Well, we’re snowed in up to our kneecaps at least and haven’t seen the last of it yet. I’ve already made soup, baked sweet rolls and watched a movie. I figure now’s as good a time as any to finally blog about choosing a name for Turtle.
We’ve had the name completely set for about three weeks now. We agreed on the first name about a week or so before finding the perfect middle name to accompany it. For some reason, it was important for me to get the name settled on as quickly as possible. Otherwise the urge to constantly search for names would completely eat up all my free brainspace and I wouldn’t be able to function.
So while I’m not going to reveal the name we chose until Turtle is born, I do want to talk a little bit about the process. I’m lucky in that my DH was on the same page as me in terms of what we wanted in a name. First, nothing ordinary. I have trouble remembering ordinary names, especially in boys. John, Joe, Mike, Bob, Bill, Chris. If I meet someone with one of these names, chances are I will forget it immediately. It’s like I file it away, never to be recalled again.
I’m borrowing a page from one of my favorite blogger’s books, when she wrote: “for me, to name a child is to swaddle him/her with meaning.” She named her first daughter Fable Luella, her twin girls Boheme Shalom and Reverie Lux. Her son is Archer Sage. Some people may think that’s crazy but I think it’s crazy beautiful. Another fine example? Bob and Cortney Novogratz. They have a whopping SEVEN children with names like Wolgang, Bellamy, Tallulah, Breaker, Five, Holleder and, my personal favorite, Major.
But what defines ordinary? What defines unique? The first question was a little easier for us. We didn’t want a name that appeared on any sort of “top 100″ list. So no Aiden, Jackson, Ethan, Noah, Jacob or Logan. None of these names. On the Social Security website, you can check the popularity of a name going back 133 years. The name we’ve chosen for Turtle is not in the top 1,000 male names for any year of birth in the last 133 years. We like that.
Another name we considered hadn’t appeared on the index since 1881, until 2004 when it appeared and gradually started making its way up the list from the 900s up to the 400s last year. This tells us that it’s becoming more and more popular. In a few years, it could break the top 100 or even top 50, and then we’d be swearing it was unique back when we chose it, even though every other kid in class has the same name.
Unique is so subjective and impossible to define. When people ask me about the name, I usually tell them we like unique special names but nothing too crazy. The next thing they ALWAYS say is, “Like Apple?” Always. I’ve had about seven people say that to me. And then I have to break it to them that I actually like Apple. I think that’s a lovely name for a baby, a little girl, a grown woman and an old lady. So I like unique but not unusual. In 2012, some people named their baby boys ESPN, Ball, Burger, Hippo, Google, and Jedi. If there’s a line, that’s where I draw it.
Another criteria: it has to be something that ages well. I like old-timey names, but they have to work for a child too. I also think there are names that are adorable for children but won’t work as well on a business card.
For Turtle, we wanted a name that conveyed strength, even perseverance or tenacity. It had to be a name of substance, because we feel our Turtle is a fighter in many ways. The name we chose was something DH loved immediately. I always loved it too but it took me some time to come around to it, because I knew of others with that name. But eventually I just got over it. I realized that as long as we loved the name, that was all that mattered. We’re not looking to give our kid a name that no one else has ever had (ahem, Burger). And once the name was settled, it was like there was no other name it could ever be. No other name appealed to me after that.
Then the challenge of finding a perfect middle name ensued. I’ll be able to write about this much more after he’s born but I am in love with the name we’ve chosen. The meaning, the way it works with the first name, everything about it, I love.
I know our name views may seem unusual to some, I know many will judge, and that’s fine by me. I may judge your choice of William or Benjamin a little bit. But not much. To each their own, I say.