Monday, September 22, 2014

Name Games

Nearly 35 weeks in, we've finally come up with a name and a middle name. Phew. Otherwise he may have to go by the nickname we've been calling him, "Moose" (due to our recent hiking in Newfoundland, where their majesty presides and due to alliteration with my hubby's surname). We'll probably still call him Moose between ourselves though, particularly as his antlers have already shown through his solid stubbornness. Our little boy knows what he wants and no one is going to stand in his way. Running out of room in his home, my little tenant has realized that putting his feet up between my ribs is comfortable, not knowing how that affects his landlord. Ouch! When we move him, he comes right back to position. Every time I get hungry, he starts fretting, kicking this way and that as if to communicate to me that he has to be fed. One time, Sir Moose voiced vociferously through his ferocious kicking that he did not appreciate his napping disturbed by my laptop on top of my belly, blasting out tunes.

If Moose were a girl, we would have a name set by the end of the first trimester. I made it clear no exes and paramours would make the cut and we both liked the same names. After discounting one name for its popularity and one due to our goddaughter having the same name, we finalized a name we both loved that just 'fit' - save for the fact that I was carrying a boy and the name we picked was distinctly female.

Unisex names are quite fine by me - I was named after my father and we both use the shortened form name. However, coming from a more masculine culture, which has no doubt pervaded my perspective on all issues of sex and gender, I prefer unisex names for girls. After all, there have been many previously male names that have been completely coopted by the female camp so that now naming your son one such name would be tantamount to putting him in high heels and a pink tutu (which might actually be quite liberating, but as hilarious my husband's expression may be on seeing such a scene, I would not want to see its consequence, which I imagine to be his 6'2' 195 pound frame on the floor and my 5'1' 110- pre pregnancy!- inability to pick him up). Hardly anybody would name their boy Leslie, Ashley, Hillary or Vivian  (which really did go with the wind with the rise of its star) these days, albeit these were historically male and/or unisex names.

Although we had said we wouldn't follow our cultural traditions of naming our children after our parents, my husband posed both our fathers' names. In particular he liked my father's name, but as much as it is dignified, Greek and imposing, it's also my name, and having three generations respond to one name was not something I fancied. I did acquiesce to have my father's name as a middle name, which I think he would favour (our tradition however being that it should be the father's name, but to heck with it - as Gandhi said, we must swim but not sink in the waters of tradition). My husband then fought for his father's name, but I was not fond of his father's name, which always impressed upon me an older person and was also tainted by the fact that it used to be my dog's name. I pointed out that his dad got the benefit of having his surname passed on and after a while, my husband gave in to my veto.

He also threw in a veto on a name I was set on by the end of the first trimester. Of Latin origin, it meant "fortunate" and was not very popular and I had zero connection with it. My husband thought it more attune to a pet and vetoed it. I then composed a list of my favourite male names and handed it to my husband with the express disclaimer that some of those names contained ex paramours (the names of my more serious engagements permanently affecting those names in my memory and not on the list). I figured, like me, he would immediately ask me to take them off the list, but instead, he said he didn't care and asked me not to tell him which names they were. Then, he vetoed a bunch of names, leaving three, with one soon discounted by the joyful announcement that we were to be godparents to a boy with one of the names.

I agonized for a few months over the fact that my husband's favourite of our short list was the name of an ex paramour, as I would not be comfortable with the converse situation. I voiced to him one more time that one name on our short list included a possibly "tainted" name and he continued to assert he didn't care. I then confided in my friends, who told me to leave the issue alone, but I still fretted. Maybe he wasn't understanding what I meant, so one day, I brought up the list of three and bluntly stated one name was a longer than usual fling. My husband waved me away, stating he didn't want to know. I then called my sister in law and asked for her advice. Once she told me that her brother really didn't care and didn't want to know, I let it go.

We love the name because it's a standard in both our cultures, easy to pronounce for everyone (but the Japanese - oh well, you can't have it all!), means "bringer of light",  is not overwhelmingly popular, passed the "tease test" - after going in character as five year olds to fifteen year olds and putting all the names on our list to the test (after all kids can be cruel!) and fits his stubborn, fiery character.

Moose, you have a name!






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