Friday, October 30, 2015

Naming Your Baby: A Zero-Pressure Process

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the average jester blog, I have a number of family members, friends and acquaintances who are expecting the birth of a child. One of those friends just had the big "find out the sex of the baby" ultrasound this past week. My girls have been excited about this particular baby because it's a friend of mine that they actually know. As I walked into the house after work and told the family that our friends found out the sex of the baby, my daughter Ziva wanted answers right away. This is how the Q&A session played out:

Ziva: "What are they having?"

Me: "A baby."

Ziva: "What kind of baby?"

Me: "A human baby."

Ziva: "Is it a boy or girl?"

Me: "Yes."

In my defense, I didn't really know the answer because they're not yet sharing that information. So, it's not really my fault...unlike when I didn't initially ask enough questions about their pregnancy when I first heard about it. (See "She Said-He Said" for details on that.) For Ziva's purposes though, knowing the sex of the baby didn't really matter. She was just trying to decide whether she should start thinking of girl names or boy names for the baby. (Because clearly my friends are going to be accepting suggestions from a six year old.)

Before I get into the names that Ziva (and Siri once this got started) came up with, I thought I'd share how my wife and I picked out names for our two little girls. It should be obvious that we're baby-naming professionals. We did name our girls Ziva and Siri after-all.

We started making our own separate lists and then crossing names off each other's list to narrow it down. It was a pretty basic idea that many follow, but I can also tell you it pretty much just served as a way to pass the time. We both had our top 2-3 names for a boy and girl. The rest were just filler to try not to get the top choices eliminated. The funny thing is we never agreed on any girl names until the last minute, but we agreed on a boy's name almost immediately....and it's still the name we'd choose if we happened to find ourselves with a baby boy in the future. Since we ended up having two girls, all the back and forth with names lists seemed to pay off.

Choosing Ziva for a girl's name actually started out as a joke. Before we knew the sex of our baby-to-be, I made a comment that if it was a girl, she was going to be tough like Ziva on the tv show NCIS. For those of you who don't know the show, Ziva plays an Israeli Mossad officer who is a liason with the NCIS. She's basically a mix of law enforcement, military, martial arts guru and all-around butt kicker. I spent the next couple months asking how "Ziva" was doing...and it stuck. Today, I can't imagine her being named any of the other ideas we had. She is absolutely a Ziva.

Siri is the name I wish I had to explain like in the early days. At first, most people had never heard the name Siri. They thought it was unique. To be honest, we were going for unique. It's hard to name your second daughter Mary, Ann or Sue when your first daughter has a name like Ziva. The problem we couldn't foresee was that Apple was going to come out with an iPhone assistant with the same name as our daughter. I am always adamant nowadays to point out that our little Siri was born before Apple came out with Siri. I just know I don't want anyone thinking I named my daughter after an annoying voice on an iPhone.

Coming back around to where this all started, I should probably share the names my girls have submitted:

Ziva's Boy Name: Jesse. Awesome! She chose her old man's name. I was so proud....for about three seconds. She quickly changed her recommendation to Spencer. There's nothing wrong with the name Spencer, but I have long been an advocate for the name Jesse. I also like to point out that it can be used for a boy or a girl.

Ziva's Girl Name: Megan. I have no idea where this choice came from. That's part of what I liked about it. She wasn't just repeating a friend's name or a tv character's name. (Yes, I realize the irony in that statement.) When I asked her about it she just said it was the first name that came to mind. I can only guess that it's a name in one of the books she's reading right now.

Siri's Boy Name: Bob. This was kind of a family joke. A few months ago (the exact details are a bit fuzzy) I was playing My Little Ponies with my girls...I mean, I was watching my girls play My Little Ponies. They asked me to name one of these pink ponies with rainbow hair....and I said, "Bob." Ever since then, anytime there is someone or something that needs to be named, we all say, "Bob."

Siri's Girl Name: Bob. Yep, she chose Bob again. When I started to ask her to come up with a girl's name instead, thinking she was just being silly, she said it can be a girl's name too. It then dawned on my that she did actually have a childcare provider for a while who was a woman named Bobbie. Maybe Bob is actually a good go-to name. It has a lot of options: Bob, Robert, Roberto, Roberta, Bobbie (girl), Bobby (boy)....I even knew a boy named Bobert, but that was more because his siblings couldn't say his name right.

I realize I didn't get into all the blow-back you may get from your child for saddling them with a horrible name. I figured since I said a "Zero-Pressure Process." I should maybe keep that part out. That being said, don't be dumb. Use a real name. Not some made up word. Or a number. That is pretty much a your-kid-will-resent-you-for-life guarantee. See... No pressure. Until next time....