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Daniel It Is, Set in Stone - Baby Name Drama
Do You Have a Story to Tell?
Conception is a lottery. Pregnancy is a waiting game. Birth is a drama of pain, hope and eagerness. Naming a child is a choice and sometimes it becomes a battle between parents or even within extended family. No wonder, there were so many rules for naming. Different times, different countries, different cultures, different traditions. But still, choosing a name is always a story and more often than not a fascinating one. Do you have a story to tell? I do.
The Mistress of the Copper Mountain
The Mistress of the Copper Mountain is depicted as an extremely beautiful young woman with green eyes, dark braided hair and ribbons from thin tinkling copper, and her gown is made from malachite. She wears a diadem decorated with malachite and precious stones. As a mountain spirit, she is the protector and owner of hidden underground riches. She is always surrounded by her servants, small lizards, which can be green, blue, golden or luminous. The Mistress can appear as a lizard herself.According to the legends, a person who sees the Mistress comes under her spell. She shows kindness to good people and skilled craftsmen, helping them to find jewels and gold, but if her conditions aren't met, the person loses all his luck, skill and can even die. She could permit or prevent the mining in certain places, give or take wealth.
Lego Roller Coasters for Little People
Stupid Names. What Were They Thinking?
What makes us wonder what parents (some other eccentric parents, not us, oh, no!) were thinking when they chose a name that we do not like? Curiosity? Indignation? Passion? Concern?
We want to know. But statistics can be run only on results, not on intentions. I don’t know what parents think when they choose a name for their child, but I often ask. And I am not surprised to hear that most parents are driven by love. Ladies and gentlemen, parents mean well, maybe not wise enough (in our opinion), but choices are made with best intentions.
A Make-up Artist Getting Ready for Halloween
I have only one son and choosing a name was a long and arduous process. My ex and I could not agree on a name. We could not agree on many other things therefore we are no longer married.
We wanted a daughter, but half-way through pregnancy, we were told that it was going to be a boy. I was upset, but grateful for an early warning gave me enough time to adjust to the idea that I will have a son. At least I had some time to choose a name. I had time but not freedom.
My father named me without asking my mother. He just announced to the world that he had a daughter Svetlana. My mother was furious. I think she did not forgive him till this day. She wanted to name me after a grandmother. Either one. Anasstassiya or Nina. I think it would have been Nina, my dad’s mother, because she had passed away two months after my parents’ wedding. But destiny had other plans. I asked my mother why she did not correct dad’s blunder, after all, before a birth certificate was issued it was not too late. She said it was bad luck. Not according to Russian tradition.
Note: It was precisely the Russian tradition to rename children at the age of seven – ten years old. The first name was deliberately bad, the second was good. Knowing how many people are unhappy with their names renaming does not seem so absurd. Does it?
I was not so fond of my name for a long time, but I knew that I wanted neither Anasstassiya nor Nina. Especially Nina. Somebody told me once, that Nina was really unlucky name. Remembering all Ninas I knew it seemed to be true. I doubt it now. Still, when I was younger I thought that compared to Anasstassiya or Nina, Svetlana was a lucky escape.
"The Stone Flower"
I did not want to repeat my story and I did not want to repeat my ex-husband’s story. Is there a story as well? There always is.
Ironically, his mother claimed that she could not name her son because he was named by somebody else. Not a family member, but someone who looked at a newborn and said “It’s Nikolai”. What that mysterious person meant was “He is a spitting image of his father Nikolai”. But just like my mother, Nikolai’s mother also said it was bad luck to rename a child and so there were two Nikolai’s in the family. That practice I never understood.
Inspired by all those stories, I decided that all names that were used in the family within three generations were ineligible. Maybe it was another extreme. I really liked my grandfather’s name and it was Russian, not Greek, Roman or Jewish. But it was I who had established some guidelines (limitations) and I tried to follow them.
My One and Only
Now it was time to make a choice for my own son. Being so passionate about names, it meant a lot to me to choose a good one. It meant more to me than to my ex, but I wanted both of us to be happy. I wanted harmony, peace and love. I wanted us to agree on a name, to like it and to love it. I wanted a name to be an echo of love. An echo of our parental love, not physical one. But nature has its own laws, every child is an echo of physical love or call it love-making if you wish (sometimes there is no consensus there either), but an echo of each parent and generations before them.
I wanted a name with a meaning. But all names have meanings, ALL. I wanted my boy’s name to be meaningful to me. I wanted a beautiful name. What I did not want was a common name regardless of its meaning or beauty. I am not conventional. My ex is. So, with this fertile ground for a conflict, we went: I suggested a name, he declined it with gusto - “Stupid!”
