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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's in a name?

My husband and I are both fairly traditional people. And you can tell this by our name choices for our children. We stuck with traditional, Biblical names that have been around for thousands of years.

There will be no questioning the pronunciation or spelling with names like Peter and Sarah. These names won't leave people scratching their heads wondering what we were thinking.

And while we have chosen traditional, some might even say boring, names for our children, I have always enjoyed hearing what other people are going to name their children. And I have always enjoyed hearing names that are out of the ordinary and wondering if I could have ever had the nerve to name my kid something unusual.

Like the Seinfeld episode where George wants his baby to be named Seven. After that episode, I was thinking what a cool name that would be. But I'm not cool enough or trendy enough to pull off a name like that, so I knew any kid of mine wouldn't be either.

Although, one might argue that giving a kid a name like Seven would mean that by default, they would become cool and trendy to live up to the cool and trendy name. But that's not something I was willing to play around with on my kids so we stuck with boring traditional.

Several years ago, I was at a park with my kids and I noticed a mom with twin boys. Then I heard her call one of them, "Easton, get down off the slide!" And I thought to myself, Easton? Must be a family name. Wonder what the other little boys name is? And as I was thinking to myself, Oh, no! I hope it's not...

"Weston! Stop throwing dirt at Easton!"

Oh, no! She did not name her twins Easton and Weston, I kept thinking to myself. But she really did. And for some reason, for the rest of the day I couldn't get the Pet Shop Boys song West End Girls out of my head.

In a West End town, a dead end world
The East End boys and West End girls

But as time has passed, I can sort of see how she and her husband might have thought this was a good idea. And as time has passed, I can sort of see how it works as an interesting alternative to rhyming twin names. Even though, I don't really even think people do that any more.

And who am I to judge? This same mom would probably think Peter and Sarah are the two most boring traditional kid names in the world. But, I would have to argue with her and explain the difference between traditional and boring. And there is a difference...just ask my husband.

Anyway, I was at the pool one day last week waiting for Jennifer to arrive with her kids. I heard another mom holler to one of her kids, "Vidalia! Get over her so I can get some more sunscreen on your back!"

My ears perked up. I cocked my head and thought to myself, Vidalia? Did she really just call her kid Vidalia? I must have heard that wrong.

So I listened closer and I heard it again. "Vidalia! I said get over her!"

My mouth dropped open. I could not even begin to imagine naming your child after an onion.

An onion!

Now granted, Vidalias are the sweetest, best tasting onion ever created. Just ask anyone in the South. But naming your child after one?! I had never heard of this before!

I'm trying to cut this mom some slack. Perhaps, this girl was conceived in the town of Vidalia, Georgia - the town the best tasting onion in the world is named after.

Or, perhaps Vidalia is just a really, really old Southern name that I've never heard of. I'm in North Carolina which may not be Deep South enough for this name.

Or, perhaps this mom was trying to outdo the people in Hollywood. Because if Gwyneth Paltrow can name her daughter Apple, why can't this mom name her daughter Vidalia?

Or, perhaps this mom just really likes onions?

I'm not going to judge because as William Shakespeare put it so eloquently:

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose onion
By any other name would smell as sweet."

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Tina said...

Great post!! Names, they're a big deal!

I, too, am interested in names. The biggest issue I have is people who spell common names in uncommon ways. That spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e to me. That poor kid will never get anything printed correctly!

Sue Wilkey said...

When I worked in the inner city there was a little girl whose name was "Latrina". Yeah, like latrine. Gross.

Also, I dated a boy named Glynn McGlynn. WTF? What parents would do that?

Mari said...

Those are some pretty unusual names. When I worked in the hospital, I was occasionally pulled to work on the OB floor. One day when I was working, I had a mom who asked how to spell her babies name. I don't remember the name - it was pretty unusual but I remember thinking this kid was in trouble if his mother didn't even know how to spell his name!

Grandma T said...

Loved your post! Names are great and v-e-r-y interesting!!

Maybe Moms like to name their children names that sound good as they holler them out to come in to supper --- Eeeelizzzaaaabeth Rooooth!!!!

Have a blest day!!

McMommy said...

Easton and Weston??!!! I'm on the floor hysterical over here!!

Three of my friends are pregnant right now...I can't wait to hear what they end up naming their kids. I'll suggest Vidalia...

Carissa(GoodnCrazy) said...

I'll send you a private email of my kid's names we don't do traditional ANYTHING. My name is Carissa and I always loved that no one else had my name growing up!

I think they should nick name that little girl: Walla Walla

Kellan said...

What a great post, Beth!! I'm one of those mom's with twins and I did to the "matchy" first letter thingy - but they don't rhyme. My name is very unusal and it is not easy living with an unusal name - it's often mispronounced and hard for people to know how to spell. It is fun, though - having a name that very few people have - I have appreciated that.

Have a good day - Kellan

PS: That Easton - Weston thing was crazy funny!

Anonymous said...

Your so right! The easton weston thing has me laughing so hard.

Christina said...

There is a country song called Vidalia about a girl with that name. Maybe they are country music fans. I'm not sure I would of used that even so.

I find that most of the names you name your kid can come back in vogue at any time. For instance Sarah is very popular and I named my older son Joshua out of the Bible and we hear it here all the time. But my son Brandon thinks I am most nuts because I named him after Brandon Walsh from 90210. How crazy is that. My oldest daughter is Kira and after I named her that I heard Kira's all over the place. In fact we have a few at my church and at my kids school. But the names here are most unusual to us but not to Hawaiians. Like my son's best friend is Ka Koa and I know at least 4 Ka Koas and Keoni is very popular and so is Lilly, Lilikoi, etc. So as you can see here in Hawaii Ka Koa is like naming your kid John. said...

