A rose by any other name....

We named Zoe before she was even conceived. We were on a long drive in Zambia (Oh did I really travel to exotic places? With no mac-n-cheese packets in the suitcase?) and we weren't seeing much. My mind was wandering and it wandered to baby names (for the record, we were married at the time and we had agreed that we both wanted a family at some point in the future. So it wasn't totally out of the realm of reason to be thinking of baby names ALL THE TIME from time to time.) I was thinking how much I love the letter Z and how much I've always liked the name "Zoe" and so I turned to my beloved and said: "What do you think of the name Zoe?".

And he said, suddenly suspicious, "for what?"

"For our possible daughter, you know, someday."

"Um...... I like it fine."

Fast forward a couple of years and we found out we were having a baby girl. And her name was Zoe. From the very beginning.

Now we are at a loss. Another girl is joining our family and no name feels quite right yet. I liked having Zoe's name from the beginning. I talked to her, wrote to her, imagined her - all with her name attached. I felt like I got to know her through her name, though that may sound backwards.

Naming a person feels like such a huge responsibility. She will say and spell and hear her name for the entirety of her life. Her name will often proceed her, conjuring an image, telling people a story. What will that image, that story, be?

So I do what I always do when I need answers or feel stuck: I read. I scour through pages and pages of baby name books. The range is amazing: from the drab (does anyone really name their daughter "Beige" or "Tame"?), to the possibly damaging ("Harlot"?!? For real?) to the obvious ("Fashion" which means- who would have thunk it?- "stylish") to the strangely fan-based ("Manilow", um WHY?).

We have a list of names we like. We have thrown out more than a few names that the other likes. We are still at a loss.

We want what most parents want in a name: that it be beautiful, easy to spell and pronounce, recognizable as a name but not too common. Our last name is short and consonant heavy so we like names that have more than one syllable and are not too guttural. Both of us are have German stock but with our last name, a German first name sounds... WAY German.

How important is it that it sounds good with "Zoe"? How important is it that it sound good with ALL our names? How popular does a name have to be for us to rule it out?

If, hypothetically of course, one of us dated someone with a name we are considering, does that automatically rule it out? (Dude, CG dated some girls with GREAT names. JERK.)

I have no answers but "Lima Bean" does have a certain ring to it!


Anonymous said...

At least you don't have a husband scouring the NFL preview magazines for possible boy's names. Thankfully we had girls, because I don't know if I could have handled a Plaxico.

Erin said...

Choosing a name is SO HARD and SO FUN and SO FRUSTRATING.

At some point we just got a gut feeling for the name. We knew Cal's name long before he was born, but Emmett's wasn't for certain until about a month before he came along.

Erin said...

Oh, and I meant to say "Leah" or "Lia" SOUNDS a little like "Lima Bean."

Kate said...

This sounds like a job for swistle to me!

We'll be in the same boat if we have another child: we knew Alex's name from the start (first and middle). For another baby, I have a bunch of boy names I like, but my husband is lukewarm on most of them. And I have no girl names at all.

MBM, we joked about naming our baby "Elway Leinart". There's always next baby. :)

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Kate- I know, right? I emailed Swistle Baby Names but since my due date is far away, I must wait my turn....

Kathi McCracken Dente said...

I HEAR you. I have to keep reminding myself that we hadn't come up with Mira at this point last time and it wasn't until giving birth I actually knew it was IT. It seems funny now because she couldn't be anything but Mira, but we didn't know that back then. I have to have faith and trust the process. Though I do wonder if the name will always feel like a second choice. And I do try them on with "Mira and..." in front of them to see if it sounds good. I am not sure that is fair. It is tougher the second time around. Good Luck!

miyoko said...

we are still nameless, 4 weeks till due date and still i have this annoying list of names and crossouts, and can't seem to nail down one! Argh! It's harder this time i think.

Swistle said...

Quickie: Eliza.

baby names list said...

Choosing a name to your child is very hard to decide and you want it to be the perfect name for your child. Zoe name is great and unique..

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