Category: choosing a name
By Gay Cioffi
When my son was about to be born, close to thirty years ago, there were very few resources for parents-to-be to turn to for ideas for names. Nothing as wonderful as Nameberry, for sure! As a veteran nursery school teacher of ten years, I had the added challenge of having favorite names already taken by my many students. I loved the name Oliver, but I would forever associate it with one of the adorable boys in my first nursery school class. And as the youngest in a family of three brothers and a sister, my older siblings had also gotten to favorites of mine, before I was even of childbearing age. I will never forget the phone call from my mother announcing that my sister Ann had just delivered a new baby girl and that she was naming her Jennifer. I went completely silent as I stood in the hallway of my college dorm. “What’s wrong?” my mother asked. I hesitated, but finally confessed that I was hoping someday to have a daughter named Jennifer. Of course, when I reached my sister by phone later that day I had only enthusiasm for the news of a new niece and her beautiful name.
When I was naming each of my three children, I was overwhelmed (my family would say obsessed) with the near impossible task of encoding more of life into one word than seemed possible. My third child, a girl, proved an unprecedented challenge. My husband, mystified, would tell me to choose a name I just liked.
But my process was different, I insisted. There had to be an origami of symbolism! “You’re like Borges,” one friend told me, confronted with an ornate justification for the name May. I don’t think he meant it as a compliment. Assorted friends and family looked questioningly at similar extrapolations on favorites like Roxana, Inka, Frieda, Silvia, Maren, Louisa, and Judith (nickname Jude, what’s not to like?). Just keep thinking, my mother advised. And think I did, though with increasing guilty anxiety. Why was it so hard?
Hey!, we thought. Here we are, a name site, with lots of regular visitors who are fascinated by names and think and know a lot about the subject, and yet they’re known by names they’ve invented for themselves. So where did those names come from?
Guest blogger Nina Badzin has a name problem, and it’s all her husband’s fault.
You would love my husband, Bryan. He’s the guy who lovingly supports my fiction aspirations, encourages trips to writing conferences, preaches delightfully quaint parenting advice, and gets constant praise on my blog.
Put all that good stuff aside for this post, because now we’re mad at him.
Get this: Bryan has lost faith in my baby naming abilities. MY abilities! Aren‘t I the person whose meanderings about baby names got reprinted on Nameberry and BlogHer? No decent person in his right mind would take away what will likely be my last chance to name a new soul.
ME: I think we should change Elissa‘s name.
HIM: Fine. Let’s do it.
ME: Seriously? She’s two.
Guest blogger Nina Badzin, a Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction writer, loves baby names so much she wants to pick one for you. Here, her story.
I’m obsessed with baby names. Freakishly obsessed. In fact, I’d like to name your baby.
Ask my friends. I’m breathlessly giddy when someone asks my opinion on a combination of first and middle names with the surname or the siblings’ names. My heart races just thinking about it.
Thank goodness I write fiction, which means I can legitimately waste time on baby-name sites when I’m creating characters. Although last year I actually published a story about a couple arguing in the hospital over what to name their third boy. I warned you–freakishly obsessed.
So . . . clearly I have a problem. But lucky for you, if you’re expanding your family or naming characters for stories and novels, I’m offering my collection of names as a good starting point.
The names below have stood the test of time. Whose test? MINE! Hey–it’s my blog post. What is the “test” based on? Gut feel. That’s all. I like a name or I don’t. But for the purposes of the list below, I tried to provide some sort of logical headings. It should be noted (because I want kudos for my restraint) that I can provide an even longer list of names I think you should avoid, but I’d rather not insult the blogosphere. At least not today.