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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bizarre Baby Names

I usually try not to judge people's names too harshly, as for the most part, they had little to do with getting them. I, after all, have a name that should be relatively common and easy to pronounce, but have it spelled in a creative way that means people rarely figure out how to say it. This is part of why we have used traditional spellings for our children's names, and spelled Amira's name as phonetically as we could so it would be easy to say when read. Oddly enough, it is Dominic whose name causes the most difficulties. People try to call him Dominique, which, by the way, is a GIRL'S name, not a boy's name. It is also not how it is pronounced in French, where that would also indicate a girl's name. Anyway, I also tend to recognize obviously ethnic names, and don't count them in the weird names category.

However. We get a newsletter from our midwife twice a year. It lists all the births for that segment of time, the full name, parents' names, weight, length, birthdate, number of siblings. I realize that other people probably look at our children's names, the boy's middle names and Amira's first name, and wonder what we were doing, as my name doesn't clearly show my ethnicity, but some of these names are too strange for me. A lot of it is the trend to spell traditional names creatively. All this does, in my opinion, is make the parents look less than literate. Then there are the names that are just cruel: Sunshine Deathray being the example that jumps out from the most recent newsletter. That's a girl. I cannot fathom why parents would do that to a child.

In the bizarre category, there was Electra Celimae (naming your child after an inc*estuous figure is not a good move, naming her after the modern celebrities bearing this name is also foolish), Razziel, which sounds like they were trying for one of the Biblical angelic names like Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, but got a little out of control and there was Kage. This was a boy, at least.

There was one that was both bizarre and misspelled, I think like Axl from Guns and Roses: Aksel. This was like the transitional commandment in the 10 commandments.

The rest were firmly in the normal name misspelled category: Zander, because Alexander is too many letters and there's that whole Greek x thing in the middle, Zoey, because who can pronounce Zoe, Aydan, not to be confused with the saint, Aidan, Ean, because they named all the rest of their children with E names and didn't want to break the pattern with an I this time.

Now, like I said, I know our boys' middle names, and our daughters' first names will probably look just as odd to other people. Even though we have a good reason for it, it's not like you can tell from our family name, and my first name does not let people know that there is Arab blood in my children, so perhaps people are trying to figure out what we were thinking with our children's names. Although, girls get more leeway in having creative/ethnic names. People tend to think those names are pretty on girls and weird on boys. That's part of the reason we gave our boys Arabic middle names instead of first names. We didn't want to give people a reason to beat them up.

Rich and I think a lot about the names we give our children. We care about the definitions, how they sound, how they work with each other and our last name, what the initials spell, if there are any obvious horrible nicknames, things like that. We also consciously decided not to name after anyone in our immediate family, and have almost entirely extended that to anyone living that we know. Although we nearly broke that rule with Jerome. One of the names we considered was someone living, and we were specifically thinking of naming for him. One of the childrens' godparents says he's waiting for us to name for him. He figures eventually we'll run out of boys' names and have to use it.

Actually, the original middle name we had for our new little daughter, which we abandoned, was the name of someone not so pleasant who is attached to our family, and we nixed it because of that. We didn't want to remind people of her, especially because it was someone who was closely intertwined, not just a distant relative who was a little wacky. So, we came up with another name which we like, and we are reconciled to the different name, even though we had tossed the first name around for several years. And no, I won't be announcing the name until I announce the baby.

It turns out that there is free wi-fi at the hospital, so I'll be able to blog from there. I just thought of that! I won't be able to post pictures, because we don't have a laptop, but I'll be able to announce her birth, time, weight, all that stuff.

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Robb and I went back and forth about Lucy for a long time; it was hard work convincing him that Lucy is a name in its own right, and in some sources, Lucia is considered derivative of Lucy.

And yes, I had considered a different name for her, but it would have given her the initials LSD and then her last name.

Not so much. :)

My pet peeve is people naming kids nicknames. Sam instead of Samuel, Nick instead of Nicholas. I hate that. Oooo. :)
Our girls' names (in real life, not blogland) are all saints' names. Our son has a prophet's name.

But the girls' names are all derived from different countries: one is an English version of a saint's name, one Irish, one Russian. The English one anyone would recognize, but fewer would immediately know that the Russian or the Irish one are traditional names. So, they might have to explain a little bit, at least to folks who aren't Irish or Russian!

But we were very careful to choose real names, with good nicknames associated with them, and with good meanings. Unlike my friend who named her daughter after a character in a Greek myth who killed his mother. ??? I still haven't figured that one out! :)
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