39w2d: naming and identity

My name is a product of my mother’s world – the time at which she got married, her religion, her class, her husband and where she lived. A throng of foo-Maries came out of the lower-to -middle-middle class Irish Catholic Northeast in the 50’s and 60’s, and in spite of my birth year, I got a fifties “foo”. Drop the Marie from my full name, and you end up with something that sounds less like a person and more like a media construct – so common, there are, according to a former reporter at CNET, at least three women with that name  and spelling in high-tech pr and media relations.

My birthname, also a foo-Marie, had a more distinct path. Sans surname, it’s shared with Elvis’ little lady. With the birth father’s name in place, it is the name of HRC’s pr counsel back in her First Lady days – which gave both my birthmother and me a little chuckle. As dowdy as Janet is, I never saw myself as a Lisa, much less a Lisa Marie, so I left it alone.

Ben came into the world early, and with a list of 19 possible names. Five days later, he was Benjamin, even though his father had vetoed it months before. I wish I could say we’re doing a better job this time around, but no.

The working list we had for some time had only 5 names:

  • Lucia
  • Maria
  • Natalia
  • Lily (H’s choice)
  • Julia, then Rosalind (my choice)

It’s heavy on the latin names, because they can be pronounced in Danish and English. Of course, the usual rules apply – ex-lovers and annoying classmates and colleagues have wiped out a slew of perfectly reasonable names. H is beginning to think Maria sounds too religious. I have to explain to him that Lily Frystyk N. sounds to me like the star of the morning shift at a 24-7 German strip club… even if it is the name of his paternal grandmother.

His new test, no doubt inspired by the political season, is what name looks best on a lawn sign. But as someone with one of those names, I’d like to give her a little more than that. And so the list is very long, even though it is populated with names that he has pre-vetoed. (Like Benjamin.)


Filed under "getting ready for baby", adoption, babies, baby, children, identity, naming

4 responses to “39w2d: naming and identity

  1. Paula Anderson

    As another 40-something with the middle name Marie, I feel your pain. But then what did I do, I saddled my own daughter with another form of Mary for her first name.

    A warning on Lily, though. She will be one of a half dozen in her classroom. The baby group at the library is full of Lilys. Julia was very popular about five years ago, but there are fewer now.

    Would Lucia by Loosha or LooCeeA?

    Natalia was also on my top ten the first time around, alas vetoed by husband. KGB femme fatale, he said. But I like it. :^)

    Good luck with your choice! I’m sure it will be perfect.

  2. Hey, Paula!

    I remember you telling me, “Mary is a hard luck name.” ;)

    I think I have nixed the Lily (in spite of the fondness I have for Miss Briscoe and her lavender line) but good. Lucia would be Lou-See-Ya, yes. That’s the danish pronunciation. I could also call her sweet lou, and any other assortment of things that would make her cringe in public, and make for a good memoir later.

    Natalia is there because I like Talia, and H nixed it. The accent is in the right place to avoid a hard handed NN alliteration.

    H’s favorite now, though, is Annelise. Which I like, too.

  3. Katie

    Annelise is very pretty! I also like Rosalie – I know someone who used that name as a way to placate German, French and American relatives who all wanted a name they could pronounce.

    Let me second that there is an abundance of Lilys these days. Also Olivias.

  4. Is it just me, or do names affect the personality of people who wear them? I usually feel much more of an affinity with a Richard than with a James or a David.

    By the way, I think I’ve yet to meet a Natalie who hasn’t been particularly beautiful in face and spirit. Maybe that would stretch to a Natalia.

    Lucia is nice, too, though I’d want to work at keeping it from becoming just Lucy outside the home. (Indoors, though, that’s got a nice familiar feel to it.)

    Choosing names is a great way of tapping into that ‘what does the future hold?’ pondering that really adds spice to life. Good luck with it. I’m still chuffed that we found Kenzo just in time for our young gentle man.

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