So, my husband and I deliberated over names for our baby for months. And, we made the mistake of sharing our progress. At every family/friend encounter, it would inevitably come up. Have you decided on names for the baby? What names are you thinking about? Of course, we hadn't decided on names. But, we had a running list of favorites. We would toss a few names out to appease the crowd, to often get less than favorable responses. Someone would say, "Oh, you like that name?" Or just "huh." The best was, "I knew so-and-so with that name and they were crazy. You can't name your baby that!" Everybody has an opinion.
Behind the scenes, naming our baby started out as a fun little game early in our pregnancy. We would be driving in the car or sitting in the living room and I'd say something like, "How do you like the name Claire?" "Not bad, how do you like Robert?" he'd respond. This fun exchange went on for a few months as we tested out names. It did get a bit silly at times. We would both come up with unusable names just to see how the other would respond. My husband would start by saying with a straight face, "I really have always loved the name Agnes. Wouldn't it be great to name our daughter that?" Or, "Ethel is a family name. It would mean a lot to me if we could name our first-born daughter Ethel." I'd join in with "If we do have a girl, I'd like to call her Wilhelmina after my father William."
As time pushed forward the naming got a bit more intense. I'd say, "Honey how do you like the names Faith or Hope for a girl?" To which my husband would reply, "No. Sounds to hippie." "Ok, how about Morgan, Madison or Lauren then?" I'd counter. "Uh-no. Too yuppie," he quipped. "Alright, do you like the name Jessica?" I offered. "No. I knew a girl named Jessica and she was a real b... (I'm sure you can fill in the blank)." He said.
So, I'd let a few days go by and try again. "I really like the name Leslie for a boy." My husband responded, "No way, that is a girl's name." OK, then. "How does Nathanial or Joshua strike you?" I suggested. "No, they are Jewish names and we are Catholic" was his answer.
Baby names were a subject we never covered while dating. We knew we wanted children and figured the rest would sort itself out. Never expected this to be a point of contention. So, half-way through our pregnancy we still didn't have any names we agreed on. And, as we decided that the sex of the baby was going to be a surprise, we had double the fun in front of us. Although, I did know hippie or yuppie names weren't going to fly and any ethnic sounding names were out too. The only trouble was I wasn't sure what names he considered hippie or yuppie or too ethnic? When I asked my husband to explain, he'd just laugh. Real funny.
Now, I love my husband dearly. But, I would have never guessed he'd be so involved in the naming of our children. He could care less how I decorate the house. He hates to shop. Doesn't have much opinion on clothes or accessories. But, surprise. He has very definite opinions about the names of our children. I thought most men let their wives name the kids! Why not mine?!
I was starting to feel a time crunch. We were running out of time and for all of our effort only had a long list of "NO" names on our list. So, it was time to change our approach. I went out and bought a few books on baby names.
Since our heritage was Celtic, I thought it might be nice to look at Irish and Scottish names. So, I leafed through the name books looking for names rich with heritage and meaning. I found a name I loved for a girl, Ainsley. The name means my meadow.
My husband hated the name, Ainsley. So, I let it go for a while and we focused on boy names. Here are some of the names I suggested - Ian, Logan, Dylan, Austin, Luke, and Connor. The response - no, no, no, no, no, and no. So, what names do you like darling? My husband replied, "I really like the name Thomas." And, guess what. I did too. Finally, we have a name...for a boy. We even agreed on a middle name. So, Thomas William it was. Whew!
Feeling really good that we nailed down a boy's name, I thought for sure I could get a girl's name I liked in. I brought Ainsley back to the table. My husband still didn't like it (hated it).
So, back to the books and the internet. I poured through our naming books and searched all of the baby naming sites I could find. I even went to the Social Security Administration's website - http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/. You can find popular baby names by year, going back over 100 years. Very cool resource! I was really looking for a not-too-common name that had some cultural reference to who we were as people. But, alas, no luck.
Well into my third trimester, I lie in bed at night flipping through naming books looking for that perfect girl's name. One night, my husband took the book right out of my hands and said let me take a look at this. He flipped through the pages for a while and then stopped. I said, "What?" He said, "Lindsay." I said, "Yes!"
Surprisingly, my husband came up with all the names. Even, the middle ones. We were hanging out in the living room a couple weeks later, brainstorming middle names for Lindsay when he suggested Ryan. Lindsay Ryan...I loved it. And, as fate would have it, we had a little girl.
It sure did take a lot of work to get our names squared away. But thankfully, we are still happily married.
A word of advice about naming for first-timers. Keep it to yourself; a little mystery is good for people.