not, and yet, we still discuss names all the time. In fact, I have a name I love some much that I sometimes think of having a kid JUST to use the name…but that probably wouldn’t be a very good reason, huh? Ha! Just kidding…only kind of 🙂

    Anyway, great conversation! Sometimes those simple moments together are the best, aren’t they?

  7. I think pregnancy lasts nine months because it takes that long to get used to or pick out a baby’s name that both of the parents can agree on!

    Nice post! I felt as if I was right there with you:)

  8. I am now curious to find the URL of the site where you can look which names ‘go’ with your existing names…not because I’m pregnant, just for research purposes! (We currently have one child with a Greek name, one Shakespearean, and one from the Old Testament.) And I am sure whatever name you coerce the other into, I mean decide together as an act of marital harmony, your child will grow into it and make it their very own 🙂

    • Yes, exactly. I am not nearly as high-blood-pressure about this as I have been with the other three kids, b/c I’ve learned that’s exactly right. There’s a lot we attach to names, but a name becomes one’s own almost automatically…I think we worry about it too much. 🙂

  9. You did well with blending the background of the conversation with the actual conversation. And I liked the conversation you chose– it was fun seeing a moment of your evening! Picking names that pleased both me and my husband was difficult- especially the boys’ names! (We had a no top 100 list rule and a no family name rule… it took all 9 months to pick names!)

  10. AWW.

    We had so many arguments over names. My husband actually liked the name “Lava” for a girl. Riiight. We did end up agreeing to Adrian and Finley. Original but not weird names. (as an aside – my name is January – original and sort of weird)

  11. So cute, Kate! A married couple, friends of ours, are due just three weeks after we are due with #3. They are in such disagreement about potential names, and it IS quite comical to see/hear them hash it out. We had them over for dinner last week and laughed until it hurt. For the record, you have chosen (or should I say God has chosen and you listened!) such beautiful names from your children. You’ve set the bar high! 🙂

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