What’s in a Name?

Naming children has become a science. There are books, Web sites, even pay services dedicated to finding the “perfect” name for your new baby. It certainly wouldn’t be difficult to become buried in all this mess and lose months of sleep over it; after all, the name you choose is the name to which your child will be forced to answer for all of his or her life. And then, at the same time, there are parents who will name a child after a food, ingredient, or chemical they’ve just seen for the first time on a label, regerdless of whether they understand its meaning.

I guess we’re somewhere in between: we spent a few months discussing Benjamin’s name, and ultimately we narrowed the choices down to two: Benjamin and Alexander. A week before Ben was born, we threw the two names in a hat, chose one for his name, and the other became his second name (of course, this depended on whether he was a boy or girl when he was born: I don’t think “Benjamin” would have been a great name for a girl). A few years later, Ben helped us choose Zachary’s name about 4 months before he was born; the naming experience helped Ben endear himself to the new baby before and after his birth (and, with Zach’s disposition, he needs all the help he can get!).

Now, as we expect our third child, we’re almost feeling guilty about how simple the naming process has become. Of course, it does help that we had considered several names for girls before Ben was born, since we waited to find out his gender until birth, and a few of those have stuck with us since then. Now, the choice remains a matter of spelling: will it be Sophia or Sofia? All that really matters to the boys is that her nickname will be “Baby Sofie”. And that’s fine with us too.

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