Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's In A Name?

After all of the emotional excitement of finding out you're pregnant, one of the next steps is coming up with a name for the bundle of joy.  Considering what passes for names these days, I don't think everyone spends as much time deciding on a name, as I did.

One of the main considerations in a name, for me, was that no matter HOW you arranged the initials, nothing embarrassing could be spelled.  And this included all possible combinations of letters for a last name--this, if and when, my daughters would get married and change their names.  I spent HOURS working this out.

The first step of the process with each potential name was the straight-forward initials--first, middle, last.  Considering our last name starts with a 'K,' I didn't see too many problems.  I could have named my daughter 'Annie Sue' and her initials would have spelled 'ASK,' which wasn't too bad.  However, if she married someone with the last name of 'Smith,' THEN we'd have some trouble--the initials would, of course, spell 'ASS.'   Every name I could think of went through this scrutiny.  Also, I checked all combinations that would come up with a traditional monogram--where the last initial is in the middle and the first and last are on either side of it.  This brought up an entire set of additional problems.  To say this was a long process, is putting it mildly.  (Thank goodness I had almost full-term pregnancies--it took the entire eight months to go through all combinations!)

When picking names for the girls, I also had other considerations.  For my first, I wanted to give her a variation of my own first name.  Using the middle name of 'Marie' is a bit of a tradition, so my first was getting that as HER middle name.  (My great-grandmother's name was Marie, my grandmother's middle name was Marie, and The Mother's middle name is Marie.  My first's middle name is Marie and my first granddaughter's middle name is, too.  Five generations and, hopefully, it will continue.)  This gave The Oldest the initials of CMK, same as mine.  Try as I might, I couldn't come up with anything too embarrassing using those three letters--or any letter she could possibly marry into.  As it turned out, she married someone with the last initial of 'H' the first time and 'G' the second time--nothing awkward there.

The second daughter's naming took a different turn than the first's.  I wanted to give her a traditional Finnish name, but The Mother was horrified--said NO ONE would be able to pronounce it--and, like the obedient daughter I was at the time, changed my mind.  I then decided to give her names of great-grandmothers--but I needed to decide WHICH of the four to use.  (One of the great-grandmothers was named 'Josephine' and I wasn't naming MY kid THAT.)  She wound up with my M-I-L's mother's first name and The Mother's mother's first as her middle name.  THIS naming was a bit trickier, as the initials wound up being AEK.  A traditional monogram--after marriage--for her could have spelled 'ACE' or 'ATE,' but nothing overly embarrassing.  As it turned out, she didn't even have to change her initials, as she married someone with 'K' as his last initial.

I know we are 'the land of the free,' but there really are times when I don't think other countries have it so wrong with the naming of babies--some countries have an 'approved' list of baby names that you HAVE to choose from.  This would really stop the crazy names and crazy spellings altogether.  And I'm sure it would make things a whole lot easier for teachers.

***Believe me, I KNOW how OCD this sounds--but that's just the way I roll.  :D***


Anonymous said...

oh, I understand that completely, having initials that spell a word-it's not that embarrassing but I wish Mom would have realized that and thought of another name or two.

I've often felt sorry for teachers who have to learn to spell and pronounce a ton of made-up names. I understand that not everyone wants their kid to be the 102nd "Susie" in the school, but sometimes I wonder what goes on in new mothers' heads.

cmk said...

I really don't know WHERE this idea came from for me--I don't particularly remember anyone with embarrassing initials in school. But, it was one of those things I obsessed about during the pregnancy months. ;)