The Name Game

July 24, 2008

I’ve seen lots of posts over the past few weeks asking about name ideas for new babies.  I always read the comments, sometimes checking in several times over the next few days to make sure I’ve read them all.

I never comment, however.  I did once or twice, long ago, but I quickly realized that not only am I pretty bad at guessing other people’s tastes in names, but mine are pretty unusual too.  I’ll probably love the names that these people choose, agreeing that they are perfect for them, but if I offer a contribution, I’ll always feel kind of bad that my suggestion wasn’t chosen.

But, hey, that’s not what I’m really writing about today.  I’m not sure where I saw it, but somebody mentioned in one of those numerous comments a site called nymbler.  It’s a site that claims to help you name your child based on names you like (say, names of your current children or your own name).  It will offer endless suggestions of names that somehow relate to your favorite names, either by origin or popularity, etc.

Intrigued, I checked it out for myself.  It’s not like I have another kid to name, but I still love playing the name game.  What would I name another kid if we ended up with a third boy?  What if we somehow got a girl?  Would I keep the names we would have named the boys if they’d been girls?

I realized something as I perused name after name after name: I’m awfully picky.  I would love for a third name to fit the pattern of the rest of our names (if you know the family blog, you know the pattern), but honestly can’t think of a (decent) name that fits.  But even without taking that into consideration, I had a hard time finding names I liked.  They have options to mark names as favorites or to remove them from the list of possibilities.  After playing around for about an hour, I had two names earmarked as favorites, and those had barely made the list.  The names I would never consider, though, were well over a hundred.

The funny part?  It’s not like I was vetoing the normal, common names.  If you know our kids’ real names, you know they’re not unusual by any means.  I really dislike a lot of the popular names right now (possibly simply because of their popularity), and I will only consider names that are pretty normal.  Even then, I have to veto many, many more because of bad memories associated with students from my teaching days–or ex-boyfriends.

That last one kind of stinks because two of my otherwise favorite names belong to the most annoying of all my students and the most serious ex I had.

Oh, yeah, and they have to sound decent with our last name.  Since it’s such a short, choppy name, the first name has to be at least two syllables, with very few exceptions.  The first letter of our last name as well as the vowel sound also sound weird with many names.  A lot of names I would consider just don’t sound right.

After playing around on that naming site, I started to wonder if I wanted to consider having another baby ever, simply because of the difficulties I would have in naming another kid.  PJ’s name was easy; it was the name M and I said we would name a boy if we ever had one, a name we had created early in our dating days.  BabyN’s name seemed pretty obvious once we saw the pattern of the rest of our names; it fit perfectly and we both loved the name.  This long after PJ’s birth, I already had a pretty good idea of what our next son’s name would be, if we had another.

Now?  No clue.  It’s not like it matters.  I don’t have a nameless gestating baby or anything.  But I’m still curious what ideas you might be able to come up with, what names you think we might like.  Will you join me in playing the name game?  What are some of your favorite names, especially ones you think I might like (this will be easier for those of you who know the boys’ real names)?  If your kids had been a boy/girl instead, what would their names have been?  What are some of your favorites that you couldn’t use for whatever reason?  Or what are some of your most hated names that your husband liked?  That one ought to be interesting!

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