A Rose by Any Other Name


There’s this one really important thing to do for your child, preferably before it’s born, but I realize that’s not a legal requirement or anything (at least not here or in the U.S).
And that would be choosing its name.

Yes! Baby names! And I, like so many other girls in this world, have been compiling an ever-changing list of possible baby names, pretty much since the first time I babysat (I think I was 10 or 11) and decided that I did definitely want some kids when I grew up.

Obviously the list has had many variations, inspirations, motivations, etc. Although, to be completely honest, it never occurred to me that I’d have to care about what the father liked too, until I got married.

And the wedding planning gave me plenty of indication as to how important it was to involve Piet in the naming of our babies.
I will never ever say that I regret having a man who actually cares and wants to play an active role in our life and the decisions we make as a couple and a family.
But, at least when it comes to wedding plans, I have to admit it was a blessing and a curse. If you can really say that a man wanting to have some say in his wedding is a curse. Which in most cultures it’s probably not. It was just a balls to the wall introduction to walking the fine line between your husband and your mother… which I had been able to avoid wonderfully simply by immigrating. Until the wedding planning.

But let me get back on topic here.

Naming the baby.

I never thought baby naming would be as difficult as it is turning out to be. Granted, as I was growing up I assumed my husband would be American or at least speaking English as a first language, and preferably Jewish or willing to convert.
But life tends to throw curve balls at us, so I ended up with a Dutch speaking Belgian atheist who can’t say the English “th” very successfully*.

So here we are, trying to find some names that both of us like, that both of us can say, in both languages, that aren’t culturally unfit.

Culturally unfit? You might be asking yourself. Yes…as in, due to certain cultural factors one of us would not be okay naming our kid a certain name.

Examples? But of course!

Example 1: I really love Alice in Wonderland. It’s one of my favorite books and I adore many of the film adaptations as well. So the very first name I suggested for a girl was Alice. Sadly, Piet can not, in good conscience, name his daughter Alice because of this song. Because the last thing we’d want is Piet’s uncle chanting “who the fuck is Alice” every Christmas after a few too many drinks.

Example 2: Piet told me that he liked the name Dieter for a boy. To which I immediately replied in my best homosexual German accent “do you want to touch my monkey?” Because anyone in my age cohort has seen at least one episode of Sprockets and would thus expect our son to be walking around in black tights and dancing to German industrial techno.

So you see, naming this baby is turning out to be quite a challenge when you add all the factors together. At first I really pressured Piet to think of names with me, but that didn’t work. My husband is not one to be pushed into a decision-making process and after a while I let it go on the condition that we could seriously consider names once we knew the gender. And in the meantime, I compiled a list of names that I liked for each gender. To my knowledge, Piet is doing the same and we’ll sit and talk about our lists once we (a)know the gender and (b)are on the trip to Istanbul that we have planned for mid-March. Since by then I’ll be 6 months pregnant and probably not super excited about doing a ton of walking/sight-seeing that involves long periods of standing, we figured our little rented apartment will be a perfect place to really concentrate on choosing a name.

So you’d think my stress levels regarding names would be much lower now, yes?
Well, they kind of were, sort of, except that any random names I threw out for Piet were always a no and any he mentioned to me were also a no and heaven help us if we have a girl because she’ll have to have a boy’s name cause we cannot agree on a single damn girls name we both like.
But then I saw this pop up in my Google Reader a couple of days ago.

Can you imagine the nerve of this woman? I mean, seriously, that’s her grandchild she’s talking about and she refuses to even say the kid’s name cause she dislikes it that much. I left a comment that was as polite as I could possibly make it, but the sentiment left me seething. Who gives a shit if you don’t like her name?? It was your son and his wife’s decision, their child, their favorite name. If you love your grandchild, you’ll simply get over it and use her name!
This seriously outraged me. Especially because, when Piet and I finally do settle on a name (that sounds so defeatist…) triumph in discovering the perfect name, our parents are going to damn well use it, regardless of whether or not they like it. Right parents and parents-in-law?

Yeah, I thought so.




*I still have plenty of trouble making a differentiation between the “eu” and “uu” vowel combinations and get tripped up over rolling my r’s a lot; just saying, no one is perfect


6 responses »

  1. Your comment to that idiot grandmother was PERFECT (did you notice that she never did say what the horrific name was?)…as you well know, we have already dubbed our little incoming darling grandchild as goonch or goonchete, so ANYTHING you select will sound melodic and be JUST PERFECT!!! Although it is KILLING me that I have to wait for the birth to find out!—smiles—

    • Thanks for the link. I’m guessing this is where Piet was looking for his names, cause from what I’ve seen of his list, most of them are on it.

      Yeah, I know the last name part, which is why I’ll eventually change my name when we move (it’s close to impossible to change it here).

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