My husband and I agree on most things. I know that may be hard for some of you to understand but we are just lucky that way. We enjoy the same food, lean towards the same kind of decor style (for the most part) and generally agree on most moral and political issues.
We even, more often than not agree on what DVD to hire on our Friday nights in, while we watch most couples bicker and fight over Rom Com or Action. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the fact that we have learnt to compromise over the years (I’ve seen him cry in the notebook and he has seen me on the edge of my seat in every Quinton Tarantino movie) and also the fact that neither of us are too extreme in our preferences. So in 6 years of marriage I can probably count the big momentous fights we have had over really important things on one hand. Like I said. We are lucky like that.
Which is why I’m struggling to understand why we just can’t seem to agree on a name for the little boy who will be joining us in 4 months time. With our first-born it was like we both just knew. I don’t remember there being much discussion. Noah was his name before we even knew it ourselves. It was his destiny or something. Now we argue over whether a name is too boring or too out there. Whether he will be the cool kid at school or the loser with no friends. All because of his name? Surely not.
I think a lot has to do with this: The perception is that if we choose a name that is completely out there and different we are setting our child up for a life that is not mediocre. We are trying to tell the world that our child is different, that he will go far in life and do amazing things. If we name him Axel or Hunter he will grow up to do more than sell health insurance. If we gave him an edgy name like Gunner or Rocco he would be sure to make the cover of Men’s Health or Rolling Stones and have the brains to go with it.
And so you begin to see why we are bumping heads around the issue. I in fact do like these names. My husband on the other hand thinks they are a death sentence. Well on the playground that is. He often looks at me after another one of my ridiculous suggestions and asks with all earnest why do you hate our child so much?
So just how important is a name really? This exert from a baby naming site I skimmed recently had this to say:
No correlation exists between popularity or social achievement because of a child’s name, Martin Ford, a psychologist at George Mason University in Virginia, told “Psychology Today”. A name could have an effect on a child’s life, but a positive effect is just as likely as a negative one. The name is not likely to be a significant factor in a child’s development. What does contribute to a child’s personality is how you raise your child. And, sometimes, that coincides with the type of name you choose.
Quite a comforting and daunting thought. The responsibility is ours. If we do our best to raise our kids in a secure, and loving environment, we are setting them up for the best life possible. While there are no guarantees, we can rest assured knowing that on most days we are giving them the best foundation possible. All we have to do is equip them as best we can and trust that God will carry them through all that life throws at them. And that they will fulfill all the great things they are meant to. Even with a boring name, an ordinary Joe soap should succeed.
But then I also remember reading a chapter in the book Freakonomics where they talk about how a name does indeed have a very big effect on every aspect of your life. In one little excerpt it tells the story of a woman who as she is getting wheeled into hospital to have her baby, realizes she doesn’t have a name for her child. For whatever crazy reason (the pain of labor clearly effected all logic) , she ends up naming the child the hospitals abbreviations. Needless to say that child didn’t end up with a very bright future. Now of course this is an extreme and silly case, I mean who really does that? But you would be surprised. I mean you can’t expect a name to have absolutely no effect on a person.
The same can be said for a lot of celebrities, who it seems are running out of ways to humiliate their children. I honestly expected more from Gwyneth Paltrow. I mean with a name like her own, married to a Chris Martin who would have seen the name Apple coming? Our local celebrity couple Waddy Jones and Yolande Fisser, from the band Die Antwoord, named their daughter Sixteen. I don’t know which is more disturbing, their lyrics or their taste in names. And lets not forget Michael Jackson naming his last-born son Blanket. One thing my husband and I do agree on? These folk must be smoking some seriously cheap crack.
Still, none of this is helping me much. I know my husband and I are going to do our best to create that secure environment for our kids so that they are secure in WHO they are, but at the same time we want a name that is going to express who he is and who he will become. We don’t know what he is going to be like as a child or adult but we want a name that will mean something, resonate with our personalities, one that he will own and be proud of. And yes we want a name that is different. One that will stand out.
And then of course, come the opinions of others. Opinions that you wish didn’t really matter, but we all know they do. Especially those close to us. As much as we don’t want to admit it, getting that stamp of approval from parents and friends is kind of important. I now understand why most couples these days are choosing to rather announce their choice of name after the baby is born. How many times we have been sure on a name, only to see someone’s face squirm or outwardly say REALLY? Finding the balance is hard. Trying to not be swayed by other people’s thoughts and opinions is even harder.
And so the saga continues::what is the perfect name for OUR son? What is going to be the name I scream a thousand times a day, the name I will whisper at night, the name his friends will cheer on the soccer field? Whatever we decide I’m really just hoping it’s the right name for him. And more importantly that we decide before I’m wheeled into the hospital labor ward. I really don’t want to name my son Vincent Pilotti Geary.