Naming Baby: A Dad’s Point of View

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You might be surprised to know that expectant fathers go through much of the same anquish moms do, especially when it comes to the important decision of naming baby.

When you first discover that you’re about to become a father, one of your immediate reactions is “We have to get everything ready … NOW!” Nine months suddenly doesn’t seem like such a long time, so you have to start planning everything, and you start asking yourself questions.

  • Where will the baby sleep?
  • What color should we paint the nursery?
  • Should we find out the gender of the baby during the ultrasound (so that we can actually shop for some of this stuff)?
  • What about natural childbirth?
  • Cloth diapers or disposable?
  • Are pacifiers good or a thing of the devil?
  • Am I going to survive this whole ordeal?

These are just a few of the hundreds of questions you’ll ask yourself. Then (this is for you guys) after you’ve finally decided what you think you want, you’ll realize that your wife has already made these decisions, and you’ve wasted your time even thinking about it at all.

One part of the process that women and men usually partake in is the baby naming aspect. I don’t want to say that my wife and I were eager to find a name for our baby, but within 16 hours of finding out we were going to be parents we owned every book full of baby names known to the Western Hemisphere. One book we bought included 20,000 baby names with the meaning or origin of each name! How can we possibly be expected to narrow that list down to one name? It took us a week to name our kitten, for Pete’s sake. Now we have to try to name a PERSON? This seemed like far too much pressure.

My wife and I immediately agreed on a girl’s name. We knew right from the start what we wanted to name our daughter: Steve. (Just kidding.) We knew that Abby was our first choice. It seemed so easy. I thought, “Well if we can agree on such a historic decision as THIS, then this whole thing will be a breeze.” But then we found that we could not agree on a boy’s name at all. I could not believe that we weren’t able to come to some sort of an agreement on this. I thought we were so similar in our thought process, but I was greatly mistaken. It is my firm belief (and I think I’m being fair here) that every other name that came out of my wife’s mouth was more ridiculous than the last. And she thought the names I suggested were equally as vile.

If we were going to have a boy, I wanted to name him something slightly more traditional than what we were finding to be all the rage in the late 1990’s (e.g. Taylor, Zack, Austin, Jacob, Cameron, Jordan, Justin, Blake, Cody, etc.). All of these names were fine in and of themselves, but I figured if my son was in school and the teacher said, “Taylor, could you come to my desk, please?” seven little boys and four girls would have surrounded the teacher. “Did you mean me? I thought you meant me. You said ‘Taylor’ so I naturally assumed you meant me…” It would be anarchy. So I personally preferred a name that was more conventional, but not too stuffy.

My wife, on the other hand wanted unique names (“unique” being Latin for “ridiculous”). I eventually had to tell her that if I have to look a name up to figure out how to spell it, then she could forget that particular name. This kid is going to find life to be challenging enough. He shouldn’t have to strain to remember how to spell his own whacked out name.

One thing we actually agreed on was that we didn’t want names that were too “old fashioned.” We weren’t real hip on the idea of naming our kid something like Edith, Walter, Harlan, Myrtle, Prudence, or George. Again, not that there’s anything wrong with these names. These are all fine names so don’t fire off an angry e-mail to me over this point. It’s just that these names, as great as they are, just weren’t for us. So we needed to find some sort of middle ground in which we would agree to meet on this subject. Finally, after months of discussions and threats of lawsuits, we compromised and decided on our names. If we had a girl, she would be Abby. If we had a boy, he would be known as Ryan. We shook on it and made it an official deal.

But now I’m beginning to think we didn’t make the right decision. A recent study shows that what you name your child can actually affect his chances of succeeding in life. The theory being, if your child’s name is one of a strong nature (suggested names “Robert” or “Belinda”), he or she will be powerful and achieve at anything they set their minds to. Conversely, if you name your kid something wimpy-sounding like “Eugene” or “Stinky” or even “Stinky, II”, your little pride and joy will be forced into a life of servitude, cleaning the diaper pail of the powerfully-named child. And oddly enough, if you named your child “Biff” or “Muffy”, there is a 95 percent chance they will be the snobby “King and Queen of the Prom” in the next Porky’s-esque teen romp film.

Perhaps we should have researched names given to proven successful people, and by “successful” I mean “rich.” Because in our society, wealth translates into success, right? So if you look at it with that vain perspective, maybe we should have gone with Osama Crider? Or Kenneth Lay Crider? OJ Crider? On second thought, I think we’ll stick with the name we chose and let our child decide his own fate. And rich or poor, he can define “success” on his own…

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