The doctor laid the tiny baby on my chest. She squeaked out a few cries as they worked a tiny hat onto her wrinkled head. My husband and I gazed into the purple-red face of our third baby girl, “Well, what does she look like? Do any names come to mind?” Without missing a beat, my ever-loving husband leaned in and proclaimed, “Raisin.”
That’s right, ya’ll. At birth, one day before my due date, my third child did not have a name. We had prayed, wept, Googled until our emotions and fingers were raw — and still, no name. I had polled all my friends, neighbors, family members, and Target checkout girl (and then had to start blocking all of the aforementioned from giving input).
Baby number three. Girl number three. Best surprise of all the surprises. I loved her, rejoiced over her and yet, a name for her eluded us. We had long conversations in which we took turns listing off possibilities and the other responding with grunts and grimaces. My husband was set on Zelda (yes, like the video game), and I longed for a Lauralei (yes, like the Gilmore) — and neither would surrender their stance.
As parents, choosing a name is the first major decision we make on behalf of our child. Not only do we have the pressure of choosing one they can grow with, we often have to co-make the decision with our spouse or partner. To me, a name needed to mean something, reflect character, hopes, dreams. Over and over again, I would fall in love with a name, only to look it up and realize it meant “strong like an ox,” or, “egg.”
My oldest daughter had her own ideas, of course. Somehow, we never could bring ourselves to follow through on them. Introductions would have gotten weird fast, “Ah yes, meet my daughters, Lilly, Worm Soup, and Sparkles. Aren’t they lovely?”
So, how do you decide? How do you choose a name that lives up to the perfection that is your bouncing baby boy or girl?
Truthfully? I have no idea.
That’s right. There is no formula or how-to manual. We chose one of our names after watching a Travel Channel special, the other, well, let’s just say, our labor and delivery nurse didn’t realize the true extent of her duties when she walked into our room.
There’s a reason choosing a name is hard. To give someone a name helps define him, gives him a place to be, a sense of belonging. A name is your gift to your child, something that has meaning to you, or that you find beautiful. It is okay that it’s taking you a while to find the perfect one.
I know the agony of it all. The nursery wall lies empty waiting for the hand-lettered sign, your friends keep sending reminders that embroidered burp cloths take at least two weeks to order. Let their haste gently roll off, the right name will come along. Sometimes, from the least expected source. Your baby will not leave the hospital as “Baby Girl Binkinbopper” (if that happens to be your last name, we must be best friends). Sometimes you need to spend some face time with that brand new human to know who she is, and whom you hope she will grow into.
Until then, feel free to borrow “Egg” or “Worm Soup.” I won’t be jealous.