Monday, July 6, 2009

Baby Names

I am fascinated with baby names.

First, the name a parent chooses for a baby tells you so much about the parent on many different levels.

Second, the idea that a parent gets to assign a name to another human is just baffling. When our kids' Social Security cards came in the mail (with sequential numbers, by the way), I still couldn't believe we got to name other humans, even if they were our kids. We just picked names, declared the kids to have the names, and the government and everyone else recognized our choice.

So, how did we pick our kids names?

Before we knew the allotment of boys and/or girls in our trio, Heather and I decided a system for name picking. I wanted to give a boy a family name if we had one, so I asked for first boy pick. Since I had first boy pick, Heather had first girl pick. I got second girl and Heather got second boy, etc. Each of us had complete veto power on any pick.

First Boy, George Henry ("Henry"): My grandfather and great grandfather were both George Henry. They were not George Henry and George Henry, Jr., they were just George Henry and George Henry - again. Heather wanted to call George Henry, "Henry," and I reluctantly agreed. Now I can't believe that I ever wanted to call our little Henry, "George."

After first boy pick, my version and Heather's version of events may differ. This is my version:

First Girl, Piper Grace: In the December 2007 issue of Vogue, there was a piece on the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Keep in mind, this was before Sarah Palin was picked to be on the Republican ticket and became a Tina Fey impression. She was just the Governor of Alaska and the former mayor of Whoknowswhere. Evidently, she was also well dressed enough to make the pages of the magazine that sits in our bathroom. Heather apparently saw the name "Piper" in the article (one of Palin's kids), liked it, and filed it away. When we were discussing names in early 2008, Heather tossed out "Piper" as her pick. I wanted something a little different and "Piper" certainly qualified. Heather didn't remember where she had seen the name until Palin was tapped as McCain's running mate after the kids were born. If she did, Piper may have not been a Piper.

The name Piper became less "different" in 2008, jumping from the 240th most popular girl name in 2007 to the 172nd in 2008, per the SSA database, which I attribute to the Palin effect.

Second Girl, Rosemary Faith: Heather doesn't like it when I tell people this because it makes me sound like a redneck. But, it is what it is. On Lenny Kravitz's CD, Let Love Rule, Track 9 is "Rosemary." The CD has been in and out of my CD player (and now my iPod) since high school. I won't say that I named a child after this song (because that would make me a redneck), but the name of the girl in the song gave rise to the inspiration for the name for our child (got that?). I have just always thought it was a pretty name. I threw it out and it stuck.

Although Rosemary seems less "different" to me than Piper, it was actually the 754th most popular girl name in 2008 - much less popular than Piper even before the Palin effect.

I think our children's names are a good reflection of us and they seem to fit the kids. I don't know what the manner by which we chose the names says about us. But, it is what it is - at least according to me.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention the part about Lenny Kravitz's song "Rosemary" being about some poor abandoned orphan whose parents don't love her and left her out in the cold. . . . Maybe that's another reason I don't like it when you tell that story!