Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's in a name?

A person's first name can have such an impact on their life. It shapes people's expectations of a person and can affect how they are treated, opportunities they are given, social standings, etc. It may not be fair, but we hold a lot of pre-conceived notions around names. Does the name go with someone artistic? someone educated? someone from an upper class family?  Does the spelling cause people to give it the side eye for the parent's attempt at being unique?

When it came to naming our children, I was a bundle of insecurities. I could find a list of faults with every name. It didn't help matters any that Jim and I have vastly different tastes in names.

Ella was reaching 24 hours old without having a name. We just referred to her as Little Miss the first day. It was quickly approaching midnight, her 23rd hour of life, and I told Jim that we could not go to sleep until we agreed on a name.

Jim's initial name choice was Erika. I vetoed that one pretty quickly. I thought it sounded too early 90's and I didn't want two children with their names starting with the same letter. (I guess I broke that rule anyway. Now, does that mean any additional children would also have to be named with the letter "E"?)

My first name choice was Brianna. Jim didn't care for this name and Ethan told me it sounded too much like banana.

We discussed names frequently, but could never agree on a favorite. I liked: Brianna, Megan, Emily, Alexis and Annabelle. Jim liked: Erika and Jessica/Jessi. Every name that either of us came up with, the other had a reason for taking it off the list.

I wasn't too concerned about the lack of name decision since we also didn't have a name for Ethan when I went into labor with him. The TV was on in the delivery room and a commercial came on for the Mission Impossible movies. Tom Cruise's character is named Ethan in those movies and that is how we chose Ethan's name during delivery. I figured we'd just name our baby girl after whatever was on TV the day of her birth. :)

When she was born, I thought she looked like a Laura. Even though I had never considered that name during pregnancy, I thought it suited her and started campaigning for Laura Colleen. (Colleen is my Mother and Sister's middle name.) Jim's favorite name had become Ella Christine and he preferred it over my new favorite, Laura.

We went back and forth between Laura and Ella. We eventually decided that we liked the middle name Christine the most and would use it with either first name. (Plus, it made our doctor, named Christine, very happy.)

I obviously eventually agreed to the name Ella. I liked that it had some family history to the name and wasn't just a random name. Jim has a Great Grandma Ella on his mother's side. He also has a Grandma Eleanor and I have a Great Grandma Estella. When I looked at all the women, on both sides of the family, with ties to the name, it just made sense to chose Ella.

Ella with her Great Grandma Eleanor

She's my little Ella-phant and I can't imagine her going by any other name now. Ethan & Ella - it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

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