When I was pregnant, I bought three books of names for babies. If I couldn't find the right names in the book with 10,000 names, I would certainly find the perfect ones in the 50,000 name edition or the Every Name Ever Used in the History of the World book. We highlighted, wrote lists, researched on the Internet, and slowly narrowed the field of potential names. Since I didn't know if I was having a boy and a girl, two girls, or two boys, it was, um, challenging to say the least. Plus, we had to find a middle name that sounded right and based on the right combinations. And, yes, we counted syllables. Jason's main criteria was "the name cannot be shortened or nicknamed" (Elizabeth = Beth, Liz, or Richard = Rich, Dick, etc.) and rhyming with a bad word had to be avoided, too (Bart = fart). I was going more sentimental, even considering the name Ivy because that was Jason's grandmother's name and Greta because The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies of all time. Long story short, the day we were due to check out of the hospital and felt the pressure to sign the birth certificate, we (along with our close family and friends) decided on the final names due to instinct, gut feelings, baby personalities, and the wild orange cupi-doll head-to-toe hair that just had to be a feisty Irish name like Quinn. In Hebrew the name Talia means "morning dew", but a friend recently told me that Talia means "applaud" in Hindi, which is totally fitting for our dramatic future actress Leo daughter who cried for 20 minutes today because she didn't get to be the head of the line at school (she thrives on being first at everything). The naming the babies saga was worth the effort.
I always loved having an unusual name. I didn't like going with the crowd and having a pretty old Russian name helped me be a bit different. The only time it wasn't so great was in school when a new teacher couldn't pronounce my name, when well meaning friends shortened it to "Dar" (major cringe), or when my cousins called me, and this is both painful and funny to write, "Diarrhea Weirdo". Kids are so cruel.
Today, when I had a few precious minutes alone with Quinn, he told me that his favorite school friend called him a name today and he didn't like it, and he told this friend he didn't like that, then his friend declared they weren't friends anymore. Gearing up for the worst, I asked him what his (former) friend called him that was soooo horrific and friendship ending?? Turns out his friend said "Hey Fire Breathing Dragon! Come over here and play!". It took all my will from laughing out loud. That boy is funny... and my kid is too serious!
What is it about the common human experience that we feel compelled to call people different names other than what they were carefully given as a baby? I get the fact that we wear different hats in our lifetime with new names attached, like mommy, gramma, mother-in-law, Mrs. President, etc., but what's with the other names like meanie, poo poo head, and The Old Lady??? I guess it's like curse words. It's simple to say "ouch, that hurt", but it feels waaaaay better to yell "F.U.C.K. $!@#%&*!!!!!!" or "slut!".
I guess it is what it is, sometimes name calling hurts and other times it's just plain funny. I dread the day my kids start calling me MOTHER (or worse). I really love being "You are the best mommy in the whole wide world to the stars and back". I just have to relish the affectionate names, like being called honey by my sweet husband and BFF by my best friend. Those names are precious and totally make up for the not so great Diarrhea Weirdo Braceface Four-eyes days of my youth.
***Baby A (Talia) and Baby B (Quinn) in the hospital***