Friday, June 24, 2005

How I Won the Name Game

I was reading this and I realized: "I may be one of them!" Egads!

This website is devoted to the egregious wrongs done by insipid parents in the search for the elusive "unique yet gorgeous name" for their children. Each parent is trying so desperately to avoid having any other child with their child's name that they make up crazy things and crazy spellings and ultimately and ironically, end up with a bunch of names that are amazingly similar and frankly, hokey sounding.

I am afraid that I may be one such parent, however.

It typically begins slowly. The first born will have a somewhat recognizable name with frequently a "unique" middle name.

My first born is named Gabriel Palmer [Recognizably Irish Lastname].

Gabriel because we like it and we like the shortened version (Gabe) just as well. And we liked its Celtic tradition.

Palmer for the founder of Chiropractic and the Chiropractic school we both attended. This seems well meaning but may stray into the territory of contrived namery (I just made that word up too! How creative am I?)

Our second child is named Quinlan Maia [Recognizably Irish Lastname].

We had planned to name her Maia if she were a girl because I have always always planned to name my first daughter Maia. Maia/Maja is Scandinavian for Mary and would have been my given name if my parents weren't such pussies and wimped out at the last minute to give me the lame, trite, and biblical version: Mary. Bah. So, I have always intended to right this wrong. However, in the three days leading to Quin's birth I notice suddenly scores and scores of little girls suddenly being named Maya! Different spelling, but I am no dummy. For those deluding themselves by thinking that changing the spelling changes the name: Sorry! Wrong! You lose!

Quinlan was the intended middle name and as soon as she was born we said: "She's not a Maia. Definitely a Quinlan." And so it is.

So, to sum up:

Quinlan because it is pretty and unique and shortens attractively to Quin. And it's Celtic once again. I should however note that in all baby name books, Quinlan or Quin is listed as a boys name. So I am clearly bending the rules into creative namery once again!

Maia because I must right the wrong done to me and settle The Curse of Lame Namery once and for all (to save future generations and all that).

And then the third pregnancy. We had long since settled on the perfect boy's name: Seamus. Celtic, manly, cute, and it rhymes with famous, so the child would be destined for greatness, right?

But alas, a girl's name was not so easy to settle on. We were clearly hooked on the Celtic thing and found all the names to be to Mary-ish. Not original enough, not fun or interesting, and so on. At last I gave in a bought this book, Celtic Names for Children, because it was actually written by an Irish person, rather than the usual made-up crap in Irish baby name books. We considered names in this book for weeks and finally took to just reading names aloud to each other when trapped in the car or while one of us was taking a shower. And then it happen: we found the name we both liked and... the descent into namery madness truly began.

The chosen name: Ribh. Pronounced 'Reeve'. Ribh Wallis [Recognizably Irish Last Name].

Ribh because it sounds strong and pretty at the same time and it's Celtic (duh) . For us, the fun Gaelic spelling is just an added bonus. We think of it as an opportunity to teach others a little about the wonky Gaelic alphabet and its proper pronunciation. Most encounters go a little like this:

Random Normal Person: Oh, what a sweet baby! What is her name?

Us: Ribh. Its pronounced 'reeve' like Christopher Reeve.

RNP: Oh, that's pretty/different/interesting. How to you spell it?

Us: Uuhhh. Its R. I. B. H. (talking very fast now) Because in Gaelic, a B is pronounced like a V.

RNP: Oh. (pause) What's her middle name?

Us: Wallis. (talking fast again) But it's spelled W. A. L. L. I. S. That is the feminine spelling. Like Wallis Simpson. Edward VIII gave up his throne for her in 1936.

RNP: Oh. (trying to get away) Um.

Us: But we usually just call her "Peevers".

RNP: I gotta go now. Nice meeting you. (Thinking to self: That pooor child.)

So, have we done it? Am I one of them? In my defense: I still like all their names very much, and besides Gabe, I think they will have pretty unique names. Nothing in the top 50. No Madisons or Jaydens or the like. And ultimately, at least none of them are named Mary!


Kris said...

I like the name Mary. *sniff* :(

At least you don't take totally common names and see how much you can "f" them up in spelling so they're unrecognizable.

Oh, so J'zheiynnhe is prounced Jane? It looks like the French word for what I coughed up in the sink this morning.

Kris, again said...

The worst ignorant people can do when reading and attempting to pronounce Ribh is to sound like a frog. That's not so bad.

Mar said...

Thanks Kris. I really appreciate the support. It's bad enough being a bad granola mom without adding bad namery.

What do you and your fine husband have planned for your wee one?

Anna Banana said...

Equally guilty mama signing in....
My lovely daughter's lovely name is Mielle Anne.

Mielle means "honey" in multiple languages, I think she's sweet!

Anonymous said...

As the mother who named this bolgger, Mary, at least she didn't get "Barbara", which was the girl's name chosen for the pregnancy before her!

I signed in anonymous so you won't know who I am. Hi Kris!

Carrie said...

Hey there, having named a child Jayden, in my defense we only knew ONE Jayden when we named him. Now of course with that Brittany person having named her child Jayden it's going to become very, very common. :(

Hey girl.

Carrie Wright