Friday, December 6, 2013

Evolution of a Name

Out there in baby world, I'm realizing that choosing the perfect name for baby is, for some people, close to an obsession. There are websites and message boards dedicated solely to the concept. There are rules many studiously follow (have first/middle names of varying syllables; don't end a first name with the same syllable a last name starts with, and on and on). So many people seem quite concerned with giving their child a unique name that isn't anywhere near the Top 100 list.

I personally can think of worse things that could happen than having another child in your kid's class have the same first name, but okay.

Anyone looking at our family can see Dan and I haven't really ever embarked on the Herculean task of finding the perfect, one-of-a-kind name. Our baby naming process usually goes like this: I have fun looking through big books of names, write a bunch of possibilities down, he nixes most of them while throwing in some completely ridiculous suggestions for good measure. Finally, we both decide on something we can live with. "Anna" was a compromise for me. You know how a name can get ruined because of someone from a million years ago you might associate it with? Yeah, that. "Ethan" is a ridiculously popular name...but we could only agree on that and "Jacob," another ridiculously popular name, so Ethan it was, decided in the elevator on the way up to Labor & Delivery.

Now we are onto baby #3, and the kids aren't exactly thrilled with our policy to not share baby's name in advance (hey, there has to be some element of surprise, right?). We already know the gender (I hope! Can't even think about the possibility of a mix-up). All we will tell them is that we are sticking with our rather strange policy of using a name that you could find in the Bible if you really, really looked for it. This one's probably the most obscure of all, as far as the Biblical connection is concerned. Of course, this stumps them, big time. Not related to his knowledge of Biblical names, but Ethan keeps asking if her name is "Sarah." I think it's the only girl name that ever comes to his mind. Anna likes to come up with all sort of outlandish possibilities.

Awhile back, she protested: "We have to at least come up with a nickname. We can't keep calling the baby 'it.'" This was before we knew the gender, so I suggested stealing from an old Beverly Cleary book. I used to love the Ramona Quimby series, and in one book, when Ramona is just about Anna's age, the mom has a baby and they call it "Algie" the whole time she's pregnant. I have no idea why. I think it's from some sort of poem they quote in the book.

"How about Algie, from Ramona Forever?" I asked. Some days I'm too tired to try to be original.

"Algae?" Anna wrinkled her nose, thinking of science class.

"No, not algae. Algie." I showed her the excerpt from the book.

So Algie it was, until we found out Algie was a girl. Then Anna christened her "Algina." I saw the looks people gave us one day at the library when Anna announced, "Oh, baby Algina would LOVE this!" I get the feeling Algina wouldn't be a fan favorite...and I'm pretty sure it's not on that Top 100  name list.

Of course, in typical Ethan fashion, he didn't really like or understand the whole Algie or Algina thing for awhile. The concept of a temporary nickname is a little difficult to understand. And sometimes he gets hung up on pronunciations...

Which is why you will now see him most evenings, curled up on the couch next to me, and speaking lovingly to my stomach: "Hello Allergy. This is your big brother."

Yes, Algina has morphed into Allergy. It's second nature now.

I wonder if he talks about her at school...the impending arrival of his new sister, Allergy.

I wonder if he's going to be so into the routine that her actual name is going to throw him for a loop. I have tried to tell him this is just her temporary name. But of course, he didn't read Ramona Quimby, so I don't know if this is sticking.

Whatever the case, he'll get it eventually. He's fairly flexible. Except about the smell of dirty diapers. There we may really have a problem. But that's a story for another day...

No comments: