We in the world of naming often blithely declare, “your baby, you choose the name.” It makes sense, right? I mean … the sleepless nights, the countless diapers, the tears on the first day of school (oh wait, that was me), the coaxing to take just three more bites, the countless miles driving to sports practice and scouts and music lessons, and … well, yeah. Of course, the parents choose the name.
But if you’re lucky enough to have loved ones in it with you – and if you’re raising a child, oh, how I hope that you do – then you know that this isn’t some epic one-woman solo flight. If we rely on the strong embrace of our community when it’s all too much, either in the ordinary dailiness, or in the truly tragic moments? When we have them there to celebrate the milestones and the victories? Then maybe there’s something to be said for taking kind and thoughtful advice on names from the members of our team.
And so I’m intrigued by this couple who let their family veto their top name choice – Becker – and substitute a new one instead – Parker. It sounds bananas, but then … this is their third kiddo. Maybe that’s the moment that you decide your extended family really should have some input, because they’re such a big part of your kids’ lives?
Maybe I’m much too selfish to ever go that route, but I wonder if there’s wisdom to it? Have you ever consulted loved ones about your child’s name? Like really asked, not just looked for a stamp of approval after the choice is made?
Sometimes, the Mystery Monday names at the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources just absolutely grab me. If you’ve never read through the DMNES, well, clear your calendar. And you’re welcome. It’s both scholarly and addictive. Sometimes it affirms what I think I know about language, and sometimes it proves me utterly wrong. They post Mystery Monday names on their blog, too – names they find in records, but can’t explain. Yet. This week’s entry really grabbed me: Josiere. It appears in the register of a Walloon church in Canterbury in the late 1500s. Names never cease to surprise.
Apple gets a lot of flack, but fruit names can be pretty awesome. Ava to Zeke has a deep dive into all the deliciousness here. I’m not sold on Quince, but Mirabelle? Yes, please!
For all the talk of names on kindergarten class lists, this might be the first piece I’ve seen on how names are changing at college. Naturally, the names reflect the student bodies of the institutions they attend. All kinds of fascinating. And I very much want to visit the campus of California’s Soka University, where the only name to repeat among their incoming freshmen class is Haruka.
I so want to say your name correctly. True story: I recently realized I’d been mispronouncing the name of the new girl in my daughter’s school for an entire year. She was too polite or too shy to correct me, and her father let it go, too. It was another kid who said, “Oh wait, Mrs. Sandel, do you mean NamePronouncedCorrectly?” And so I appreciate this column about exactly this struggle, found via Clare’s marvelous Scoop.it page, Name News. People deserve to be called what they want to be called, and I’m happy to make the effort.
Duana praises portmanteau surnames, and I am nodding my head along to everything she says. We often avoid making naming choices because we worry they’ll cause confusion in the future. But we really can’t predict how these things will play out. What we do know is what feels right to us at the moment we’re making our choices.
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!