If you’re female, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about.
“I’m going to have two boys and a girl, and they’re going to be named Bailey, L.B. and Isabel.”
Even when people asked about my fictional children’s hypothetical father, I had an answer. “He can have the middle name.”
So, you can imagine my surprise when, actually pregnant, I told the SO my idea for our baby boy’s name, and he said, “no.”
Sixteen years of planning, and it all came crashing down with one “no.”
After my disappointment/confrontation with reality, the SO and I began the baby naming hunt/game in earnest. For me, I think this process is best described by a woman I met at a baby shower: “I pick names and my husband shoots them down.”
I read a baby book.
I read a baby book with 10,000 names in it.
I highlighted my favorite names and created a working list.
I shared my working list with the SO via a Google doc that we could both edit.
The SO chose to yell things out as we drove or shopped at Target. (He didn’t seem to get the memo about my baby book or Google doc.)
It went something like this:
“What? Am I going to hit a rock? Is there something in the road?”
“No, what do you think about Rock for the baby?”
“As a cheap toy?” I said. “A nursery theme?”
“As a name.”
LeTron, Shogun and Lightning all came to my attention this way.
For the record, I am not someone who could own a cool, alt baby name. Some people fit with an Apple. I do not.
A hip baby name would only cause me deep shame and judgment every time I checked in at the pediatrician’s office or had something monogrammed.
“What would you like on the towels again?”
“You know, like the Instagram filter.”
And the idea of standing in front of all the other mothers with my non-cloth-diaper-wearing son while the nurse called out “Lysol” or “Legume” is too much for me.
For awhile, I was convinced my child would be named Samurai because the SO and I couldn’t agree on anything, and, at least, as a friend pointed out, I could shorten “Samurai” to “Sam.”
I vividly remember being very pregnant, driving around and crying thinking about the years ahead spent introducing Samurai to his teachers and coaches. (All of whom would be very disapproving.)
So, when, four days before I went into labor, the SO suggested “Benjamin,” I jumped on it.
Before that moment, Benjamin had not been in my top 5 or even my top 25. But, by then, I would have gone with anything to avoid a Samurai or LeTron (LeTronica for a girl).
This is also why I really think the SO played me for the long con. A note to the men out there: if you want to win the baby name game, just hold out any and all non-absurd names until your partner is in labor. Darth, Leppard and Gandolf sound a lot more appealing when you think your alternatives are Drapery and Hopscotch.
And while Benjamin might not have been in the top 25 names during my pregnancy or the first 33 years of my life, it quickly rose in the ranks as my favorite name once it was attached to my favorite little person.
I fell in love with the name as I fell in love with my baby, and now, I can’t imagine wanting a Bailey or L.B. instead.
This is also why you don’t tell people your baby names. Nobody loves Esther or Grayson in theory, but everyone loves it once it’s attached to 10 pounds of cuddly, squirmy baby.
So, getting back to my title, the truth is that your name might not have been your parent’s first choice at first, but it probably is now.
“We always like the name ‘Benjamin,’” is a far better story than, “I used to curse your father and cry thinking you’d be called ‘Samurai.’”
Photo by mwookie.