Sunday, May 22, 2011

What's in a name?

A recent Twitter post asking "Did you share your baby’s name before birth or did you keep it a secret?" got me thinking about my kids and their "normal" names.

We were prepared for a bit of backlash when we told our nearest and dearest that Nate's middle would be Oz.  What we were NOT expecting were the passionate arguments against giving our child an unusual name.  I mean, we were talking a middle name here.  The only people who would ever really have to know what it was were Nate himself (ooooh, Himself would make an AWESOME middle name!) and the DMV.  Anyway, from the reaction we got you would have thought that were going to name him Bilbo Baggins Feliciano (If that's your kid's name, more power to you).

The pleas of "But he'll get made fun of" and "Are you sure,  he'll be stuck with it forever" began to affect us and there - in the delivery room - we caved.  It was decided that he would have a nice "normal" middle name.  We named him after my dad and moved on with our lives.

Then came Kitty, whose given name is Catherine.  We knew that someday we'd have a girl named Catherine before we even got married.  I had a beloved Aunt named Catherine and we felt it was a good, strong name.  We were set on her first name but we agonized over her middle.  Valentine, after the sensitive sister in Ender's Game, had always been the top choice with the one caveat being that we wouldn't name her that if she was born in February, which is when she was due.So that was out.  I wanted Danger, so that she could truthfully tell people that Danger was her middle name.  SD said that was a great idea...for someone else's kid.   Phoenix was briefly considered, after my favorite X-Men character.  Then SD suggested using one of my names (I'm Catholic so, when including my hyphenated confirmation name, I have a lot of them), but I vetoed that.  Then I suggested my mother's maiden name, but that's the same a male pop singer's, so that was out.  We were getting closer when I suggested my mom's first name, which sounded great with Catherine, but that was unfair to SD's mom.  So, we figured we'd make everyone happy and give her ALL the names.  Catherine Margaret-Jean Phoenix Valentine Lynn Mary-Helen (My maiden Name) Feliciano.   We really, truly considered this until a certain relative was nearly brought to tears begging us not to "ruin the baby's life!".  We shortened it and kept just the two moms' names and people still give us grief!

Catherine Margaret-Jean Phoenix Valentine Lynn Mary-Helen (Redacted)  and Nathan Oz  in an alternate reality where their parents aren't wusses.
To be fair  we did sneak some geekery in there.  Nathan is the name of a secondary X-Men character (Cable) and Kitty's nickname was inspired by Kitty Pryde (and she's just so a Kitty).

Despite all this anxiety and flip-flopping I am happy with their names. It came down to my belief that my kids' names weren't the proper place for  me to express myself or show off my interests. Their names didn't really belong to me.  I could always change my name to Phoenix if I wanted to and if they grow up and want to change their names, I will support them.  Their names suit them, though most people's names do.  I know that a lot of people disagree with me on this, and that's fine. It would be a boring world if we all stuck with the same ten names, and I love hearing the stories behind unusual names

Did you give your child an unusual name?  Or go with something more traditional? Do you have an unusual name? Share your naming stories in the comments below.


  1. My name is HB which stands for handy butt because I like to stick my hand down my pants(: lmfao! Jk my name is Alisha Bieber<3

  2. ^^^ My youngest sister, everyone.

  3. I had twin girls, so I had the additional challenge of making sure their names went together, but weren't too matchy (no rhyming names, different first letters). We chose Ada for Countess Ada Lovelace and Molly for a character who appears in a few books by William Gibson (my husband's favorite author). I like to think of them as steampunk and cyberpunk. :) For middle names we went with my mother's middle name (also mine) and his mother's middle name. So we have Ada Marie and Molly Frances. Normal names, with geeky origins. So far they seem to suit them, but they're only 7 months old, so we'll see.

  4. My son's name is Jasper Puna'ikaika Curtis Mayfield Kavanaugh Kaloi. Puna'ikaika is Hawaiian -- my husband's family is Hawaiian, and the oldest female picks a name for the babies. She chose Puna, and Sean (husband) added ikaika, so it essentially means a strong vital force. Curtis Mayfield is for the musician, who is so very influential in our lives, and Kavanaugh is the last name of our midwife. :)

  5. we went with animal middle names and still get bugged for using Wolf with no E. Also both our kids first names have alternate spellings, so no matter what someone will spell everything wrong at somepoint. should have stuck with Bob 1 and Bob 2!

  6. My partner and I named our daughter Leia, as in the princess. For her middle name we went with my favorite grandmother, Ruby, but we had a hard time choosing between Ruby and Roslin, from Battlestar Galactica. If she had been a boy we would have named her Liam (not Luke, ha ha), inspired by Colonel Tigh's choice for his potential son in BSG, as well.


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