Friday, August 3, 2007


Melanie over at just wrote about having a new nephew and noted that the parents are having a little trouble deciding on a name. It got me thinking about names and parents' responsibility when naming their child. First you think of names that you like and probably narrow it down to a few. Then you let others know what you are considering and you start getting "opinions", some people smile politely and say "they are all wonderful names", others might say something like "interesting choices" (which really means...WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????). And then there are parents and inlaws and aunts and uncles and....the family all has to weigh in on what the child should be called. Wouldn't want to people in the same family with the same name if the other person is still alive...Grandmas seem to be the most opinionated about the choice. But after gathering all this information, you feel more confused about a name than ever. And if all this advice isn't enough you start thinking about all the nicknames your child could be called, and what memories the names bring to you (maybe you knew a "Lisa" and she was a real snob...). One of the final considerations is whether the name will still sound good when the baby grows up...not only as a school kid, but also as an adult looking for a job. After all this you finally pick the "perfect" name. What an awesome responsibility and privilege to name a child.
By the way....I went through this process twice and here are the names of my boys:

Peter Anton Neill (aka Pete, Petey, super Pete)
William Xavier Neill (aka Liam, and to grandmas and grandpas...William)

Actually, naming Peter was relatively easy. Ben and I liked the name Peter, and it is not too common. Anton was my grandfather's name and he died when my mom was young so it is a nice way to keep his memory alive.
Liam was a bit harder. Both Ben and I decided early on that we liked the middle name Xavier, and so we started to try match a first name that would sound good. Both Ben and I have dead relatives with the first name "William" so we could have a family link there. (Also, my dad's middle name is William and Ben had an uncle Bill). Once we started thinking about William it became at better idea all along. One major factor is that we both like the name Liam and looking at William we realized that LIAM are the last four letters of William...good so far...also Liam is the Irish form of William...good again...If later in life Liam decides he would like to call himself Will or even William he could still do that...good again...then the advice. Both grandparents seemed okay with William, but didn't seem to care much for Liam. To this day my parents rarely refer to Liam as "Liam" but rather as "William", my sister does the same. It might bother me more that they do this if we lived closer, but I understand especially with my parents that they are just a little old fashioned and Liam is a bit of a new sounding name. (On our last visit to Nebraska, my mom addressed Liam as William and he looked at her and said "My name is Liam, not William".) So, perhaps the more he grows up, the more they will get used to the name.
No matter what they are called my boys are loved and always will be.


Omaha Mama said...

The name game can be fun, but also stressful! If we had another baby (which I don't think we are), it would be like starting all over. Mason was our boy name when we were pregnant with Brenna, so we've only ever though of names once!

I think that both of your boys have great names!

Good post topic!

SDben5 said...

My relatives named William are not dead.

California mom said...

Sorry about that...I did wrongly state that Ben's relatives with the name William are dead.