Danila, the Craftsman
Daniel It Is, Set in Stone
About thirty “stupid” names went down the drain. We settled on Daniel. It has its advantages. It is pronounceable, it has a Russian version with lot diminutives, which is essential for our culture, and it has a pleasant cadence to it. As far as the meaning goes, the name is Jewish and it means “My Judge is God”. I don’t believe in God. But now, every time I say Daniel, I say God. Every time I say Daniel, I say judge. I don’t like those words, especially combined. But since my brain is not receptive to Jewish, the meaning is lost on me and on the English-speaking world.
- Names - an Echo of Love. Taking God's Name in Vain.
Theophoric names - names that contain the word God or names of gods. Is calling God by incorporating his name in names considered "calling his name in vain"?
To me Daniel is a phonetic combination that sounds closer to the Russian word “given” and I can accept it as a “gift”. Daniel certainly was a gift. From God, from the universe or nature? That does not matter. There is a strong association of Daniel and “Danila-Master”, the personage from a Russian fairy tale “Stone Flower” and I like the connection. It is another echo of my childhood and my love.
We went against Russian tradition and gave Daniel a middle name – Edward. I never liked its Russian version, but I wanted my son to have another name just in case he did not like his first one. I did not spend too much time picking it, because I did it soon after giving birth and I was in no condition to exert any effort, neither physical nor mental. Daniel Edward? Sounds nice? Daniel Edward it is.
There was no guarantee that Daniel would have liked his name. He does. But he does not let people shorten it. No Dan, no Danny, no liberties. In fact, it was lengthened. Since it is so rare, there are way too many Daniels and they became
That was exactly what I was trying to avoid. Not only that. Russians in Toronto especially like this name. When my son was taking dancing classes, there were three Russian boys there and ALL of them were Daniels. At some point when he was still in kindergarten, Daniel was convinced that his name was Daniel-I and nobody could convince him that it was not so.
What about my safety net, his middle name? “I am NOT Edward!” Daniel says. Fine by me.
Over My Dead Body
While all other rejected names were just stupid, there was one that stood aside. “Over my dead body!” my ex said. My heart was set on it. Still. Now Daniel has an official, legal name and my CHOSEN name for him.
I will never forget it. And there was such a sweet moment once, when Daniel said: “Mom, I don’t want to be Daniel. I want to have that name that YOU chose for me.” It must be noted that if I asked him then whether he knew that name, he would not be able to say. He wanted to make me happy and that is Daniel, sweet and loving little Lion cub.
The Lion King
Yet Daniel Loves
Oh, he loves listening to the story about how his name was chosen. He likes my dramatic performance of “It’s a stupid name, it’s a stupid name, it’s a stupid name!!!” I put so much emotion into it and it looks very animated. “Mama, tell me again please, about a stupid name!”
What were those stupid names that were not chosen? There were all more or less conventional and that is why even I do not remember most of them. That was one line of thought to call him
Leo, Leonid, Leonard(o) or maybe other versions of a Lion’s name. My due date was for a Leo child and I thought it would be fun and appropriate. None of those names are too common. Daniel was, though, in no rush to appear and he came on the Leo – Virgo Cusp. It did not occur to me to choose an august name. It was not on the list.
Getting a Haircut
What Did I Have in Mind?
That is another story. I had my wishes, but destiny had other plans. If Daniel wants to change his name, I will not object, I would respect his choice. After all he has to live with it more than anybody else.
As I have mentioned before according to the Russian tradition children were renamed at the age of seven – ten. Daniel is eight now.
While I keep my chosen name for him still close to my heart, I wanted to look at Daniel, at who he is actually. What is he like? What does he like? Eight years ago I expected an angel from Heaven like all rookie parents, but what do I know now?
Daniel is really a kid, I mean a little Goat. He was born in the year of Goat. He is capricious and willful. On the first picture, he is about three years old, no speech yet, but he is constructing roller coasters for “Little People”. He is still fascinated with roller coasters and when he grows up he wants to design them. He found this song “I am a roller coaster junkie” and made me listen to it. He really, really loves to laugh. His laughter is amazingly contagious and did not change since he was three months old.
Obsessed with Roller Coasters
On the second picture he is three as well and he “finishes” my “make-up” job for grandma. Look how absorbed and serious he is about his job! But he is really artistic and creative. He is wise and funny, too. I don’t know whether he feels like the king of the world, but I made him a crown. Recently, he told me that he is really good at asking and saying “no”. I guess what he meant was he knows how to get his way. I would not argue with that.
I don’t know why but he does not like to sing. But he really surprised me once with this song. This princess with a typical Russian (Slavic) name Zabava sings “I don’t want to marry for money, I want to marry for love”. I know he chose the song for its meaning not for any other extraordinary qualities. And the way the capricious and willful princess is trying to get her way? That is Daniel in female form. If he wants something, he will get it.
So, if I had to rename him now, what would it be?
I don’t know the answer except for it would be not be easy. Again.
© 2012 kallini2010