We have a new niece! Phil's brother and his super-hero, homeschooling, all natural laboring wife had their 7th baby last weekend! Her name is Joanna Clare and she's pretty much the cutest and chubbiest baby I've ever seen:
Their other kids all have Irish names (Maura, Gavin, Liam, Maeve, Rory and Finn) and so when we heard this baby was Joanna, it threw us for a little loop, but I researched the name like the good geek namer I am, and found out it's English (so close enough!) and means "God is gracious". How beautiful is that?
Why am I so obsessed with other people's kids names? Because I put waaahaay to much pressure on myself when naming our babies. I do not want my child in therapy later because I named him Taylor and then he went to school and all the other Taylors were girls. I mean, sure, my children will probably be in therapy, blaming their mother for something else, I just don't want it to be because of the first decision I ever made for them.
It wasn't this complicated when we had our first baby. After getting the chance to see Pope John Paul three times, I told Phil (who was only my boyfriend at the time) that I was naming my first-born son John-Paul and once he married and impregnated me, he was totally cool with that.
But it was all down hill after that. Andrew came next, and his name was supposed to be Andrew Philip or Emily Margaret. Andrew is my favorite boy name, and my paternal Grandfather. Emily is Phil's favorite girl name. Their middle names were passed down from our names. Perfect, right? Except that while I was pregnant my Uncle Pauric died and he was such a good and holy man, that we decided Andrew would become Andrew Pauric, not Andrew Philip. He was born and aptly named, and then we found out that Uncle Pauric's real name was Padraig, but he always wrote it as Pauric. So we named Andrew after a misspelled nickname. Oy.
The third baby, upon finding out the gender for the first time before birth, sent us in a loop to come up with yet.another.boy.name. I had a cousin named Eamon growing up, and I adored the name but Phil was never sold on the idea. We settled on Brendan (another cousin) instead, but then I had a dream where Brendan was born and then died, and I woke up in the middle of the night yelling "We can't name our baby Brendan!!" I realized I could repackage Eamon as Eamon Philip to make it more attractive to Phil, and he eventually caved. Smart man. Only problem with Eamon's name is that not everybody is Irish (shocking!) and he gets called Eeeeeemon or Eeeuhhmon on the regular. It's pronounced Aymon, like Damon. I think that might be the last time we use a mostly unrecognized Irish name again.
Fourth pregnancy and the first girl later, and we had TOO many options!!! There was Emily again, but Andrew should have been Emily and so it felt wrong to reuse it. I loved the Irish name Niamh (pronounced Neve) but after the Eamon mispronunciations, didn't think I could force that on an other offspring. We were really leaning towards Evelyn, with Evie as a nickname. And then Phil's best friend's sister had her 4th baby and first girl and named her Evelyn. Well, we couldn't be copycats. I really wanted to pass down the name Margaret since it is my middle name, my mom's name, and her mom's name. And even though I detest the name, I love the nickname, Maggie. So, Maggie she would be. Rose would be her middle name after the white rose that young Colleen had prayed her future husband would give her so she would know who to marry (which Phil totally followed through on!). As soon as she was born, I panicked and said to Phil that we needed to have Mary in her name in case she was our only daughter (a foreshadowing, methinks) and so she became Margaret Rosemary.
Are you all still reading? This is getting long....
Oh boy. Literally. 5th baby was going to be another boy who gosh-darn-it needed a name. You know the problem with being married to a teacher? They know too many kids with names (as opposed to kids without names??). Anything I would suggest, Phil would have an immediate dislike:
How about Alexander, that's an awesome name, and we could call him Alex?
Nope, I had a kid named Alex Martin in my class.
What about Christian?
I can't have a son named Amen and Christian and be a religion teacher.
No, he's a bad student.
I had been doing some reading on Father Solanus Casey and thought the name Casey would be so cute. Phil actually agreed! So I would rub my belly and call him Casey and all was right with the world. Until it wasn't. In the same week, both Phil and I encountered a Casey that was (wait for it...) a GIRL! I refuse to give my boys a girl name. I will, however, give my girls a boy name. I don't know either. It just seems cruel to have a boy with a possible girl name but cool to have a girl with a possible boy name.
So with about a month left until the due date, we finally came up with two names for our baby boy. If he had dark hair, he would be Alexander Blaise (nicknamed Xander so as not to be confused with Phil's former student). If he was a towhead, he would be Joseph Benedict. He was born, had dark hair, and was appropriately named Xander B.
And here we are in this name game dilemma again. How does this keep happening? Ohhhhh, riiiiight.
Between Phil's knowledge of too many bad or annoying students, my hormones making me like far-fetched names, and our general opposing views on names anyway (he likes more traditional, Saint names...I like more Irish, non-traditional, non-Saint names - because how are we going to ever create new saint names unless we name our kids non-saint names?) this naming a baby thing is way more work than fun.
I'm trying (and failing miserably) not to think about it too much until we find out the sex of the baby so we can at least eliminate half the names in our arsenals. But just don't be surprised if this baby ends up being Colleen or Philip because we just plain old give up by the end. Maybe we'll go really crazy and let the kids name him/her. That should be interesting :)