my grandma with my mom on her lap
This post is going to start as a post about deciding on baby names and it's going to end with a couple of stories about people who's names you thought you knew, but really didn't. I just want you to be prepared for the sudden shift in focus.
In this day and age baby names are all about being unique and hip but not ridiculous. I think we've all rolled our eyes at some of the names coming from the celebrity set... amiright? And I'm not saying it's cool or anything, but we can be a little eye-rolly when it comes to some of the baby names we hear from people we know in real life. (No, no... not you. Someone else. You don't know them.) I know, who are we to be so high and mighty? It's not cool, OK? And I will say when we made the phone calls announcing the birth of our eldest daughter we were on the receiving end of some of those reactions that said, I don't like this name but I'm trying really hard to sound like I'm cool with it. Choosing a name for your baby is a personal decision that shouldn't be judged. But sometimes I still do. All this to say we're having a hard time when it comes to naming this baby. There are some names I like but quite honestly worry about it being on the sounding-like-we're-trying-too-hard end of the spectrum. It's like I'm giving myself a taste of my own medicine. My personal naming parameters are that I want it to be unique and/or classic, generally something timeless, but an actual name. Besides, B has informed me that he has the executive decision in this baby's name since I've basically was the decider on both our girls.
But the real reason for this post is that all this baby name bizness reminded me about the interesting stories of my two great aunt's and their names--Aunt Lou and Aunt Kay. Pretty standard right? That's what I thought.
My grandmother was one of 3 girls--a dynamic I'm excited to bring back to the family--and despite a 5 year age gap between my grandma and her next sister the three of them were close all their lives. It's funny how you can hear a name your whole life and because you've heard it your whole life you never question it. Aunt Lou was married to Uncle Cos. Lou and Cos. Two names I heard together all my life. Like peas and carrots, their names were just as common in my childhood brain. I think I was in college, talking to my grandma one day when I said, "Cos. Cos...that's an interesting name. Where does Cos come from?" My grandma seemed stunned that I didn't know the answer to this, "Well his full name is Cosimo of course!"
WHAT? I have an uncle COSIMO??? I couldn't not believe my luck. I had an uncle Cosimo my whole life and had no idea until my early 20's. That was interesting name revelation #1. Interesting name revelation #2 came when talking about names with my grandma again (a totally different conversation mind you) she told me how her sister Lou always hated her name.
"She hated Lou? Why did she hate Lou?"
"Well that's not her real name."
"It's not? What's her real name????"
"No. Of course not. Her real name is Zdanka."
OK, so this definitely isn't on par with finding out your dad isn't really your dad and gee, now I know why I've always had such an uncanny resemblance to Uncle Larry or some truly dark family secret, but finding out that people I knew my whole life had these completely different names was shocking. Like, what else aren't you people telling me? Lou and Cos were really Zdanka and Cosmio? Sure Cos to Cosimo isn't that much of a stretch, but Zdanka to Lou... crazytown. The story goes that my great-grandparents, who happened to be full Czech, decided to give their second child a traditional czech name, Zdanka. But she was American and she wanted an American name. Somehow Zdanka became Lou.
At this point I inquired about Aunt Kay....was her name really Kay?
It was Roma.
What the *$&#*? Where did Kay come from? Well their last name began with a K and people called her by that initial. And that nickname, coming from the first initial of her last name became her name. That people called her the rest of her life. So much so that it went from nickname "K" to real name "Kay." My mother was even given the middle name Kay, after her aunt.
As far as names go, I find this history fascinating.
For me the morals of my aunts and their interesting names are this: Back in the day a unique and interesting name was not cool. A typical name, that didn't stand out was more desirable. And finally, maybe it doesn't matter what we name our baby because if she doesn't like it girlfriend is just gonna change it anyway. It's in her blood.
Speaking of interesting names here are some names of kids we have come across in real life. Many of these come from kids my husband treated during his residency and some are from kids at my daughter's school. Yes, these are real names.
L-A (Pronounced, La'dasha.)
Natas (Satan backwards)
Abcde (Pronounced Ab-sa-dee)
Little Dragon (My favorite. Seriously, if you're gonna go for it, GO FOR IT.)
Are you a baby name snob--and in what way are you a snob? Do you like all the unique sounding and spelled names out there, or do you go for traditional, classic names? Any interesting, real-life names you've come across?