Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Name Game

File this under the "don't" column for any expectant father.

Last Friday, out of the blue, I received the following text message from Brian:

I'm about 90% sure on our girl name.

The thing about Brian is that he always exaggerates, just a little, to make me feel better.  For example, he'll say, I'll be home in five minutes.  In reality, he's 15-20 minutes out but in the moment, trimming it down to five minutes just sounds better.

So when he told me he was 90% sure on the girl name, I knew it was actually less than that.

Now, here's what you should know about us and names.  We've always gone into the hospital with two set-in-stone names; one for a boy and one for a girl.  Boy names have always been a breeze for us.  William was always going to be William.  Lucy, had she been a boy, would have been Henry.  When I became pregnant with Katherine we threw out Henry (we knew too many people who were using it) and replaced it with another name that we have grown to love.  This is still our boy name for this baby.

But after we had Lucy, girl names have always been a challenge for us.  Even Katherine's name was a fourth quarter Hail Mary.  The other names we had in mind just didn't seem to fit and I kept coming back to Katherine.  I mean, you can't really go wrong with a Katherine, can you?  Katherine Nash.  Kate Nash.  It all sounds great.

So when I found out I was pregnant with our fourth, I put the girl name decision on the back burner for as long as possible.  We even considered finding out the gender at the 20-week ultrasound with this one.  If we knew ahead of time that it was going to be a boy it would have saved us a lot of raised eyebrows and rhetorical you can't be serious questions as we tossed names back and forth.

Finally, around my seventh month of pregnancy, we settled on a girl name.  And when Brian thought of the perfect middle name to go with it I knew the deal was sealed.  Or so I thought.  Until that dreaded text message beeped on my phone just a week before this baby is due to arrive.

I could have been the wife who said too bad.  Too late.  I'm the hormonal pregnant one so I get the final say.  But the thing about names is that they're kind of important.  They last forever.  Unless you become a huge pop star and decide to change your name to Gaga.  I didn't want Brian to be in a position where he cringed every time he heard or mentioned his daughter's name.

So we went back to the drawing board.  After the kids went to bed we sat in front of the fireplace with our glasses of wine (even me!) and each wrote down five girl names on a slip of paper.  We then placed all ten names in a basket.  We picked a name out, one by one, and discussed it.  We each had three vetoes and those slips of paper then went into the fire.  We slowly narrowed it down to three names.  Then we ranked those three names separately and compared.

And guess what, folks?

Our number one name is the same damn name we had in the first place.

It should be noted, out of fairness to Brian, that we do have a brand new girl name that came in as a close second.  In fact it's still on the drawing board as a very slight maybe.

In Brian's defense I know that sometimes you just have to work through these things to confirm what you knew all along.

I'm glad he feels better about the name.  But I would be even glad-er if this baby were a boy!

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