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Naming my first child was one of the easiest decisions I ever made. My baby was going to be a girl named Sloane. The name had lived in my heart for years, to the point where I’d cringe when I met another Sloane. How could someone else be living with my child’s name?
I eventually accepted the fact that the world could handle more than one Sloane right around the time the baby-naming heavens crashed down upon me.
My husband hated the name Sloane. Oh, and we also learned we were having a boy.
What happened over the next six months was ugly. We ultimately found a name we both loved (Archer), but it was touch-and-go for a while.
Sometimes I think I want another baby. A strike against it? When my husband and I were trying to come up with our first's name, there were times I wanted to divorce him and call it a day.
I couldn’t imagine how anyone could suggest so many absurd names (Reason) for a child, while simultaneously naysaying all my fabulous ideas.
Do I really want to endure that again? Our eventual choice, Archer, was the only name we both agreed upon, and it took us months. We had no backups. I fear the stars will never align for us again.
If we're lucky enough to get pregnant again, here are the rules I'll follow so I'll be less likely to consider a trial separation.
- Invest in a whiteboard. Write top contenders on a whiteboard, or piece of paper you hang up around the house. Letting a name stare you in the face can help guide decisions.
- Veto. There were some names I couldn’t ever imagine giving my child: My ex-husband’s name, the name of the kid who ate worms at recess in first grade. Instead of arguing over a name you know you’ll never allow, stop those name discussions before they start. My husband and I each had five vetoes, and they had to be used for a good reason.
- Be wary about asking for input. While some family and friends offered good suggestions, many simply nixed names they didn’t like. We hoped to hear new names, but ended up hearing why a particular name stunk on ice. A certain family member, who’d already named her own children mind you, found so many reasons every name we liked wasn’t right. We eventually went radio silent.
- Yell. You like the name Jackson? Shout it out loud. Up the stairs toward your nursery, like you’ll be doing years from now when calling your child to dinner. Down the hallway, as if you’re running late for school. My cousin loved the names Sam and Max and took this approach. After this exercise, he realized he couldn’t picture himself calling out to a Sam.
- Meet your baby. We were lucky, our son looked like an Archer immediately. It fit his personality. That’s not always the case. A friend had a name she loved, and wanted for years to use. Yet the second she met her daughter she knew it didn’t fit. Another had three possible names picked for her son, but ended up starting all over again after she saw him. Sometimes not deciding is your best option.
- Find a theme. We were going in circles, throwing out any name. Finally, we realized we both liked French names and turned our attention to that specific category. It helped us narrow down what felt like endless possibilities. This is how we found our winner.
Our final choice, Archer, is actually English. It was mistakenly added to a group of French names we were reviewing. No matter - by the time we researched the history of the name, we were in love.
As the French would say, “Voila!” We had our name. It only took us six months, thousands of discarded options, and a few strongly worded disagreements.
Next time I’m going straight for the whiteboard.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.