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Baby Name Ronan: One of these kids–and his name– is not like the others.

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By Tara Wood

We have six kids–four girls and two boys. And while they are all different, most of them also have several common personality traits. They are mostly friendly, loving, even-tempered and overall agreeable. Most of them have relatively common names. They are : Juliette (Jules), Bella, Mia, Leo and Norah.

I say “most” because kid Number 5 is not like the others. No, our Ronan has been….curiously different. He’s wonderful- don’t get me wrong- but he’s clearly unlike his siblings. We’ve parented him the same way, used the same discipline techniques and showered him with an equal amount of love and affection as was shown his siblings. The only thing that we’ve done dissimilar is choose a name for him that is a little more left of center than his brother’s and sisters’.

I’m wondering if we set this kid up to be a lunatic. Where his brothers and sisters easily engage in polite conversation and fawning over from friends and strangers alike, Ronan very much dislikes attention from folks he doesn’t know. He is likely to scream “Noooooo!” and shake his head wildly at the elderly lady in the checkout line at Target who was only trying to compliment his big blue eyes, mortifying me more times than I can remember. I’ve found myself making excuses for his cantankerousness so often that I try to rotate the explanations: ‘Oh, he’s hungry’ or ‘Sorry! It’s past his nap time’ or ‘Pardon him, it’s Thursday- he’s like this on days that end in the word ‘day’.’ His older siblings know the deal and they’ve begged strangers not to try to engage Ronan. Leo just recently told an older gentleman in the grocery store “Oh, please don’t talk to him…he’ll hurt your feelings.”

Did we set Ronan up to have a “distinct” personality because of the name we chose for him? I know this is not the case in reality, of course. His temperament would be the same whether we named him James or Banjo or Ronan.

The story of his name took a turn toward the end of my pregnancy with him. We had planned, from the moment we were told that he was a boy, to name him Alec Ronan. I loved it, my husband loved it, the other kids were on board, it was settled and that was great…I could stop obsessing. I just wanted to run it by the other Nameberry readers. I wrote a post on the ‘Boys names’ forum and announced “We have a name!” “Alec Ronan Wood will join our family in September!” We received only the most positive feedback, until someone commented that when she said “Alec Wood” out loud, it sounded like “I lick wood.” It was a gut punch and she was right–I could’t UNhear “I lick wood”. It didn’t bother my husband, but I knew instantly that we’d have to find a different first name.

Within days of going back to the drawing board, my sweet, selfless Uncle Ronald passed away from a battle with lung cancer. I loved him dearly but no one on this earth loved him as much as my dad did. To see my own 6’2″ father’s body collapse in the hospital upon hearing that his beloved brother had only hours left triggered something sentimental in me that I hadn’t considered before. Maybe we could use Ronan in the first name spot to honor my Uncle Ronald? It seemed like perfect timing…a gesture of love and respect by naming my dad’s fifth grandchild after his beloved brother and thus ending the search for a new first name. We’d use Arthur, my grandfather’s name, in the middle spot. It is also Irish in origin and I liked that it was classic next to the more offbeat Ronan. I was slightly worried about how Ronan would be received down here in Georgia where I’d never encountered the name. I took a deep breath and took the plunge knowing that I’d answer “He’s named in honor of my Uncle who passed away” when people would almost certainly ask “Where’d you come up with THAT name?” It helped, also, that we come from Irish stock and are Catholic as Ronan is the name of several Irish saints.

Ronan was born with an Irish street-fighter temperament, a loose cannon.  I know that his name didn’t shape his personality- that can’t really happen, can it?- but I do think he is perfectly named. The name Ronan is strong and handsome and confident…just like our boy.  In fact, the only hesitation I had about naming him Ronan Arthur Wood is that his initials would spell RAW. But the kid’s emotions are, in fact, raw and unrefined so it worked out well. Plus, when people say “So his initials spell ‘RAW’?” we just say “Yeah…he’s RAWesome.”. Because he truly is.

Have you experienced a similar name/personality corollary?

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About the author

irishmom

Tara Wood aka Irishmom is a fledgling writer, stay at home mom to 6 cheeky and joyful children, and wife to one ridiculously handsome man. You can read more on her (almost) daily blog, Morning Wood.
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