G’s Naming Story

by Lara on September 3, 2013


I’m one of those women that has been dreaming of baby names since I was a little girl playing MASH at slumber parties.  I always found girl names to be much easier (undoubtedly some sort of built-in gender bias), and my list of names for boys was always limited to whatever boy I had a crush on at the time.

Many years later, I met my husband and fell in love, both with him, and his middle name.  When I became pregnant and we learned our baby was a boy, this was of course, the first name we thought of.  It seemed like the natural option.  (Spoiler: it’s the name we ultimately chose.)Graham But that’s the thing about me.  I like options.  And I like making things more complicated than they should be.  And I very much liked the idea of meeting our baby before we named him.  Something about naming this child, who would be so unique and special in every way, a name that I had carried in my pocket for a decade, seemed…not very special or unique.

So we went through my entire pregnancy considering every boy name under the sun, refusing to refer to the baby by the name that we were both 90% sure we wanted to use.

And so The Name Wars began, mostly under a false pretense. We agreed to start with a blank slate.  There were rules, of course.  Any name you came up with had to have at least two cool people associated with it.  If the other spouse could come up with two douchebags who also shared the name, it was out.

The Name Wars were really just one long, continuous discussion that would spontaneously begin and end as we lived our lives for nine long months.

It would usually go something like this:  I like the name Bruce, so I cite Willis and Wayne.  Matthew reminds me that Bruce Wayne is a fictional character and therefore does not count. “But the same logic didn’t apply when you liked James after James Bond,” I argue.

Matthew sighs.  “James Bond is not just a fictional character,” he says.  “He’s a cultural icon.”  He is about to go on, and I know I need to change the subject fast.

I say I like Pablo. “No one is named Pablo,” says Matthew, as though I just suggested naming our son Speakerphone.

“Picasso?  Neruda?”  I retort.  Did I really marry this person? 

“It sounds terrible with our last name,” he adds.  At this, I concede.

“Charles?”  he counters.

“Veto,” I say.  “Prince and Manson.”

For a while I try to sell him on Carter, when he reminds me that my dad will never forgive us if we name his first grandchild after a Democrat.

“Michael,” I suggest, citing Douglas and J. Fox.

“Since when did Michael Douglas become cool?” Matthew asks.

“Since he married Catherine Zeta-Jones,” I quip.  BOOM.

Then I remember one of the names from my original list: Rhett. “Name one famous person named Rhett,” says Matthew.

“RHETT BUTLER?” I ask loudly.


Oh. My. God.  I married someone who’s never seen Gone With the Wind?

“Even if this Rhett Butler character is cool, he’s only one person.” I visibly cringe as he says this.  Even if if Rhett Butler is cool?

“Rhett Butler is cool enough to count as ten people.  Rhett Butler is the ultimate cool guy.” I resolve to make him watch the movie that night, but I cannot sell him on the name.

I start naming more “B” names, and the issue of alliteration arises.  It’s sounds feminine, fears Matthew.  “Matthew McConaughey?  Walt Whitman?” I pose.

“Marilyn Manson?  Fred Flinstone?”

This isn’t going anywhere.

In the end, Bradley is the only other name we can agree on.  Pitt and Cooper immediately come to mind.  We’re country music fans, so Paisley is also referenced.  We cannot think of a single douchebag named Bradley.

Then, our son was born. Naming Our Son

…and he looked just like my husband.

We didn’t decide right away.  We held him close.  We called our parents.  I ate a hamburger and fries.

After a few hours, a nurse asked us if he had a name.  And I looked at my husband, and I looked at my baby, and I knew.  I knew the name that I had carried in my pocket for ten years was not just a name.  It was my son’s name.  It was meant for him, the little boy I held in my arms.

Naming Our Son

His middle name is after my brother.

Don’t ask me what we would ever name a second kid.  We’re all out of names.

On the blog, I’ve been calling him G, not because his name is a secret, but because I don’t want the poor kid to have a searchable online history before he is out of diapers.  In real life, I often call him Gray, so I think I’ll make that his new blog nickname as well.

Though my life didn’t turn out exactly the way MASH predicted, I did end up naming my son after the guy I have a crush on.  Some things are just meant to be.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa September 3, 2013 at 7:28 am

I feel like this post gave me an even clearer picture of your personality and sense of humor…both awesome, by the way.

I am the same way in making things much harder than they need to be… and when I thinking about choosing a name for my one day child to have for their entire LIFE (and inevitably dislike at some point…)?! Forget it.

Best line “If the other spouse could come up with two douchebags who also shared the name, it was out.”



