Names, names, names

One of the hardest questions while pregnant is: Do you have a named picked out, yet?

An even harder question is the more direct: What names do you like?

The former is easy to respond with a scripted. “Oh, we’re still deciding.” Or, “We have it narrowed down to a few.” But, what names do you like? Seriously, that’s a hard one ignore. I get it. When my friends have been pregnant, one of the things I’m most curious about is baby names. I’ve always wanted to know what names my friends were considering. I also knew that it could be a sensitive subject, so I’ve tried to dance around the question without being too direct. I’ll say something like, “Are you and [enter spouse/partner’s name here] having a hard time deciding on names?” Then, I could get a feel for whether or not they wanted to talk about it. It opens the door for them to toss out some of the names they like, but a simple “yes” or “no” shows that they aren’t really comfortable sharing details.

If told names, I would never say what I thought about a particular name or which name I liked better unless such information was directly solicited. But now that I’m on the other end of the conversation, it’s just as awkward. Tim and I like the names we like and we don’t really need anyone’s opinion or suggestions. I don’t want someone’s love or dislike of a name to persuade our decision either way.

After the event at the liquor store a few weeks ago, I shared the story with my girlfriends at knitting. They got a kick out of it and jokingly started referring to my unborn as “Mallory.” Apparently, at least two friends who weren’t there the night I told the story and hadn’t read my blog entry, assumed that Mallory was the name we’d chosen. It’s not a ridiculous name like “peanut” or “nubbin,” so I can’t say I blame them.

A few days later a friend approached me and said, “So I heard you decided on a name.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. While we do have our favorites, we definitely hadn’t made any announcements. “Mallory,” she said.

I laughed. “No, that’s just a joke name. Did they tell you the story?”

They hadn’t.

Then, a couple of weeks later I talked to another friend who said she also thought Mallory was the actual name. She said she and her husband had talked for a long time about how Mallory was such a great choice. Perfect even.

Ugh. It kills me. My friends love our funny, joke name. I have visions of people whispering among themselves once they hear what name we’ve chosen. “What were they thinking,” they’ll say.  “I liked Mallory better.” I can even imagine that after having heard the Mallory story, our daughter herself will complain, “But Mom, why did you name me [insert actual name] – I hate that name. Mallory is way cooler.”

Well, sorry to disappoint you folks, but we are NOT naming our daughter Mallory.  Feel free to use it yourselves.

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  1. Helen’s avatar

    We told names we were considering, lest we have named her Tamara Faith, and only discovered the issue that was obvious to everyone else when my sisters started referring to her as tammy faye. Or even just to hear what people’s associations are on names — when Claire was topping our list, we got asked several times if we were big Heroes fans. (No, in case you were wondering.)

    Naming is a fickle business, though, and I can see how extra input can just make things worse. Elise dropped off my list when I realized my musical association was Letters to Elise, and I didn’t want to saddle my baby with such a downer as her signature song. (Or Fur Elise, which I also don’t really care for.) So, getting lots of feedback on what other people associate with your names… could be messy.

    As to the love of Mallory, maybe it’s just that my first association with Mallory is the same as yours (Family Ties), but it seemed like a joke name right away to me. It’s cute and funny, but I’m sure whatever you and Tim choose will be the baby’s own. But I can spearhead a switch to Keaton as the baby’s placeholder name if that would reduce confusion! :)

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  2. nextlifechapter’s avatar

    To tell you the truth, there’s a name that Tim and I have been tossing around for a few years, and it was in our top two even before we got pregnant. I don’t really think there’s much anyone could say to make us no longer like the name, but at the same time, I feel uncomfortable announcing the name as “done” and referring to her by name at this point. What if we decide to change our mind a the last minute? What if our little girl is a boy? (You know I’m still paranoid about that.)

    Therefore, we’re just keeping it semi-secret at this point and trying to figure out a middle name to go along with it.

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  3. Paige’s avatar

    So true! When I was pregnant I came up with two decoy names, because people would not let up on asking what the name was going to be. Usually I’d start with ” oh we have some ideas but we prefer not to name him until we meet him, to make sure it still fits”. …”So what are your ideas?” they would ask. I usually told the real one (Wyler) and then the two fakes (Hudson and Ryder), in no particular order. It was true that we wanted to wait to meet him but in my mind it was always gonna be Wyler. It is amazing how when you give people 3 choices they feel like they are helping you decide. I got a lot of feedback about those 3 names…but like you…I could care less what names everyone liked. Ha! Can’t wait to hear your daughter’s name after she is born!

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  4. Sam’s avatar

    A few years ago, my husband and I were planning to adopt a baby girl (really long story considering we don’t have any children). We were trying to agree on a name and one that I liked was Mallory. That is until I looked up the meaning- See Below
    Kind of ironic that the liquor store lady has “cursed” your naming process!

    From babynames.com
    The meaning of the name Mallory is Ill-Omened
    The origin of the name Mallory is French
    Alternate spellings: Mallorie, Malory, Malorie
    Notes: Originally a male name, now used primarily for females. Grew in popularity in the 80’s due to character Mallory Keaton on the TV show “Family Ties

    -I love reading your blog! Looking forward to hearing what you officially decide to name BGP (Baby Girl Pannell)

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  5. kendra’s avatar

    Ill-omened! Well that’s enough to ensure that it stays the joke name! Although I do have fond memories of Family Ties…

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