As soon as we found out we were pregnant, I started a list of baby names for our consideration. The names sit next to our computer, neatly printed on the top page of a tiny notepad. Over the course of five months there have been numerous additions and an equal amount of scratched-out vetoes, but so far, nothing has emerged triumphant.
I never imagined that naming a child could prove so difficult. In my wiley younger days, long before I met my husband, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about baby names – far more time than a single person in her teens and early 20s should. At age 15, I had decided that my little boy’s name would be M____ (name preserved for posterity). I have no idea where I first heard it, but once I did, my search was done. To demonstrate my commitment to this name, I showed my husband a home movie of my best friend and me making jackasses of ourselves at age 16. At one point, amidst the high-pitched shrieks and boy-crazy babblings, I turn to the camera, wave and say “Hi M____! Hi, Future Baby!” However, when I first began dating my husband, I was dismayed to discover that his longtime friend already has a little boy named M____, which – curses! - now puts a damper on my plan. Beloved though it may be, it is difficult to justify using the same name as someone so close to us.
Over the past five months, this has resulted in a mad search for a good replacement boy’s name. I have a list of many, with a few top contenders, including a favorite girl’s name, one which we miraculously agree upon as sassy, smart, and unusual without being ridiculous. However, if LOOL is a boy, there’s a good chance he’ll leave the hospital with Baby Boy Draitser on his birth certificate.
This concept wouldn’t be foreign to my family – when I was born, I was dubbed “Baby Girl Thompson” by my indecisive parents. After a week, my father returned to the hospital and altered the certificate to read “Laura Lynn Thompson.” Several days later, after it was decided that I was most certainly NOT a Laura, it was once again amended, and I was forever after Paige Lynn. Could the same multi-name fate possibly lie in store for little LOOL?
Fortunately, we have lots of help in the naming department. For instance, since the day I announced my pregnancy, my father has taken it upon himself to suggest atrocious baby names at every possible opportunity. To list just a few, these include: Aristotle, Augustus, Longfellow, and - my favorite – Wendell. Last week he called to announce that he’d gotten a haircut that day, spotted a calendar on the wall containing a picture of a “very nice-looking” supermodel, and he liked her name – Brooklyn. I asked him 1) if he wanted his granddaughter to be a hooker? and 2) am I giving birth to a baby, or a borough? Also suggested were Brendon (highly creative, considering that it happens to be exactly one letter off from my brother’s name. Unsurprisingly, this observation didn’t seem to phase him), and Trevor, which (apologies in advance to all Trevors out there) is a name that, in my opinion, should only belong to those dwelling in trailer parks and prone to shooting beer cans off fences with BB guns. Newly aware of the monstrosities that my father is capable of conjuring in his head, I realize that it’s a damn miracle that my brothers and I emerged relatively unscathed as Jason, Brandon and Paige.
My mother-in-law also tossed out her share of suggestions toward the beginning of the pregnancy, insisting that Sasha would be an excellent name for a boy or a girl – a “good Russian name” to compliment the baby’s Russian heritage, because “the baby will be half Russian, after all!” I declined to point out that the baby will also be half English/German, but that I wasn’t thinking of calling it Cecil Freidrich. I told her the two names we were considering at the time, both of which were met with a distasteful gaze and “Oh well…I’ll just make up my own name for it.” Lovely.
As time has passed and my pregnancy has trucked happily along, we have wisely stopped sharing our baby names, and the list continues to grow and shrink with each passing week. Perhaps LOOL will stick – we can tell people it’s an old family name that means “better than your kid.”