Sunday, February 05, 2006

The name game

This post brought to you by Postcards from Buster.

We are not sure of the gender of the baby-to-be. We have our guesses, some more educated than others. All of this leads to an enormous problem: the name of the player-to-be-named-later.

Miss M's name was pretty much lined up from the time I was about 20. A college friend had a sister with that name, and I fell in love with it. It is pretty and fairly uncommon and is meaningful to us, but it's not strange or so unique that people have never heard it before. Taxman, luckily, was pretty easily convinced. (Although if he hadn't been, I probably would not have been above trumping his thoughts with my three-and-a-half day labor.)

If we have a girl again, there are a ton of pretty, not overly common Hebrew names that we'd be happy to use. English cognates (important to Taxman for "official purposes") are relatively easy to find.

A boy, though. This is the subject of debate. After going through two Hebrew name dictionaries, there are about 10 names (out of thousands) that neither of us hate. Or have bad associations with. And don't have weird meanings. And sound ok with our last name. And, so we've been told by my Israeli sister-in-law who knows these things, would not make him the subject of ridicule in school. Unlike about 99% of Ashkenazi Jews, I am not in favor of naming my kids after beloved, dead relatives. For me, each new person should get a fresh start, free of associations (good or bad), and go from there--this is just my opinion, please don't get insulted.

There one name in particular that Taxman really likes. I like it too; it would have been Miss M's name had she been a boy. The thing that's keeping me from signing on this time is that I feel like in the past two years, it's become a very popular name around these parts. And here is where Taxman and I diverge in opinion: I don't want to give a name where our kid is going to have the same moniker as of lots of other kids. Taxman is baffled by this argument. He agrees that a name should be meaningful to the parents (and possibly, by extension, some of the rest of the family), but who cares if there are six other boys named Adam, for example, in a class?

I can't exactly explain why I feel this way. My name is not weird or unique by any stretch--although it is commonly used as a nickname, it is my actual given name--but I never really had to share it in school, and that made me feel special, in a way. My last initial was never tacked on my paintings in first grade because there were two other girls with that name in my class.

But it's just such a gut reaction on my part that I can't defend it in a meaningful way. So Taxman thinks I am being crazy or reactionary or difficult.

Anybody in the blogosphere have any thoughts on this?

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