Friday, February 15, 2008

And I thought the naming of cats a difficult matter

Eleven weeks till baby launch and still he swims, nameless, in the belly.

Actually he’s not swimming any more, he’s a tightly packed in fellow by today. I can tell when he’s awake and wants to suck his thumb: he elbows me politely as if to say, “Oh, pardon, could I just move my arm a tad? Right, that does it, thanks.” He's less polite when he feels like stretching. I've rolled from one side of my chair to another following his feet across my ribs.

With all the pokes and rolls and internal conversations, you’d think by now I’d have a character sketch I could pin up and say, “Yes family, this is our guy, our X.” But, no. And no name has come to me in the middle of the night, while standing in the metro, or while day dreaming over Amazon book lists. No one idea that makes it clear the right choice has arrived and I can check ‘name’ off the baby to-do list.

In desperation I have tried the following:

Polled friends at dinner parties. Results: discovered this method to be slightly painful depending on how late in the evening you start the poll, and how much humor you have hung onto throughout pregnancy. You do get to know your friends better.

Polled immediate household. Results: adventurous additions to our list of “Future Names for Pet Fish”. Examples include Budvar, Elijah, Cellar, Kittycat and Boy. These were not all from Caroline.

Read up on ancestors in search of interesting precedents. Results: discovered that people changed the spelling of their last names quite freely two hundred years ago, but first names stayed the same from one generation to another, to another. Also, that downloading census records is slightly addictive.

Scanned junk mail daily. Results: More names for our fish list! Favorites from last night: Manumit, Eloy, Vinicius.

Used the web to look up lists of names. From the U.S.’s Social Security website to Czech saints’ names, there seem to be over 12 million baby name lists on Google today. I'm not kidding, go run a search and see. Results: I believe I’ll skip Bohumir, and while I’m a big fan of iVillage’s Name Voyager tool, I’m still puzzled in Prague.

I’m now holding name auditions - calling the baby a likely name for at least 24 hours to see if it sticks. Caroline and I also practice yelling our favorite names to see if one feels right paired with “Caroline B. B. get over here right now!!” Audition time slots are still open, so suggestions are welcome. The winner gets a free book of Czech baby names, mailed to their address of choice.

* Name Voyager: A timeline that charts the popularity of a name from the 1880s till today - fun with statistics!


Anonymous said...

We always added them to our future dog name list, but since we only have fish, I should have followed your lead! When my sister was pregnant with her 2nd (a boy), I sent her a GREAT list of boy names. Hugo, Ragnar, Magnus, Angus, Seamus, Bruno, Massimo, Sergei, etc. etc. etc. Surprisingly, she rejected them ALL. Can you believe it? And what did she name him? BRYCE. *sigh*

Guy Davis said...

There are definitely a lot of baby name sites out there. Some are better than others though. This map of popular baby names includes the Czech Republic and the United States. Hopefully it will help by letting you include or exclude popular names from your search. Good luck!

lenabee said...

Going with the headline - there are always Mungojerrie, Rumpelteazer, Deuteronomy, and Bombalurina

Julia said...

Here I was, about to comment on how my sister kept sending me useful names too...then Mungojerrie appears!

I'd save his list for cats, but as a general practice I do agree with Eliot's naming decree - everyone should have three different names. Luckily only a few have to make it to the gift certificate.

tuckova said...

What about a LAST name from the family (any one of the spelling variants)?

Julia said...

Any idea how Czech schools handle unusual names? I have considered the last name route as that is pretty traditional in our family. (Though we have our share of brusquely short names like Wragg and Dent that help me cross those samples off the list!).

tuckova said...

Kein had some trouble in pre-school (everybody with their first-year German, sigh), even though I specifically spelled it so that Czechs and Americans could say it (I tell Americans, "rhymes with vein")-- but whatever, they're foreign no matter how integrated their names sound. He has a Czech-adaptable middle name if he wants to go with something easier later, though I think right now he feels like Kein suits him. I think in general if it's something within their sound system (no TH, for example) it's something they won't mess up more than once.