Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Naming Babies

Over the years, there have been some pretty amusing ways people pick their names. Family names, honoring dead relatives names, names that thank the nurse or midwife that helped during the birth, psychic talking to the babies, dreaming names, trying on names when the baby is born, using the names one knew they would use when they were 9 years old.

There is always the ever-popular waiting until the last minute to figure out the baby's name... 2 weeks? 6 months? I have seen it.

One woman I assisted last year let her 2 year old decide the baby's name.

When we went to the home visit, there had to have been 60 pieces of paper with names all over the walls and windows. When a "name" popped into mom and dad's head, they would write it on the paper and pin it up. When the baby was born, the 2 year old pointed out the paper that had the name the baby was eventually named. I just shook my head and laughed. Cute name, though.

I have been to the coolest Baby Naming Ceremonies, too. Babies that knew their names before any friends or family... dad whispering it into the baby's ear right before everyone else being told. Baby namings that used to be called a Bris (the circumcision of the Jewish male) are becoming more popular as the "ritual" of circumcision falls further and further out of favor with even observant Jews.

I watched at Casa, over and over, as the Mexican women would name their babies after midwives that worked there. When I was going by "gardenia," I didn't understand why no one named their baby after me. Then, one nice older Mexican woman told me that gardenias were the official funeral flowers in Mexico (like Lilies of the Valley are here in the US). I stopped calling myself "gardenia" on the spot. I was even going to change it legally!

Still, no one ever named their baby "Barbara." "Barbara" means barbarian... savage. Fabulous in Spanish, ugly in English (to me). Revivals of Mabel and Gertrude have occured, but Barbara remains in the Nursing Home crowd. I remind myself, even as I removed the Feral Mermaid from my email address (the nickname I have had since my 1995 introduction to the Internet), I shall always remain Feral (Barbara). I have had women fawn over my help for them in labor... the mother who was just in for the birth, telling the daughter... name her after the midwife! and the daughter looking over and saying, "Her name is 'Barbara'" and the mother saying, "How about Lucinda?" laughing

I have watched little Mexican babies (whose parents spoke zero English!) be named Jeff, Courtney, Madeline, Tiffany, and Frank.

I have seen some odd names. Chlamydia being the grossest (Hispanic woman). Candida (there is a song with that name, too, so someone thought a yeast infection was yummy) was another odd one.

Cycles of Megan's (every spelling imaginable), Christopher's, Jennifer's, Michael's, and now even Tristan's (my son was the only one 21 years ago!) galore.

Lily's abound! And Talon's. And Isabella's.

Thank goodness the Tiffany craze is over. Can't you just hear the nurses in the Nursing Homes in 50 years? "Tiffany, ready for me to change your Depends?" "Brooke, time for your dinner, hon."

And then, everything old is new again. Sofie, Sofia, Edward, and other old names.

Thankfully, all my kids love their names. I did good! Tristan Ian, Meghann Alyssia, and Aimee Isabel. Yeah!

No comments: