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.


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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.