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28 July, 2011

What's in a Name?

What's in a name? what which we call a rose*
by any other name would smell as sweet
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Back in fourth grade I had a friend named Tiffany.  Tiffany and all her siblings had unusual names that all began with the letter "T".  One day I innocently asked their mother how she decided on their names.  She told me that back in grade-school she kept a list of names she liked on a piece of notebook paper.  Never scratching them out, but adding to it over her school-years until she had her babies.

Now, I thought this was the best idea ev-er.  So I did the same thing.  I can still picture the paper list I kept.  I can see the phases of my natural printing and cursive, and the forced years of dotting my "i's" with an open circle. Ha, remember that? 

Anyway, I have no idea what happened to my list.  I also have no idea what names were on it other than "Javier", which came from my obsession with Javy Lopez in 8th grade. I was convinced that even if I didn't marry HIM, I would in fact marry another Latin American man and could therefore name my kids things like Javier and Julia (with a spanish accent, of course).

Since I have neither married Javy Lopez, nor another well tanned Latin man, I am "stuck" with a German last name that is spelled funny but pronounced exactly like the word "burglar".  Names like Katherine aka "Kat" and Hamilton aka "Ham" are out.  Wait for it..... get it?  Cat-Burglar?  Hamburglar?  Right. Moving on.

Many people have asked Eric and I what we're going to name Ninjalina.  They wonder given our German, Irish (and my added) Italian backgrounds, if we'd choose something ethnic.  While names like Erin and Colleen are great, names like Albertina and Erna aren't.  (Ugh, seriously, why couldn't Eric be Puerto Rican?)

Others have asked if we'd choose something related to our hobby of brewing and beer tasting.  Names like "Shandy" "Bridget" "Paulie" or "Avery".  I cannot deny that the thought didn't cross our minds at least once.  Maybe twice.  Okay! Maybe three times.

And then there are people like my sarcastic brother who just assume the baby will be named after "Saint I-have-a-weird-name" from the fourth century.  Yep, St. Wiltrudis it is. Oh look, she's even German. Two birds. One stone. Done.

In all seriousness, we have no idea what we are going to name our little baby girl....  

I want her name to have beauty and poise.  Something that fits her, rolls of the tongue, and isn't awkward to pronounce, or funny sounding with the last name Buergler.

I want her name to not be too trendy or too dated.  I'm sorry, but Jessica and Kristin scream 80s baby.  And Skylar?  late 90s.  I am glad for the recent theme of bringing back classic names like Isabella and Gabrielle, but now they're trendy too.  What's a girl to do?

I want her name to have meaning.  In second grade we did our first "research a saint" project and the teacher made us choose our "patron saint". She built up the idea that our parents chose our name based on a particular saint.  Given that my name is Elizabeth Marie I was super excited to find out if I was named after the romantic Elizabeth of Hungary or the heroic Elizabeth Ann Seton.  I was crushed to find out that my name was given to me several hours days after being born, and it was a name my dad liked because he had a crush on a teacher named Elizabeth or something equally as lame. Oh, and they wanted to call me Beth. Blerg. My little second grade heart was broken.  

PS: Mom, however you all really decided on my name, it doesn't matter. And I love it!  I could do a different saint project every year for all my Catholic school years and never double up!

Ever since then I've wanted to purposefully name my children with a name that we like, but has religious significance and/or is a family name as well.  
If we were having a boy this conversation would be over.  The name John:  Classic. Biblical. Saint. My paternal grandfather's middle name.  Eric's Uncle/Godfather's name.  Boom. Done. 

But baby girl seems harder to name.....

*every time I hear this line of Shakespeare I think of that check-out scene from You've Got Mail.  PS: Recognize Callie from Grey's Anatomy?!!


  1. Yes! This is so hard. We named our daughter Elsa Catherine, and our last name is German and said like hide.

    I had the same stipulations for her name.

    I have a good friend that named her daughter Ella. She waited 10 days because she was torn... so popular! Then I told her about how her name... Hilary... and her husband's name... Chris... and her older kids Taylor (girl) and Emmett(born the year of all things Twilight!) had popular names, too... and there's nothing wrong with being stylish... and She's Ella!! (and she was born one week after Elsa! So that's kind of neat if they are friends in future.)

    Do you read swistle? That's so helpful! She takes questions, too.

  2. dude I'm pulling for Javier Buergler- even if it is a girl.

  3. I've kept a list of names for the longest time, which is funny because I'm so NOT "that" girl really, to dream of future children, etc. BUT here are a few girl names that I really love, don't mind if you steal one! Adele (although I call dibs on this one, since I lived in Adele Hall at UD! ;) haha), Genevieve (gigi), Leah, Ellie (as a nickname for Eleanor), Charlie (Charlotte), Lily Jane (family name), Elena, Corinne. But I agree, girl names are so much more difficult than boy names.


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