Adrienne of Baby Toolkit tagged us a few days ago with the following meme:
Give the meaning of your kids’ names, and write about what or how or why you gave the name to your kids. Tag five people to play along and leave a comment at their blog to let them know they have been tagged.Like Adrienne and her husband Jim, we don't use Z's name online, in part because Z Recommends is primarily a product recommendation blog, not a parents' journal, and we want to keep some distance, however artificial, between our private lives and this public service. That's the subject of a post for another day, and a purely personal choice. But today, we're here to talk about names! Head to Baby Toolkit to read Adrienne's inspired dodging of the question - she does a pretty much comprehensive guide to choosing a name, so I won't even go there. Instead, I'll break a family taboo and share all of the names, boy and girl, that we seriously considered while awaiting Z's arrival.
We laugh now as parents trying to imagine what it would be like to have to call a child some of them - "eat your peas, Xerxes!" - these things are so much more abstract before you are actually a parent. But some of the names still hold a special place in our hearts, so rather than letting them go to waste, we've started using them. More on that, and some of the sources of our unusual names, after the lists. For each gender, an asterisk (*) denotes a name that made it into the final draft of our list of possibilities. We were seriously considering all of the names on these lists, and anything with an asterisk was on our final shortlist. The only names I've excised, in the true spirit of meme subversion, are the first and middle name we ultimately chose for our daughter.
Cosmo* ("order, universe")
Hartley* (for me, after Hal and Marsden)
Holland* (a place-name)
Isaac ("he will laugh")
Jasper* (a dear friend)
Jordaan* (a district in Amsterdam)
Jory* ("earth worker")
Parker* (for Jenni, after Parker Posey)
Danny (a dear friend)
Riley* (a dear friend's last name)
Tatum* (after Tatum O'Neill, solely for her character in Paper Moon)
Twyla (after Twyla Tharp)
Those names came from the following sources:
- About ten baby name books: Let's face it, they all suck in some way. One interesting candidate per ten thousand names was about our rate.
- The Baby Name Voyager: Great for browsing as well as for vetting names for excessive popularity.
- Family names and names associated with friends
- A few Great Works of Literature we happen to have read and remembered
- U.S. Census Bureau lists of top names from each decade: The best resource we found for unusual names, Census Bureau data offers a variety of unusual names that were once quite commonplace.
A toddler has a difficult enough time with gender pronouns without being asked to anthropomorphize an inanimate object without them, so as soon as we got these little robots and began discussing their presence in our house I latched onto the idea that the Roomba was a boy and the Scooba was a girl. When we decided to name them, I thus proposed that it would be an opportunity for us to use one each of our unused boy and girl names from The List. After a bit of snickering about it, we pulled out our compendium and realized that there were many valuable names there, and that it would indeed give us some pleasure to bring them back into our lives in some way.
We chose Cosimo, an Italian variant of Cosmo, for the Roomba - a name signifying "order" seemed only fitting for a robot vacuum cleaner. For the Scooba, none of the names seemed quite appropriate, and we settled on Rosie, a nod to the Jetsons' robot maid.
I can see other uses for our baby name list. As cute as it is to have toddlers name their stuffed animals, for example, there is a certain failure of the language when a child christens five different teddy bears "Bear" and then insists on a PARTICULAR ONE to help brush her teeth OR ELSE, so I've begun gently suggesting names for friends who lack names with character or charm. Making up a random story about the stuffed animal's origins is enough to sell her on an unusual name.
Here's the fun part: Passing on the meme. I tag Mimi of Shiso Mama; Jennifer at Eco Child's Play; and the amazing authors of Lucky Beans and HerBadMother. Note to each of you, if you're willing to participate: See the top of this post for the meme instructions, and feel free to violate them however you like. I'd also like to perform an international tagging operation: I'm tagging the French blogger behind the amazing La Chataigne, for whom I have the following, possibly-quite-poor translation:
Fournissez la signification des noms de vos enfants. Écrivez au sujet de ce qui ou de la façon dont ou pourquoi vous avez choisi ces noms pour vos enfants. Choisissez cinq personnes répondre à la même question et laisser un commentaire à leur blog faites-les les connaître ont été étiquetés.Happy blogging!