Rob's parents "just knew" that he was going to be a boy and named him after his grandfathers, both of whom are Roberts. My parents gave me the one girl's name they could agree on. In fact, the more people I talk to about names, the more I hear that no one had any problems in the name department. These people are either very lucky, or lying. They have to be. Because if this is how the naming thing is done, Rob and I are screwed.
Specifically, we're screwed on the boy's names front. We have a couple of girl's names that we like (and we're not sharing, much to the frustration of our friends and families). But boy's names? Nothing. It's becoming a problem. Everything that Rob suggests just sounds wrong to me. For whatever reason, even names that I like the sound of don't sound like names I'd give my son. And unfortunately, the one boy's name I truly love has been flat-out rejected by my husband:
I frickin' love this name. I love the way it looks and the way it sounds, I love the stone, I love that it's unusual but not made up...but my husband hates it, and thinks we are way too Caucasian to name a baby Jasper. I don't know what he's talking about. While we definitely couldn't use the other boy's name that I completely adore (try to imagine a blond-haired, blue-eyed, English-speaking child named Carlos), Jasper is a stuffy old British man's name (another reason I like it, actually). But Rob has put his foot down on this one. Rob, who spent the better part of my first two trimesters suggesting we name our son Jefferson Starship. You see what I have to work with, here.
So we continue our negotiations on the issue. Since everything sounds wrong to me at this point, I have come up with some naming criteria to help keep me afloat in the sea of options:
1) Nothing too common.
This was never a problem for me, growing up. In my twenty-four years on the planet, I think I've met three other Noelles. Rob, on the other hand, was blessed with a name that has been in the Top 50 for over 100 years. A gathering of his friends and acquaintances sometimes sounds like a gym class, with all of the Robs being called by their last names.
2) Family names are right out.
Nothing against our families, here. We just don't have many options. Our grandfathers are Robert, Robert, Robert and Manfred. (Or Bob, Bob, Bob and Pete, as they would have it.) My brother has already claimed the one family name I that I might consider for his own future son: Axel. How great is that?
3) It has to sound good with our last name.
This should be a no-brainer, but it's becoming a bigger challenge than we thought it would be. Our last name rhymes with "pirate." Really. This means that most names with long "i" sounds in them don't work. Holy assonance, Batman! We can never have a son named Elijah, Ivan, or Silas. (On the girl's name front, Rob was a little heartbroken when he realized that Violet would never work, as it practically rhymes with our last name. I quickly gave up on the idea of having an Iris.)
4) No "-ayden" names.
The Aiden/Jayden/Brayden thing is getting out of hand.
5) Nothing with an unfortunate nickname.
Again, this has never been an issue for me, though I do get lots of teasing around Christmas, especially from idiots who think they're the first people ever to ask me if I'm "the first Noelle" har-har-har. My brother only recently discovered "Noellzeebub," which I think is awesomely clever. Of course, I realize that children are cruel, cruel creatures, and even the macho-est of macho names won't keep my son from being teased. That's not the point. This criterion is much more for my benefit than his. The biggest problem I have with Jefferson? I'd end up being "Jeff's mom." No. Just...no.
Strangely, everyone seems to think the baby is girl. Maybe this boy's name thing will never be an issue. But I know that if I decide that my parents, my girlfriends, my co-workers, the cashier at Macy's, and all of the old wives' tales are correct and the baby is a girl, Rob and I will abandon the boy's name project completely...until we're face-to-face with a squalling, nameless Baby Boy Pirate.