The second name

On Victoria Day weekend, we spent the holiday Monday at BC Children’s Hospital – kiddo is okay, a walk-in doc was super-cautious and sent us to ER to rule out appendicitis and we ended up with a cold diagnosis. That is where we pretty much decided on the name for #2 after laying the topic to rest (on hiatus) for a few months.

Thinking back, I had some pretty strict considerations when it came to coming up with the first kiddo’s name. Amongst them were:

  • Has to be two syllables – having living with a one syllable first name and one syllable last name, I was tired of it and didn’t want kiddo to have such an abrupt name – further, I think a one syllable name gets warped more easily: my mother calls me “ween” and NPY’s father calls him “jaff”.
  • Has to be unambiguous in terms of spelling: Brandon or Brendan or Jeffery or Jeffrey or Geoffrey? I wanted kiddo to have to avoid people asking him how his (first) name is spelled.
  • Can’t be a letter grade that you obtain at school like A (how keen), B, C, D or F. Some article I read about kids favouring the letter their name starts with so it’s increasingly not ideal to name your kid with names starting with B, C, D or F!
  • Should be easy to pronounce by the elders – my mum referred to him as “Kevin” for a while and I blamed it on her lack of proximity to him and not caring enough to correct it sooner; MIL kind of mispronounced it at first; my grandmother persists in thinking he has the same Chinese name as his second cousin (and not the case it’s the same English name) and calling kiddo by his cousins Chinese name, “yi fan”.

We came up with the name Evan and – as I recall it – his middle name Zachary is a bit of a whim. Not a name I hated and it fulfilled the looser criteria that it’s a “fun” and longer name. I came to not enjoy how his middle initial is Z. which is so Mandarin-Chinese looking to me.

While I maintain that we came up with SLZ’s name the same night we knew the sex (after receiving NIPT results) – in part because NPY thinks good boys’ names are limited and there’s so much more choice for girl names, it was not at all the case with #2’s name.

My criteria was formed over time this time and was more loose but still restrictive:

  • Not overly popular: I quite unfairly giggle over how popular one of kiddo’s buddy’s name and middle name is until I find that kiddo’s name (in the province of BC the year he was born) was as popular as the buddy’s name (that variation of it at least) – not that BC is a good sample size. While his buddy’s is like top 10 for his year (and persists), kiddo’s was like 49th. Which means no trendy names for #2 like Madison and Mackenzie and Amelia.
  • Not what I consider to be too girly or traditionally girly. Like Victoria or Emmeline, you get the picture. I almost want an androgenous name but not borrowing from traditional male names like James or Michael! We’re not that brave.
  • Nothing with too many spellings. Case in point: how the heck do you spell Alison? Allison? Allyson? Alyson? Alisen? Who knows. NPY suggested Emelia as an alternative to uber-popular Amelia but I think it’s prone to mispelling. Further, Emelia is not meant to be pronounced the same way as Amelia.
  • We aren’t honoring either of us with a W name (NPY thinks W names are lame) and thus no J names. And tacitly, no names sharing initials with immediate family, like G or K (for the uncommon initials).
  • Giving my mother’s name as a middle name: Grace. Because it’s a nice name with meaning, too. I like the idea of linking the generations. So the name has to work with the middle name. Which also got me thinking of changing kiddo’smiddle name to Wesley, my dad’s name, before we use Zachary too much (e.g., on grade school applications).*

Six months in (three months after knowing the sex, as of the time I’m first drafting this post), we have a few options we are more than lukewarm on but not decided. These were contenders at some point in time.

  • Lauren – I don’t find this too girly but while I used to love the nickname (Laurie or Lori), I don’t really any longer.
  • Erin – before we knew SLN’s sex, we though of this name – a nice symmetry with Evan’s name but then I nixed it early on: it seemed kind of lazy of us and I worried we’d regret the name on those grounds, forcing too much similarity on individuals. Erins we know are good people and NPY worried because we did realize all the Erins we know are bigger people.
  • Sydney – this would be a cool homage to my home province even if it seems a bit more girly or just not seeming quite right to me; NPY thought Halifax was a bad name, haha. And Sydney is in Nova Scotia (and Australia) while Sidney – not our preferred spelling – is in British Columbia. But I’ve actually never been to Sydney (Nova Scotia or Australia), so that’s lame.
  • Zoey – it’s a neat name but I found out it was too popular for my liking; I think that is the spelling we’d go with and not Zoe (seems like something is missing) and Zooey (which is actually the least popular and well, I’m tempted to pronounce that one “zoo-ee”).
  • PaigeĀ – one that NPY mentioned and I didn’t reject and then I came around to it; the meaning is kind of terrible if you’re into that kind of thing (I keep forgetting what Evan’s name means) and my “explanation” that I love reading so it’s a nod to my love of books is super-lame; but it fits the criteria of not being overly girly as I keep thinking “pageboy”; NPY worried that people we’re related to but it’s still none of their business will hate it because of its meaning; funny how I will relax my two-syllable criteria and maybe it’s because I’m female living with a one-syllable name it would be some company with a SLN with a one-syllable name also five letters long and ending with and “e”, haha; I read a forum where people named Paige, people considering the name or using the name Paige and people just having an opinion about the name posted and it’s predictably a lot of people lambasting it for its meaning, people named Paige mentioning how boys teased them about it with stupid jokes like “turn the Paige” and other comments how it’s only a good middle name.

As it turns out, we didn’t find it easier in the least to find a girl’s name despite the abundance or flexibility!

* My battle for Grace (my mother’s name) as a middle name but not to add his mother’s (Sharon) is contentious. First, I think Sharon is a name that his horribly dated and has no other obvious meaning as Grace does (both in a religious sense and general definition) and Grace is a classic name so it’s not obvious you got your grandmother’s name as a middle name. Secondly, that is a stupidly long name to have First-name Sharon Grace Last-name, or First-name Grace Sharon Last-name. And finally, the order if we had two middle names is problematic to me. If Grace was first, then the last part of the name is Sharon Last-name, literally MIL’s name. Ugh. If Sharon was the first middle name, then the last part of the name is Grace Last-name which my mother might take issue to (she’s very fond of her own maiden name) and it also looks like MIL’s name was more important. Ugh again. And I don’t want to leave #1 kiddo’s middle name inconsistent. NPY balked at the completeness of shutting out his parents’ names. I don’t think he’s overly fond of his parents’ names but is thinking for them how they would feel riled to know this but know this, I told NPY: giving the kiddos my parents names ensures they remember that set of grandparents who at this rate will barely make a dent in their lives. His parents are damn sure to be around a lot and don’t need name anyone after them!! That he could not argue with.

On this day..