I love the Easton and WEston... That is too weird to not love. Not that I'd do it!!

jennwa said...

Next time we see at the pool we need to ask if her daughter was named after the country song (that was good info to find out). It sounds a lot better than," Oh what a pretty name, is she named after the onion?"
I really want to know why see named her daughter that.

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

We went to college with a guy named Forrest.... wait for it... Green. And his brother... Kelley.

My sis named her triplet boys and A, B, & C names since they were referred to as Baby A, Baby B & Baby C in the womb. I always thought that was neat.

We're fairly traditional with our names as well. But I just love older names, which I can see Vidalia possibly being an older not commonly used any more name. THat would be interesting to do some research on... in all my spare time.

the dragonfly said...

My son has a traditional name with a fairly uncommon nickname. And I like it that way. :)

A friend's mom works in a NICU, and she used to tell us all about names she heard. My favorite was a girl named Maiden...with the middle name America. Maiden America. Made in America.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good post to present to Swistle. I'd love to hear what she thinks about Easton/Weston and Vidalia. I love names and all of the philosophies behind the naming of children. Lovely post!

BTW, I have a friend who's brother is named Three.

the mother of this lot said...

In my kids school at the moment there are quite a few kids called
'Jayden' and some more called 'Kai', but the best one has to be 'Canis' - which when I went to school was the Latin word for 'dog'!

Jaina said...

Those are some crazy names. I've always been fond of the very traditional Elizabeth. I used to love the combination Emily Elizabeth...but then I read a Clifford book to my younger brother...

jaime said...

this is great...back in the day i did a post elsewhere about bad kids names being like child abuse. lol! it's true though! You are just askin for your child to get picked on...anyways, i'm all about different names but not OUT THERE ones. I love my son's name so much, especially because I had never met anyone with it. That was kinda a rule of mine--NOW it's gotten popular of course! great post...

Family Adventure said...

We had major naming issues, having to make sure the names worked in several different languages AND consider the abbreviated versions here in North America. In the end, I'm glad we also picked fairly traditional names. Kids have enough to worry about, I don't need to add to the burden with an odd name.


Anonymous said...

I am with you on traditional names. Growing up I had a friend named Vidalia (we called her Val) and she was from a very traditional Portuguese family. Maybe it is a Portuguese name? I guess I never really thought about it...

Maude Lynn said...

Easton and Weston? That's just awful!

3girlsmom said...

Vidalia!! Easton! Weston! Hysterical!
My dad would totally love the Vidalia thing, b/c he lives for summertime when those onions are available.
My kids' names are Mary Emma, Virginia Tait, and Camille Lea. They go by Mary Emma, Tait, & Camille. I told myself that I would never call a child by her middle name like I am because it makes the 1st day of school miserable. But here I go naming my 1st daughter a double name, my 2nd daughter goes by her middle name - finally got it right by the 3rd daughter. Except her nickname, Millie, is really picking up. I've warped them.
Enjoyed reading a few of your posts. Found you on the Lifeway blog.

Rebekah said...

Great, now I am going to be singing Pet Shop Boys all day.

I read a blog, Mostly Cajun, he post names he reads in his papers birth announcement. You would be amazed at some of the unique names and creative spelling people come up with.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post!

Unsweet T said...

Hey, Beth! I am glad my kids' names are not in your post. My late great uncle's middle name was Clemson. You know that you would have given JT alot of crap if we had used that for W's middle name, wouldn't you have?! I think we would have been quite popular with our fellow grads! HA!

Any Charlotte trips in the future?

AlaneM said...

I never would have thought of that in a million years. I like unusual names but I couldn't get my hubby to agree on any of them. Although Adah is little unusual it's only because it's spelled the biblical way.
I hated my unusual name as a kid but I LOVE it now.

At my Dad's old school a mom came in to register her boy & was irritated when the secratary thought his name was a joke. The name is Michael Michael Michael - yes that's first middle & last. When you name your kid something like that I don't think you have any room to get pissy about it!

I know this is getting long but I've got one other funny name story for you. At a company I used to work for, we had to page any calls for the president of the companny. One guy called frequently & I had the worst time doing the page without cracking up. "Mr. Spotts, Mr. Long from the AB Dick company is on line 1, Mr Spotts, Mr. Long from the AB Dick company is on line 1."
All the while a co-worker was saying 'long' 'Dick' at random in a weird voice trying to make me laugh. Torture anyone? I always died laughing after I got done.

Andrea @ Mommy said...

Names are a big deal. Actually, I think Easton and Weston are unique and kind of cool. We only went "all biblical" on our middle son, Caleb. Our two other boys have very non-traditional/made-up names that you can't even find when googling! Yes, we get strange looks (probably like what you've shared), but no one in the world has a name like him so he's pretty cool :-)

Wander said...

This is a great blog! I like your style.
Ok...I'll be the really weird mom here and say...I have kids with sorta odd names. So were out there!?! heehee

son- Gavin Lee ....
dau- Alexandria Paige (Allyanne is what we call her)
dau- Gates Morgan

See, we were feeling frisky and it worked out ok. Our kids don't even hate us one bit.
And people love them and their names. Especially, Gates. She is so cool!