Thursday, January 20, 2011

a place in this world.

Baby Girl has a name.

don't get excited, because i'm not going to tell you what it is. i will explain why a bit later, but the short version is because i am neurotic and prideful.

but the story behind Baby Girl's name is, i think, something cool.

before the Big Ultrasound where Baby Girl decided to be all shy and it took 15 minutes of stealthy teching in order to determine that she was a modest GIRL, we had a short list of girl names that we really liked.  in fact, one of those names we had talked about before we even got married, on one of those glorious car rides during a trip where you end up talking about hopes, dreams, likes, dislikes, and the state of the country's economy.

(i don't think we've ever talked about that last one. maybe we have, but i don't think we did that day anyway.)

after we knew she was a girl, though, which you would think would make our naming options easier since, you know, we had three or four that we really liked, we both just sort of...fizzled on all of them. they just didn't sing to us the way they had. 

clue number one.

so we hit the online baby name websites, going through each letter and trying to find names we liked. we made a list (which i kept) and we wrote down things but i remember thinking, as we did, that i just really didn't like these names very much. i couldn't understand why. they were all lovely and, in normal circumstances, i would be over the moon for all of them.  not this time.  musicboy, i think, was basically feeling the same thing.

clue number two.

we'd already talked about middle names and had decided on options that we felt good about, and those never changed. but we'd never really talked about those options being THE NAME.

one night, i woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and this name was just in my head.  i mean, i wasn't fully conscious, but there it was, clear as day.  first name and middle name.  BAM.  like i was reading it in my mind.

but i questioned it, thinking that maybe it was just my desperation at not having found a name we loved yet, or thinking that musicboy wouldn't like it, or thinking that it was unfairly skewed my way in some manner.

so i went back to bed and didn't say anything the next morning.  we went about our day as usual.

a few hours later, while musicboy was at work, he texted me. 

with the same name. 

he asked me what i thought, and i told him what had happened the night before, and that was that.  Baby Girl chose her name.

if you think that's crazy and just a coincidence, that's fine. but first you have to understand a few things. the name we have chosen is nothing that we ever talked about as a first name.  it wasn't even on our radar as a first name. 

we mulled it over for a few days, wanting to be sure it was right before we started referring to her as that name because, as musicboy put it, once we did that it was hers.  and much as we were both a little gunshy, there wasn't really any question that it was the right name.  it's the kind of name that grows with you, the kind of name that allows flexibility and freedom, the kind of name that's classic but not too obscure but not so popular that there will be 15 children with the same name in her 1st grade class. 

so there it was. and so she has been, though i still refer to her as Baby Girl more often than not, i think because that's her fetus name. and i love it.  and i will probably call her that for too long, until she looks at me and tells me she's not a baby anymore. 

(that will be a day, let me tell you.)

but if you needed more evidence that she chose her own name--i went back to that list we made the other day and fell in love with nearly every name on it.  there was absolutely nothing wrong with those names--they just weren't HERS.  and i love that. i LOVE that. 

i love that her name has a story, has a history, has meaning. i love that it's not some name i heard on some tv show somewhere and decided that i liked. i love that i can tell her, when she's older, about how she chose her name and how mommy and daddy both came up with it without even talking to each other.  i love how it can give her such a strong sense of heritage and purpose without stifling her.  i love how it says that she's the future and has the wide expanse of forever in front of her.

i was worried about how our families would react.  my mom was surprised, but has come to really like it, i think.  she refers to Baby Girl by her name exclusively now, and she's the only one who does.  i think that's kind of awesome. 

so why haven't we told anyone?

because i am a freak. before we got pregnant, and before we knew the gender, i was up on my high horse about how i don't like it when people name their children six months before they are born, declare the name, and then never really consider that they've never met this child.  what if the name doesn't suit them?


you see the irony? i do too. but i also feel mightily prideful, in that i don't want to be one of those people even if i am already one of those people. i still feel like it's a dicey prospect, naming your child before you meet him/her.  i don't know that this will happen again, this whole "we know exactly what your name is, Baby Girl, because you led us to it"--in fact, i would venture to guess that it won't.

i'm totally fine with that.

but right now, it's like i can't quite let go of it. musicboy thinks i'm silly.  he's allowed. he thinks, since we've already told our family and we already know who she is, that it doesn't matter. i'm coming around. i think, once the nursery is done and we get a little bit closer, we will tell. perhaps it will coincide with baby showers. i don't know. i know it's my own stupid pride,'s mine. it's my thing.  it's another thing that pregnancy has taught me--it's great to have ideas, but be prepared to be flexible because every situation is different.

i think there's a little part of me, too, that likes the idea that only we know.  i think, oddly, i feel like it's this little secret i'm not so sure i want to share with the world just yet. right now, she's just ours.  i guess i might be a little jealous of that.

or, maybe, there's a part of me that's not quite ready for it to be THAT real yet.  i'm getting so anxious to see her, to meet her, to know whose eyes she has and whose nose she has and what characteristics she has that are mine and his and wondering if i'll even be able to recognize them in this brand new person.  will i know if she looks like me? will i even see it? what will she be like? will she be a content baby? will she be a happy baby? will she be a mover and a laugher and a squealer?

somehow, maybe i think that by letting her name out there, those mysteries will somehow be solved.  i know that doesn't make any sense at all, but that's where i'm at with it.  it's still silly. i know this.  but it's very strange. there's no doubt in my mind that she is who she is, that her name is her name.  my hesitation isn't born of that.

i think the hesitation is how real that makes her.  this is an ironic comment, since she's currently kicking the heck out of my belly, but a name is an identity, a place in this world.  her own place, a place that exists solely for her.  she'll be ours, and we'll be her parents, but she'll be HER and that's powerful stuff right there.

maybe that's what i'm not quite ready for.  maybe that's what i'm fighting.  maybe that's why the fabric i've bought for the nursery has stayed in its bag and the registering hasn't been completely finished and i'm very "lah lah lah" about the fact that we really only have a couple of months left. 

i think i'm really very happy to have her here with me.  i'll get over it, of course, and be more excited to have her out in the world, where she can be adored and loved and find her way, but for right here and now, i think i might be really happy to have her here. 

i think i will miss it.  i think i didn't expect that.  i think that's rather magical. 

it figures, though. i've just figured out how to be a pregnant person.  now we have to figure out how to be parents. 


  1. I hate telling people names because, for some reason, if the child's not born yet, they believe they can comment on whether or not they like it and give you suggestions. They never do that if it's already born.

    I'm glad you found a name you love, and now I'm curious.

  2. First of all...I know the name you've chosen. It's LemonJello (pronounced leh-mawn-jeh-low). Don't worry, I won't tell anyone else.

    Secondly: I understand the hesitation you're having. I think that every expectant mother I've known has felt something similar. It's why you get that rush of hormones (at least, I think it's hormones) that puts you into "nesting" mode in your third trimester...just try to keep you away from the fabric (and the vacuum cleaner) then! It will definitely come and Baby Girl will become LemonJello (or another name, if you decide to change it, since I totally blew your cover) in your mind.

    I know you don't feel this way 100% (yet), but I know that you're going to be amazing parents. I'm sure this is a little (okay, a lot) scary, but I've known you long enough to know that you have It. The Mom Thing. You're going to do an amazing job.