Lara September 3, 2013 at 8:59 am

Thanks Lisa 😉 Luckily I still like the name we chose!


Sarah September 3, 2013 at 7:52 am

I really enjoyed reading this! Naming our son was fun too. I had a first name in mind for years but picking the middle name to go with it was a lot like you described above 🙂 I also have no idea what we’ll do if another one comes along!


Lara September 3, 2013 at 9:02 am

Haha. Yep, the middle name is a whole other story for us, too. This naming kids for life thing is serious business!


elise September 3, 2013 at 11:17 am

we are so similar its eery. i agree, boy names are impossible so heaven forbid we have another boy we are screwed.
before i met kyle i loved the name kyle for my future son (along w a few other names that kyle immediately veto-ed). but i didnt want to name him the same name because that isnt my thing. patrick is kyles middle name…we both agreed on it, but then proceeded to continue to brainstorm throughout my pregnancy…just in case (why make things simple right?).
i can picture your conversations so well because they are likely just like ours. kyle felt every single name reflected a stuck up country club d-bag.


Lara September 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I didn’t know P had Kyle’s middle name! Crazy!


Lara September 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Is his middle name named after someone in the family as well? I can’t remember what it is right now…


Elise September 4, 2013 at 9:24 am

Actually it’s one of the names I’ve lived as a kid! (Aaron)


Elise September 4, 2013 at 9:26 am

Loved. Not lived.


Floey September 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

You are such a story teller! 😀


Andrea@WellnessNotes September 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Great story, told beautifully.


Lara September 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Thanks friend 🙂


Stacy K September 4, 2013 at 9:36 am

You know I’m partial to G’s name 🙂 Boy names are hard, and I swore we were having a girl so I walked around calling him by our girl name… It took us months and we actually came up with our G’s name because we like to watch Master Chef and we loved Chef G. Elliot 🙂 We had strange rules too. My blonde moment…. I love the name Harrison and we knew his middle name would be Richard after our grandfathers who have passed. I told my group of students I work with the name and they immediately started calling him Harry Dick so that name went out the window quite quickly. I can’t believe I didn’t think about that lol.


Lara September 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm

G’s middle name was almost Richard, too. Not sure if I ever told you that! Cute stories! 😉


Katie September 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Great post!

We knew we wanted an Abby and Gracie before we were ever pregnant, but I wanted names that could be shortened too. I liked Abrielle ever since I overheard someone named Abby mention that was their given name (about 10 years ago!) and her middle name Sophia was picked at random because we liked it.

I fused the name Gracelyn because my hubby’s Mom has Lyn in her name, and the middle name Ella was chosen in the middle of the night after meeting a sweet little 3 day old patient by the same name.


Lara September 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Very sweet. I think the (maybe) next kid might get a “just because we liked it” name 🙂


Heather September 4, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I love names and naming stories! His name fits him perfectly!


Lara September 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Thanks Heather 🙂 I love R’s name, too!


Ashley September 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm

My parents were set on a name for my brother for months. The minute he was born they looked at each other and looked at him and just knew they had to name him after my Dad because they were just identical. Very similar story! Sometimes you just don’t know until you know.


Lara September 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm

So true! My husband had a coworker who named their baby before he was born. They had a bunch of his stuff monogrammed and everything. Then he came out and they said they just had to change it because the name didn’t fit him! Lesson learned!


Courtney @ Don't Blink. Just Run. September 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm

That’s a fantastic naming story and I love his name!


Lara September 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Thank you!


Aline September 6, 2013 at 7:09 am

We were pretty sure we were going to have a boy and his name was going to be Milo. Then we found out we had a girl, we were a bit confused. We loved the name Lily but every second girl her age in Chicago seems to be named Lily. One of my best friends would lovingly tell me about her new little sister – Linnea. Linnea is one of the most popular girls names in Sweden and Norway and that’s how the original Linnea was named – she was made on a camping trip in Norway. But I liked the name so much. It was unusual but not crazy, it was pretty but wouldn’t make her sound perpetually like a little girl and it sounds the same in German and English. We could call her Linni for short, which sounds very similar to our beloved Lily and if she would be annoyed by people not knowing how to say her name, she could just call herself Linn (which I call her a lot now). The final two things that won my husband over were that Linnea is based on the scientist Linneus and the flower, named after him. There is also a tourist boat, going through Chicago, past his office building all the time. So our daughter would have a boat in her name. Her middle name is Marie, which was my mother-in-laws middle name who unfortunately passed away a month before Linnea was born.


Lara September 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Cute story. I think Linnea is beautiful.


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