What Should I Name My Daughter? Siobhan and Other Baby Naming Disasters
Let's Start with Siobhan
Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...
Only two months or so to go, and we don't have a name yet for little baby what's-her-name. Should it be Siobhan?
Choosing the Perfect Baby Name is Harder Than You Ever Imagined
What's in a name? Everything! A child's name is either a blessing or a curse. A good name can be a gift we give our beloved child. A bad name? Well, it can be a sore point with that child that eternally bruises her ego and sends her into conniptions, scarring her for life.
So what's wrong with Siobhan? It's pronounced ShiVON. Hard of hearing grandma or grandpa? All of a sudden she's a dessert. A lovely chiffon. And don't expect anyone to know how to pronounce it. Kindergarten? Yikes!
Now I've gotten a lot of guff from the proud Siobhans of the world about this. I don't mean to offend. In Ireland it is a lovely name. In Arizona, it will be plain trouble.
My husband and I just don't seem to see eye-to-eye on the baby naming issue. After two kids with unconventional names, I am ready to settle into more traditional territory. Katey or Katherine sounds nice to me.
But my husband is attracted to strong female names, just as he is attracted to strong-willed female me. Katherine is strong. Taming of the Shrew, by Shakespeare, anyone?
First he suggested Sloan. Anyone here besides me seen Ferris Bueller? Can't shake the image. And it isn't necessarily a pretty one. I kept wandering around the house for days singing "Cameron was a wandering man...let my Cameron go!" Nyet. Next!
The next name he suggested was Dagny. My husband kindly related his source, a strong and idealistic character in that famous book by Ayn Rand. But immediately I remembered that my husband's brother named his sweet little college car after that same character.
So!? My husband replied.
So!! I reminded him of OUR named cars (it's a family thing, I guess), and said, how would you like it if your brother called you up and said, "Wow, I just loved that old car Courtney that you once owned that is now in the junk heap, and I've decided to name my first-born after her!" My apologies to anyone out there who has named their child Courtney. It really is a lovely name. But in our family, the name has already been taken...by a car.
Personal associations become more pronounced over time, which is one of the reasons I feel I'm having a tough time selecting a name I like. I'm older now, and have been through many years of school with my other children. And they have many, many classmates that conjure strong associations with the names I like. Some good, and some not-so-great.
I hear school teachers have the greatest problem with this. One teacher I know had encountered so many children that she just had to lay all of her preconceptions aside and choose a name she liked. She had known so many horrid people over the years that almost all the good names were nixed by association. The names she chose for her children were in spite of the personal associations she had formed.
But I am still having a hard time getting over the "name-your-child-after-the-family-car episode."
And speaking of associations, every so often my husband says, "What about Trish or Twila? I knew some nice girls in high school by that name." REALLY?!!! NYET!!!!!!!!
We started considering more off-the-beaten-path names, but many have associations we can't shake.
Simone—Ruined. By Al Pacino and the movie he starred in by that same name. Unless you don't mind your child sharing the name of an artificially created sex-goddess that doesn't even exist. Next!
Lola—she was a showgirl. Next!
Daphne—A pretty name, except for the Scooby-Doo association. Next!
Triona—Not bad, but it sounds like the name of a triceratops character in Land Before Time XXV, The Great Three-Horned Calamity. Next!
Ophelia—A very strong name. I like it, but I fear she'd grow up with a complex. Next!
Maybe the letters have it. Our last name begins with the letter "A". We considered some of these combinations:
Ione Kennedy Eugenie A---
Patsy Tamarind A---
Diane Nerisse A---
In case you hadn't guessed, my last name starts with "A." Well, you get the picture. Nyet, nyet, and nyet! Still, I love that IKEA store....
After much thought, my daughter provided just the right insight into the baby naming issue. Mom, she said, we just need to come up with a name that will be mis-spelled, mis-pronounced, and altogether easily forgotten!
So here it is: Caoimhe.
I don't know how to say it, can't remember how to spell it, but gee, I sure do like it.
What Should I Name My Child?
But seriously, what name will we pick? I can't tell you. Because there are two other baby girls on the way in our extended family, and they share our last name. It's hard enough coming up with a name we like, but now we have to make sure it's not going to be used by someone else in the family.
Traditional family names are out. My husband favors his Polish background, and I can't pronounce half of those names either.
And Julie Andrews? Well, we REALLY liked that name Lisle, from the Sound of Music, but as my dear friend pointed out, although it is a great name, Lisle is SOOO Von Trapp!